Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Tale of Two Fortunes

I come to you today with a saddening report on the decline of a once robust industry. American automobile manufacturing? The steel industry? Textiles? No, all this is old news. The failure I have discovered this week is in an industry that is not American, as far as I know. This crisis is in what I assume must be an industry of the great and powerful Chinese - the fortune cookie fortune business.

The problem came to light for me after lunch (Combination Plate, $6.99) at Wah Sing Restaurant in Napa. Ritual demands that I drink a least half of the green tea, save the won ton for last, and open the fortune cookie but not eat it. So I pull the little white slip of paper out and read:

"You could prosper in the field of medicine."

WTF? What kind of fortune is that?? "Could?" Does this mean if I went to medical school I might become a doctor?? Again I ask, WTF? Whatever happened to "You will soon come into money" or "He who laughs last laughs best" or something with either some certitude or some wisdom.

A friend told me that you can conjure more out of any fortune by adding the words "in the bedroom" to whatever you're given. This lame fortune cannot be improved even by that time-honored treatment. It only becomes:

"You could prosper in the field of medicine - in the bedroom."

Double secret WTF on that!

Perhaps to test just how useless the fortune cookie fortune makers have become, I lunched at a different place a couple of days later. At Peking Palace (Chicken with black bean sauce, $6.99) I am pleased to report that I received a much higher quality fortune reading:

"Your present plans are going to succeed."

Now that's more like it! No qualifying verbaige, just a nice, straightforward "are going to." And omens of success! I like success. (Now if I just knew what my present plans are, I would have something to look forward to...)

Oh, and let's not forget to test this fortune by making the add-on:

"Your present plans are going to succeed - in the bedroom."

Well, ok then.

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