The Fortune Cookie Files

A close-up of my wallet, AKA the file cabinet, before a recent cleaning.

As part of my recent commitment to clean some things up, I started with one of the more essential components to the existence of most men – the wallet.
As one of the attached photos clearly demonstrates, I have a lot of stuff in my wallet. I’m the kind of guy that likes to have a lot of resources available – aside from the usual required pieces of plastic such as ID and a credit/debit card, I have loyalty cards (GetGo, Sheetz, Bottom Dollar, etc.), library cards (Sewickley and two in Colorado), postage stamps, a personal memento from my wife, a card-sized copy of the Bill of Rights, and space for coupons and receipts to accumulate. By the end of the month, I’ve got quite the collection. 
Despite medical warnings to the contrary, I like a wallet I can keep a lot of things in. Until I was about 25 I carried one of those big trucker’s wallets, chain and all.
One thing that I’ve collected over the years stems from an affinity for Asian cuisine, and the omnipresent fortune cookie that comes with every meal. The fortunes themselves have little to do with the actual food or restaurant – truth be told, the best Asian cooking I’ve ever had was made by my sister-in-law in Oklahoma. 
Truth also be told, the fortune cookie is an American invention, and by Japanese immigrants to boot. According to Wikipedia – 
The exact provenance of fortune cookies is unclear, though various immigrant groups in California claim to have popularized them in the early 20th century, basing their recipe on a traditional Japanese cracker. Fortune cookies have been summarized as being “introduced by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately…consumed by Americans.”
Some of the fortune cookies that have graced my plate or take-out bag serve as a reminder or an admonition that I find valuable. These usually sit behind my drivers license until I clean and re-organize my wallet; they then get taped to old business cards and get placed in one specific spot for future reference. 
One timely and important piece of advice, taped to a monitor at
Allegheny County 9-1-1. Haven’t had any take-out from that end of town yet.
There is a fortune cookie app available on Facebook. I will not provide a link to it – I like people too much to do that. As much as I’m interested in the random relevance or kitschy clairvoyance of fortune cookies, I don’t like them enough to subject myself to anything from a Facebook app. For those Facebook friends in love with Farmville and similar time sponges, forgive me.
Sounds good to me, but I’m afraid that the money I save by not
buying more stuff will go toward more Chinese food…
It’s also important to understand that these aphorisms are just that – an original thought in a concise or memorable form. They can be fun to read, dwell upon, even genuinely reflect on if the spirit moves you – but they are still mostly just the product of mere mortals. For example, how much stock would you place in a fortune that said “fracking fluid is high in essential nutrients”?
Remembering that you can get your own custom fortunes fairly easily nowadays further muddies the gene pool of mysticism and intrigue that can sometimes occupy the mind of the fortune recipient possessing an overactive imagination.
For me, the clarity present in scripture can be a healthy antidote to this confusion, even if some religious writers assert  (and I’m learning elsewhere) that most of the Bible isn’t meant to be consumed in bite-size pieces. There are real and virtual fortune cookies available for this purpose.
You can even get instructions online for how to make your own fortune cookies with verses from LDS teachings. Although it’s unclear whether or not the finished product would be suitable for church-recommended food storage, they would most likely be ideal for your next Mitt Romney fundraiser. 
So check out some of the samples I’ve collected. I know that some people also enjoy the language lesson and/or the lucky numbers that are on the back, but that’s not what I’ve focused on. Perhaps I missed winning the Powerball because of it. Oh well..
Just as quickly as that order of Vegetable Lo Mein is forgotten, so may a lot of the fodder posing as advice or predictions, pinched en masse into rudimentary dough and baked with a hint of vanilla. 
But who knows what significance something so seemingly insignificant can have on the life of a single individual, and therefore on other individuals that person interacts with? Who’s to say what the importance of the word “Rosebud“, for example,  has on the psyche of one person, and possibly the collective psyche of a nation? How about the word “change” or “hope”, for that matter?
Can fortune cookies be a metaphor or delivery system for American freedom? 

Some insight into this year’s presidential race.
Have a good week ahead.
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