Fortune Cookies

If you've ever eaten Chinese food with me - and even if you haven't - you've probably heard me brag about how I have good luck with fortune cookies.

You scoff, of course, but I've had my share of stunners. I've shared a story or two on the blog, I think - I must have at least told the L.A. story. If not, here it is:

While in film school, I went out to get Chinese food one afternoon with some of my new classmates. I believe it was still early in the semester, since I was still trying to get my classmates to grow fond of me to the point that by the end of term we would call each other "chums" and call each other to explain what a ripping good time we'd had at hols. My early impressions of film school seem to have been heavily influenced by books like The Hardy Boys Do A Year At Brighton. Anyway, to achieve this end, I was relying on my standard strategy for gaining people's approval, which is of course bragging about myself.

As we finished up our meal, I reached for my fortune cookie and announced my consistent good luck with these fortunes. I brought up the many times I had received glowing approvals of my abilities, including the one that said "you are always right," the one that said "your ideas are better than everyone else's," and the one that, without me even having to tack on my own ending, declared that I was quite something in bed. Proof positive of my excellence.

My classmates, Philistines all, voiced their dissension. "No one's good at getting fortunes, Ben. It's just dumb luck."
I held my cookie aloft and smiled craftily. "I have luck whenever I need it. Watch this. It'll say it right there." I cracked the cookie open. The fortune read "You are lucky in all you attempt." I hollered in triumph and did a victory lap around the Farmer's Market. Despite the proof of my supernatural talents, no one ever ended up calling me "chum," but I feel that I won the day anyhow.

I bring this up because I've been in a slump. A cold spell. I haven't gotten a good fortune in a long time. I mean sure, I've gotten a couple decent ones: "You will soon be victorious" was pretty nice; but it's not like it used to be. Sometimes I end up opening more than one cookie at a Chinese restaurant, hoping for a little bit of magic again. I'm pushing, and I know it. I'm watching my average tumble towards the Mendoza line, wondering if I ever had it at all, or was it all just a fluke.

Tonight, though, it happened again; a solemn promise right there, just after my sweet and sour chicken:

"You will become an accomplished writer."

Hot dog. I'm back.