Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SAMPLE FORTUNE: Purple Haze

In preparation for the My Daily Fortune project (if you're new to this blog, check out the idea for the project here and here), I thought it would be good to give it a test run.

Yesterday, after my wife Jamie and I dined at a Chinese restaurant, I cracked the obligatory fortune cookie and read this:

"Pay attention to the color purple this week."

So today, I made a vow to do exactly that. And almost immediately, purple introduced itself into my life.

At 7:15 a.m., when I stepped out my front door and onto the frigid Kansas ground, I noticed my newspaper sitting in the driveway. It was bundled in a purple plastic bag. Interesting.

What's struck me at work recently is how much impact a newspaper can have on people. I am a veteran of the newspaper industry, and just like the captain of a sinking ship, I watched as a newspaper sunk underneath me. I know the newspaper industry is dying, or at least that's what they say. And nowhere is it more evident than in my workplace, which is filled with twentysomethings who all carry around the latest laptops and smart phones. When I tell people my background is in newspapers, they often shrug their shoulders and comfort me, as if I had just come from a funeral.

But every morning I take my newspaper to work, and before my shift begins I read it in the break room. Afterwards I always stack the paper in a nice, even pile, and leave it on a table. When I return to the break room for lunch, every day - without exception - the newspaper sections are strewn across the room. One day during lunch I saw a guy checking sports scores, a lady completing the crossword puzzle, and a pair of co-workers poring over a department store ad. All from my newspaper.

The purple plastic bag made me think of all that this morning.

Since this was my first try at following the instructions of a fortune, I fumbled around for a while, taking mental note of the other purple things I saw during the day: a purple cell phone of a co-worker, the carpet tiles in the hallway, the marker at the base of the dry-erase board, a Dr. Pepper bottle in the vending machine. Not much value here.

Then on my drive home, I saw a purple car in front of me on the highway. I watched it for a while, debating what to do. I thought about following it, see where it would lead me. But then I reconsidered, thinking this was probably illegal in some way.

But the car's driver made my decision easy. The purple car turned off at my exit.

This was not necessarily a profound moment, but as we both slowed to make the turn and I pounded the steering wheel in genuine excitement, I found meaning in it nonetheless.

I followed the color purple, just like the fortune instructed. And the color purple led me back home.

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