Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today's fortune (or lack thereof): May 10, 2011

This morning, like every morning for the past 130 days, I stumbled into my office, sleep still in my eyes, and sat down before my computer. Then I reached into the big box next to my desk and extracted an individually-wrapped cookie. As I do every morning, I pushed the ends of the cookie together through the cellophane, snapping it open. This way, if I choose not to eat the cookie, I can remove the fortune without taking the cookie out of the plastic. (These are the little tricks you learn when you open fortune cookies every single day.)

I tore open the cellophane and reached my thumb and forefinger inside to take hold of the paper fortune. What I discovered was shocking: no fortune was inside.

I had just received the dreaded Empty Fortune Cookie.

If you Google the phrase "empty fortune cookie," what you'll find is that some people seem to think it's bad luck while others believe it to be a good omen (the logic being the recipient is so naturally lucky, they don't need a fortune).

I also discovered a cryptic website called emptyfortunecookie.com. If you go to the site, the only thing on the page is a tiny picture of a broken, empty fortune cookie. That's it. You can't click on the picture and there's nothing else on the page except haunting whiteness. Check it out for yourself, although I won't promise the site wasn't set up by fortune cookie demons to steal your soul.

Another link you'll find is to the definition of "empty fortune cookie" at Urban Dictionary. I winced as I clicked on the link, thinking I'd discover the phrase referred to some sort of sexual act. The site told me the phrase was actually an adjective that could mean 1) impotent, or 2) a failure at life. Way to boost my ego, Urban Dictionary! Then the website uses the phrase in the following sentences:
You still haven't contributed to society? You are one empty fortune cookie.

Your husband must be an empty fortune cookie if you still aren't pregnant.
(Okay that's enough, website.)
I spent the day thinking about what an empty fortune cookie could mean in my own life. The friends I spoke with about it seemed to think I should take the opportunity to coast.
"That's not good," one friend told me. "Maybe you could turn this into a positive, though. Take the day off. Everybody deserves a day off."
I reminded my friend that I've already let Jamie write one of my posts, and on another day I just ran a photo of Spock. I don't think I deserve another day off.
Another factor is that yesterday's fortune told me I should focus on quality instead of quantity today. I tried to do that as best as I could. Also, my quality scores got better today through no effort of my own. My supervisor raised a fuss about that 16 percent audit I received last week, and she got a portion of it overturned. Now, that score has been changed to 86 percent. Not great, but a heckuva lot better than 16.
I made no effort to raise that score - you could say my attempt was empty - and something good happened. Maybe the lack of a fortune is a blessing.
It could also mean something else. After work today, I drove across town to attend a visitation. The deceased was an old friend, an icon in my hometown, and I'll miss him. My life, and the lives of hundreds of others, will be a lot emptier now that he's gone.
But our minds are full to overflowing with good memories.


  1. Look at it this way: It's in theme with your green week thing. It's completely consumable! :D