Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fortune Cookie Day

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By Diane Forrest

My husband and I loved the television show Monk.  It was about a neurotic detective, who was obsessive and compulsive. He loved cleaning.  One of the reasons I loved it is because it reminded me so much of my husband.  He was also a clean freak.  I remember one episode where one of the police officers went to a Chinese restaurant with his date, and when they read the fortune cookie, the message came true.  Well this happened two more times, and he became a real believer in the Chinese fortune cookies.   Later in the show, it was discovered that the "girlfriend" was actually a criminal trying to find the location of Monk so she could kill him.
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I love getting fortune cookies after a Chinese dinner.  I am aware of several traditions involved with them too.  For instance, never pick your cookie, allow who you are with to pick first.   Always read your fortune aloud, and Never eat the cookie.  I’m not sure if the last one is a tradition, or because the cookies are really hard, and difficult to chew.

Most of the messages are pretty generic, here are a few samples:
  • Courtesy is contagious.
  • Curiosity kills boredom. Nothing can kill curiosity.
  • Dedicate yourself with a calm mind to the task at hand.
  • Depart not from the path which fate has you assigned.
  • Determination is what you need now.
  • Disbelief destroys the magic.
  • Distance yourself from the vain.
  • Do not be intimidated by the eloquence of others.
  • Do not let ambitions overshadow small success.
  • Do not make extra work for yourself.
  • Do not underestimate yourself. Human beings have unlimited potentials.
  • Don’t be discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.
  • Your home is the center of great love.
  • Your ideals are well within your reach.
  • Your infinite capacity for patience will be rewarded sooner or later.
  • Your leadership qualities will be tested and proven.
  • Your life will be happy and peaceful.
  • Your life will get more and more exciting.
  • Your love life will be happy and harmonious.
  • Your love of music will be an important part of your life.
  • Your loyalty is a virtue, but not when it’s wedded with blind stubbornness.
  • Your mind is creative, original and alert.
  • Your mind is your greatest asset.

Another thing found on a fortune is a series of numbers, used to play the lottery.  I can imagine if the fortune is good, the numbers will also be good and will help to win another fortune.
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The third thing found on a fortune cookie is a translation of a Chinese word.  If you have alot of cookies, they would help you learn to speak Chinese as a second language.
Not only do Chinese fortune cookies provide standard fortunes, but you can also order some that have specific fortunes, or requests, such as ‘Will you Marry Me?’ or I'm Pregnant.

There is a common joke involving fortune cookies that involves appending "between the sheets" or "in bed" to the end of the fortune, usually creating a sexual innuendo or other bizarre messages (e.g., "Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall [in bed]".
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Today is Fortune Cookie Day.  The Fortune Cookie did not originate in China. Rather, it was invented in California. There appears to be some uncertainty over who invented it. Some historical references suggest it was Makoto Hagiwara who invented the fortune cookie at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco in 1914. Others believe that David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company, was the first to make fortune cookies in Los Angeles in the 1920s.   So today, head out to your favorite Chinese Restaurant and have some fortune cookies.  Who knows, you may even get a good fortune, or wind up with some winning lottery numbers (in bed)!

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