Several months ago I contacted Guinness to see if I could acquire the world record for largest collection of fortune cookie fortunes. Turns out, you can have a record for the largest cookie, but for those of you collecting their contents- you’re out of luck. My application was denied and all I’m left with is hundreds of tiny slips of paper, and one larger electronic one, to constantly remind me of my failure as a collector.
Despite this, I have continued to collect, and as an additional service to humanity, I have categorized these prophetic morsels into four groups and chosen my favorites for your reading pleasure.
My creative genius has identified the following types of cookie content: sayings, advice, fortunes, and flattery, listed here from most common to least common.
The most common fortunes to be found in these miniature Chinese treasure chests are nuggets of wisdom. They come in various kinds, from the thought-provoking: “Genius is the capacity to take infinite pains.” to the poetic: “A kiss? The renunciation of the heart when one is no longer alone.” and the potentially sarcastic: “Ideas you believe are absurd ultimately lead to success!” Some fortunes left me wanting more, “Time to collect those good” while others were missing a certain something… “Like the river flow into the sea. Something are just meant to be.”
These fortunes think for you, rather than let you do all the work. They offer suggestions and often make use of the imperative in their grammatical structuring. There are words of encouragement, or whatever: “Go for the gold today! You’ll be the champion of whatever.” Government sponsored propaganda inserted to boost the economy: “Good clothes open many doors. Go shopping.” Some love advice: “Turn on the charm. You’ll be glad you did.” And when all else fails: “Think!”
All of the actual “fortunes” to be found in fortune cookies were surprisingly positive. Many predicted great success in the future: “You are about to embark on a most delightful journey!” while others were a bit more subtle about it… “God will give you everything that you want.” And some even insisted your life was improving right before your eyes: “Your dearest dream is coming true.”
These fortunes consist mainly of lies inserted into the cookies to boost sales or sway public opinion. Catholic colleges funded slogans like: “You are interested in higher education, whether material or spiritual.” Politicians like Ron Paul paid thousands for: “You are independent politically.” Overall, fortunes like these made it clear that: “You are the center of every group’s attention.” Because everyone loves to get their ego massaged.
I hope you enjoyed the article, but be sure to note that I may have taken some creative liberties in divining the authors of some of the fortunes in the name of humor. (For more fortune fun, try reading fortunes with the words ‘in bed’ at the end.)