Messages That Find UsThe Messages That Find Us
How many of you save the messages from fortune cookies . . . well, the good ones anyway? You know the ones you want to come true. The ones that say, "You will become rich beyond your wildest dreams." Does that mean if you haven't been dreaming about cruising down the street in a late model Beemer, you're out of luck and likely be stuck with you mother's version of "classic" forever? Or maybe it means rich in a different sense, like in love, or in friendship, or perhaps fame?
Or how about this one, "Your practical nature will reap you big rewards." This sounds like something your parents tell you when they want you to major in something safe that will get you a well-paying job when you graduate from college, instead of majoring in something "frivolous" like painting. Personal experience talking here.
Who writes these things, anyway? I have this mental images of a wise little old man half-crocked and chuckling to himself as he scribbles on tiny scraps of paper. Some long-lost cousin of Confucius, who has an excess of free time on his hands.
Okay, I had to know, so I looked it up on the internet and found out that fortune cookies originated on American soil, San Francisco more precisely, and are an outgrowth of the American tradition of dessert after dinner-the supposed perfect end to a Chinese meal. The messages are scribbled by retirees-hence my vision of the little old man-and by college students in need of tuition money-not my college student, someone else's.
Nevertheless the word "fortune" instills a sense of magic, which gives us hope. Let's face it, the world has too many days when hope is short supply. It makes us feel better to think just maybe the scribblings of the little old man, on break from a round of golf, could possibly come true. So we tuck the secret message away in a book or a drawer and forget about it until we are in need of results.
Messages are not just in fortune cookies. We get them with tea, like Good Earth brand. Usually these are quotes from wise folks we revere. I saved a piece of wisdom from the infamous Jack London off of a tea bag. Jack said, "You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club." Which I take to mean, writing is work and won't get done if you avoid it. All writers I think can relate to this one.
Another of my favorites, which I keep beside my computer says, "Never be afraid to sit awhile and think." This one, at first glance, seems to contradict London's warning against procrastination, but I prefer to interpret it to mean that once the initial work is done, it requires reflection. Reflection time is valuable and not wasted. This is a message that could be put to good use all over the world, not just in a writer's life.
My latest indulgence, Dove Chocolates Promises are loaded with all sorts of inspirational wisdom on the inside of their sweet smelling foil wrappers. Here's one of my favorites, "Smile. People will wonder what you've been up to." We could all do with a little more mystery in our lives, eh?
If you've been looking for an excuse to let loose, you'll love the next couple of messages: "Go against the grain. Temptation is fun . . .giving in is even better. Make someday today. Or the one that has me worried, "Don't think about it so much." It, huh? I scan my brain for the it. Could it be the Christmas cards I haven't written? Or the presents I haven't found yet? If I don't think about it, it will soon be a moot point. Only seven more shopping days until Christmas! I'm sure Santa is in a panic over it and desperately needs my help! I'm off to find the club Jack London was talking about. Then, once the it is history, I'll sit around my yet-to-be-purchased Christmas tree awhile drink some appropriately spiked eggnog and think about the blessings of this year and my wishes for 2006.
Season's greetings, everyone. May 2006 bring Peace on Earth.