We had Chinese food last week. Which means we got fortune cookies.
Three fortune cookies. For the two of us. Now, on some level I take that as a judgment passed by the restaurant on the quantity of food we order — “Jesus, there’s no way only two people could eat this much! Must be three of them.” (They’re half right, by the way; two people couldn’t eat that much at one sitting. We also had enough for a leftover lunch.) — and on another level, I think it likely that the person who put the box of food together reached into the barrel of cookies and grabbed a random handful.
But it could also be fate. Maybe there are three paths my future could follow. Maybe there is one path, and these mark three momentous moments along the way.
I decided I was going to write about it, to bring you along as I discover what the Fates have in store for me, what my future holds. What is my fortune?
Plus, yesterday I found two pennies — one head’s up, one head’s down. I’m taking that as a sign that the future hangs in the balance, that it could go any way; now is the time to chart my path through these rocks and shoals, between this Scylla and Charybdis.
And these little cookies will be my map, my compass, my guide.
I don’t think it’s a good sign, by the way, that they have little cartoon pandas on them. I hate pandas.
But they are from New York, and so am I. So maybe that balances, too.
Now: which one first? Which shell holds the pea? Where’s the red queen?
Middle one? Sounds good. Here we go.
Hmm. All progress occurs because people dare to be different.
Okay, I like that. I like the idea that progress can be made, and that people can be different, and that it takes some daring to do that, both to stand out and to move forward. I hope that this applies to me. I know that I am indeed different, and probably different in a manner and on a scale that goes beyond the “Well, everyone’s different, aren’t they?” I think I am probably different in certain areas where most other people conform. I am an artist. I am childless but for my animals. I have been in a devoted relationship for more than half of my life. All of these are probably outside of the status quo, and they are some of my defining characteristics.
Do I create progress? Am I progressing? I think I’m a better writer than I was ten years ago; I know I’m a better teacher. Is it because I’m different?
The cookie says so.
All right, off to a good start. Let’s see what’s next. Left side, or right side? Hmmm — right is more common, right-handed being more frequent than left; so let’s be different and make progress. Left is right!
“Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of life it may occur.”
You know what I like about this? It’s in the future tense. I like that. It means I haven’t hit my prime yet. It’s still ahead of me. Yeah, that’s cool.
But wait: that means that everything I’ve done up until now has not been good enough, has not been connected to my prime. 41 years, and I haven’t stopped sucking yet? That seems less good.
Let’s go straight to #3. I noticed that panda was grinning at me. Maybe he’s just screwing with my head. Let’s try — crap, he’s smiling too. Are these all tongue in cheek? Has my prime already occurred, and I didn’t recognize it, and now the cookie is rubbing my nose in the long slow slide into mediocrity that is my future? Maybe the first cookie was saying I haven’t been the impetus behind any progress, because I’m not different enough. Dammit, why didn’t I get more tattoos and maybe some ear gauges?
All right, Right Cookie: hook me up.
Seriously? What are you trying to say, that — I’m in charge of this? Are you telling me that what comes is up to me? That however I interpret these cookies is the answer, that if I see them as negative, then they are? And if I see them as positive, they are? And that whatever I choose, I can also change, at any time, and doing so will change the path I am on?
IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE SAYING?!?
The Wisdom of the Ancients has been spoken.