(With a few minor changes, I am re-posting this story for new readers to enjoy.)
Fortune cookies are one of my secret weaknesses. I know it’s very non-Chinese of me because honestly, fortune cookies were never a genuine Chinese tradition–only in Chinese restaurants as a gracious way to present the bill. I hate it when these restaurants offer the obligatory fortune cookie to each person at the table. This means you only get one grab at a fortune. But when you get a bunch of tasty fortune cookies in your own bag, then your chances of getting a decent fortune increases tenfold.
You know, when you have one of those moments when you crave something less potent than dark Belgian chocolate and a lot more than healthy snacks? This is one of those snack attacks when chips and Cheetos just won’t do, but you definitely don’t want a rice cracker either. Well, when all else fails to entice, then it’s a bag of fortune cookies for me.
I had the fortune cookie craving the other day. I felt I needed some fuel for walking the hilly 4-mile route around my neighbourhood. Reading the fortunes always spurred me on as I snacked while tackling the hills. Besides, I could burn off 2000 calories, maybe even 3000, by the time I completed my route.
The first hill is a killer because my knees practically hits my chin as I make my way up the top, munching three fortune cookies during the climb. Before descending the other side, I read my fortunes. Number 1 said: Beware any obstacles. As far as I could see, I had two more hills before the route leveled out and got me home. Fortune number 2 said: Smile and the World smiles with you. Just knowing I had two more obstacles made me groan. Who could possibly smile? Fortune number 3 said: Your efforts will pay off. Now, that one was a keeper. I wanted to look great in my new dress and by gosh, by golly, I will! Tucked this fortune in my pocket and chucked the others in the trash bin.
Downhill was a breeze—a fast pace downwards, a block of level ground and then the start of hill number 2. This one is a sneakier hill because it’s a gradual upgrade, then steep near the top and a slow drop down the other side. Because the route is longer here, I ate five more fortune cookies. Finally reaching the peak, I sorted through my fortunes and noted two were the same: Stop and smell the roses. Not yet, not until I complete the last hill. The next fortune predicted: Today, indulge your craving. Tomorrow arrives soon enough. Whoa, was that some kind of dire warning? My last fortune said: The sky’s the limit ; reach high! I liked that and tucked it in my pocket. But wait—five cookies should have five fortunes. One of my cookies arrived empty, or did it? I didn’t think I had dropped a fortune and I sure as heck wasn’t going back to look.
Trudging down the gradual decline, I waited until I got to the final hill before I ate my way through the last four cookies. This was actually a medium hill with a medium incline and then a running decline. Finally, a block from home, I checked my slips of paper. Laughter is the music of one’s soul. Hmm-mm, that sounded nice. The next slip of paper said: Fortune has a fickle heart and a short memory. Guess that meant my lottery ticket didn’t win—again. The final two fortunes were identical and whoever wrote these had a terrific sense of humour: Fortune smiles at those who help themselves; but sometimes Fortune needs a good kick in the pants to recognize you. Never mind that I had devoured a bag of fortune cookies. Of course Fortune was seeing the future thinner Me. That 4-mile walk had to have burnt off 3000 calories. Whoever said, “Never trust a fortune cookie” just didn’t know what they were eating–I mean, reading!