Long before we had ‘tweets’ we had these great little treats (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) called fortune cookies, and I’m so glad they’re still around for our enlightenment and enjoyment.
If your family’s like mine, you go around and read the little paper ‘fortunes’ to each other and even try to pronounce the word in Chinese on the back. What a great ending to a fun Chinese meal out or at home!
My parents still chuckle a little about a really long ago exchange where my grandmother read, “You would make a great attorney.” Not missing a beat, my husband, an attorney, ‘read’ his, saying “You would make a great grandmother.” Ah, fortune cookie humor.
The best fortune I ever got – and literally one of my favorite expressions of all time – is:
(If you notice, it’s got a little pinhole at the bottom because it’s been on my son Dan’s bulletin board, with a copy on my desk at work, for as long as I can remember.)
Those 11 words sum up – so neatly and perfectly – probably everything I believe in life. Being in the moment. Doing something just because, not toward an ‘end.’ Putting it all out there.
The fact that it’s about running brings me back, more literally, to when I ran track in high school, like Dan. It was just a pure release and joy. Playing music can be like that too.
The Inner Game of Tennis (which I also used to love to play), was published back in 1974 and had similar messages I think are absolutely genius in terms of sports and life in general: Focus on how you hit each ball. Make each shot your very best. Don’t ever think about winning the point, the game or the match. Feel the grace and precision of your every move, and actually see and hear yourself make contact with the ball.
It takes a lot of focus. But it feels amazing. And guess what, you’ll be a winner (whether you win the match or not).
Writing is that same kind of ‘zen’ experience for me. And I dedicate this little blog post to my great friend Caitlin. One day we were talking about how much we love writing and how we both always secretly dreamed of writing greeting cards (which always makes me think, geekily, of how Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 in the original Get Smart TV series in the mid-1960s used to tell his mom they were in the greeting card business so she wouldn’t worry about them. She never understood all the gunshots and violence!). Anyway, greeting cards or fortune cookies – I’m game, Caitlin!
FORTUNE COOKIE FUN FACT: I did a little research (translated: I looked at Wikipedia and another search engine for, like a minute – lol). What I found is that fortune cookies date back to the early 1910s in America. And while their true origin remains unclear, they’re likely to have come to us from Japanese, not Chinese, immigrants.
4 thoughts on “Fortune cookie wisdom”
I totally remember the Lawyer fortune cookie.
Thanks Ellen for another great blog . The tennis advice is great.
I love that you’re writing about fortune cookies, it also has me fondly recalling that Brian C. used to call you Cookie because of your last name.
Love it Hoychee! I actually – shamelessly – use my username ‘Cookee’ for all kinds of puns and team names!