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Fortune's forgotten Chinese cookie - Michael Davis

I'm not a really superstitious guy. I don't go to fortune-tellers, I don't look into crystal balls and the only thing you might read on my palm is a phone number. Quite frankly, I'm afraid of beads and incense and oversized playing cards.

But there are certain things you expect out of life. There are certain n we'll call them "givens" n that throughout life, we come to accept will happen,; a unique reaction to a specific action.

But the other day I was utterly amazed. Sometimes, the totally unexpected happens and piles the stuff on an already strange day n one of those days where you get unexpected reactions to everything you do.

I went to lunch at a Chinese buffet. As with most traditional (and I use that term quite loosely) Chinese restaurants, the waiter, or in this case waitress, brings you a sweet little cookie with a delicate orange flavor and a little white piece of paper shoved inside at the conclusion of your meal.

This piece of paper is the "fortune" part of a fortune cookie. We all know the types of sage wisdom these are known to impart n our lucky lotto numbers not the least of them. You might crack open the crisp fried treat to read something like, "Never under-estimate the power of kindness," or other such drivel.

There's even a Web site where you can click on a cartoon cookie and get "bad" fortunes like, "You or a close friend will be gravely ill within the year."

How heartening, right?

More often than not, fortune cookies read like horoscopes, which, as of late, read more like motherly advice doled out when you leave for school. I expect to see one day, things like, "Don't forget to wash your hands because you might get sick," and I have seen, "Break one bad habit today."

But I digress.

On this particular day, upon finishing my meal, the waitress brought the bill and the requisite cookie. I unwrapped the cookie and broke it open only to find, to my amazement, an empty shell n a hollow void from which I had hoped to gain some sort of special insight, wisdom and a least a couple of lucky numbers. But I was seriously disappointed. Lost. Searching for an answer.

What is the meaning of a Chinese meal without the eternal wisdom of the culture that produced the crab Rangoon while still coping with the dichotomy that exists in a sauce that is both sweet and sour?

Without some enlightening pearl of wisdom to give import to my dining experience, does it mean that I have wasted my time?

Questioning the meaning of my meal, I came to at least one conclusion: I should've brought lunch.

Michael Davis is a reporter for the Daily Herald. His column appears on Fridays. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at mdavis@henryherald.com.