Thursday, September 08, 2005

I Tried to Resist Sounding Like My Grandfather, But I Just Couldn't Do It

Last night, I ordered myself some Chinese food and... wait. I just realized something. What is it about Chinese food that inspires such monogamy? I mean, I always get shrimp and broccoli with a side of steamed dumplings, and I don't deviate from that, ever. Is this true of most people? You've got your standard and that's it? It reminds me of that episode of "Sex and the City" when Miranda thinks the girl at the Chinese place is laughing at her because her order is always the same and because, she fears, her life is so boring that the girl must be mocking it.

Even when the Mr. orders, he usually gets beef with broccoli. But I have to give him bonus points for at least trying to date other dishes.
"Lemme see the takeout menu," he says.
I hand it to him. That is, if I haven't thrown it out in a cleaning fit.
"Hmmm. Hum. Phhhhh. Let's see here. What did I have last time?"
"Beef with broccoli."
"Ummmm. Chicken...no...maybe shrimp...er. How about a small beef with broccoli?"
"You don't say?"

Anyway, this isn't my point. So, I got my order of shrimp with broccoli and a side of steamed dumplings. And, for dessert, the fortune cookie.

Ah, the fortune cookie. Or as I've taken to calling it, the what-a-load-of-crap cookie, because that's usually what I say after reading the non-fortune and throwing it down in disgust. As much as you can throw the world's tiniest piece of paper down. What has been with these things for the last 10 years? They're dispensing something, and it's not fortunes. How are platitudes like, "Wise is the man who saves his pennies" or "People like it when you're nice" supposed to help me? What a ripoff! I want little nuggets about the future. Give me something to look forward to, give me a little spoiler about life, no alert necessary. I want "You will win the lottery within the next year and not have to pay taxes on it because of some obscure loophole that your accountant mother-in-law totally knows about" or "Invest all your money in Initech stock. Trust us."

Why, when I was a kid, fortune cookies were fun! We would read ours, then pass them all around the table to see what was going to happen to everyone. Then we would make up a song on the spot about our fortunes and break into a synchronized dance right there in the Chinese restaurant. It was a regular Broadway production. Kids these days, they don't know what they missed. They don't know what fortune cookies used to be able to do. They could inspire you to be great.

But last night it finally happened. I got an actual fortune!

Framed by the ubiquitous smilies were: "Good things are coming to you in due course of time."

It's no lottery, but it's good enough for me. What is it, what is it, what is it?