Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Fortune" Cookies? Part 1

(A Special Rant for SundayScribblings)

Yes....that's right...I said - RANT!

I was given this topic yesterday - and could have cranked out this post right then in a couple of seconds. I decided to delay because I thought that I should take the time to put up a picture of a fortune cookie.

I even had the chance - as I met a business associate for lunch yesterday at a Chinese restaraunt. I was going to save my cookie and bring it home and snap an interesting picture. But, I changed my mind.....

....and ate the cookie then and there! - not because I wanted to taste that deliciousness (because, let's face it, fortune cookies aren't that delicious. The cookie is just something to keep your mouth busy so you can ponder what you are about to read). No, I decided....

"I'm going to give the fortune cookie industry one more chance" - you see, for some time now, I have actually raised the point that fortune cookies aren't really fortune cookies anymore. At some point, that entire industry got together and decided to change.

The industry failed again yesterday - they failed to the point that I don't even remember what the insipid cookie spit out as a "fortune." I didn't even bother saving it for the purpose of this post that I knew I was going to do.

Furthermore - I went to a clipart site....saw some choices for fortune cookies....and said, "this industry is a mess. They don't deserve a picture." Now, if one should appear with this posting, it will have been because I somehow came across an interesting situation and did a "back-edit" and added it later. I can guarantee you that the picture would not be flattering to the FC industry.

Fortune Cookies aren't Fortune Cookies anymore!!!! - and mislabeling is lying in my book. I demand honesty! If I end up needing to be the whistleblower on this industry, so be it!

Wisdom Cookies - would be a possible new name

Advice Cookies - is sometimes accurate.

Observation Cookies - is yet one more alternative to what today's blandless U-shaped wafer should actually be called.

"You are charming and your good looks will take you far" - OK....now that is a fortune that I get all the time. And it is on point. But, come on. It's an observation that I and everyone around me already makes!!! Plus, if you are good looking and charming, odds are you can go far. Yes, there is a touch of "fortune" in that message but, by and large, it would be an observation cookie....an accurate observation but an observation nonetheless.

The other two categories, wisdom and advice, speak for themselves - and you will have to watch for them the next time you do Chinese takeout. I don't have examples to share with you. I wish I did. It seems like there have been times when I actually have saved the paper remains of a wisdom/advice cookie because it was something that I might want to use in a presentation. Eventually, I end up tossing them when I am doing a massive cleanup (like the space that a "fortune" takes up really makes any difference in the overall tidiness of my abode). I can't find a single "fortune" around my entire house.....testimony to how pathetic the fortune cookie writers have gotten.

Who are the fortune cookie writers anyway? - have you ever met one? Do you know of anyone that has ever claimed to do that job.....even in their spare time? I haven't. I have been walking around this orb for close to half a century. I have talked to a lot of people. I have heard interesting stories about various jobs that people have held......not one person has ever said, "yeah, back between '73 and '74, I spent time writing fortunes for cookies." Never have I come across that.

What are the job qualifications? - now that I am on to this, I am thinking that maybe I should apply for the job. Hey, if you just complain, you are part of the problem. I want solutions. I am an action man. Can anyone out there give me some vocational guidance? I would like to do some research into this possible career path change. Hey, I'm in midlife. It would be a radical shift but that's what happens around this time.

What would the pay structure be like? - paid by the hour or by the fortune?

What is the productivity expectation? - 1 per hour? 10 per day? 1 a minute??? This is important if I am going to make this shift. What about copyrights and royalties? If I write one, how many times does it get copied and stuffed into that cookie? While this may come as a shock and seem impersonal, the truth is, dear reader, that somewhere on this planet, several other people are getting the same "fortune" as you. Sorry to break that to you.....don't ask me about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny either.

Perks? - unlimited soy sauce and crispy pan fried noodles? Can I negotiate for added Mongolian beef and GOOOOD, GREASY chicken chow mein? If so, we may be able to put a deal together.

What would I write? - well, I guess it depends on what the employer's view was. If it truly was about predicting fortune, I would need to bring my seer's hat to the table. If I was working for an advice/observation cookie maker, it might go something like this:

"You've put on a few pounds....read the fortune...don't eat the cookie"

Summary - I think we are entering a pivotal time for the Fortune Cookie industry. They have either got to go back to taking some chances and start predicting the future again or they need to come clean, reinvent themselves, and go through a PR campaign to more appropriately name their endeavor. With more people becoming aware of this scandal combined with speed of spreading this news on the internet, they are going to need to act fast.

10 comments:

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

"Today you will meet someone who will surprise you with a funny blog, you will laugh and enjoy every line. The blogger will be someone you do not know, and he will contact you first. Your future will hold enjoyable moments with his post."
Yeap that was my fortune today!! Lucky me!!

Kamsin said...

Other people's post were making me think I was missing out never actually having had a fortune cookie before, but I now no longer sad and can see I'm not missing ot after all! Seems to be the only "fortune" being had is the one the fortune cookie makers are raking in!

paris parfait said...

Dear Charming and Goodlooking Guy, It is doubtful you would enjoy writing fortune cookies - other than in special occcasions, for one's friends - as it would not provide enough interaction with other human beings. Everyone knows charming and goodlooking guys with senses of humour need companionship, people to laugh at their jokes and be amused by their actions. Without feedback from and interaction with others, how would such a fortune cookie writer continue to find inspiration to write his delightful tales?

Brilliant, Scott! Your piece made me laugh and laugh. HappyUP! xo Tara

Mardougrrl said...

This was delicious (moreso than a cookie itself, I agree) and very very funny!

Michelle said...

I like your take on the insipid so-called fortune cookie business. You might enjoy www.badcookie.com. :-)

Amber said...

LOL! This is so funny! Good post, thanks.

:)

Chelle Y. said...

I loved your take on fortune cookies. You made me laugh. :)

Catherine said...

Oh, so true - they really should be "observation" or "advice" cookies. I'm not too sure about wisdom, I think many are too fatuous to be called "wise"

gym buddy said...

Confusius say..."Man who make fun of fortune cookie fortunes...someday end up eating tainted moo-gu-gai-pan...." Verrrrry dangerous to upset the fortune cookie gods.....

commongal said...

I live right near Chinatown in Brooklyn, NY (there's one in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan and a China/Koreatown in Flushing, Queens) You can buy bags of Fortune Cookies and you can even get ones which have a more "R" rated bent. So, like you, I've been skeptical of these cookies and disappointed in the range of "messages" they offer.

Interestingly, I believe the poet Frank O'Hara wrote a poem which mimicked the fortune's of fortune cookies back in the 60's. I wish I had it in front of me.