You will read an interesting fortune

My Patient Husband said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you my fortune.”

He and a group of co-workers had gone to a Chinese restaurant for lunch, and in his fortune cookie he’d received a very special message.

You are the crispy noodle on the vegetarian salad of life.

I have to say I agree on the grounds that I don’t understand it enough to disagree with it. Is being a crispy noodle a good thing or a bad thing?  I’m going to venture that it’s a good thing, for two reasons:

1. crispy noodles in a salad would be a tasty surprise


2. fortune cookies don’t generally deliver bad news

So while I remember looking at a copy of Penn And Teller Play With Your Food back during college, and finding the tear-off sheet of fortunes that said things like “That lump is cancer,” you’re never really going to find that, or

You will need a ferocious attorney.

or even

Your love of learning will help you figure out how to get gum out of an antique Persian rug.

Whenever we get fortune cookies, our family follows the same pattern every time.  The kids get theirs first, and they’ll read them aloud at the table.  In the middle of this, I’ll say, “Mine says,

‘You will die alone and afraid, knowing that no one ever really loved you.’

And then I’ll add in a bemused tone, “I always get the same one.” I’m directly quoting an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, by the way, but it’s always good for a laugh. What follows is this:

Kiddo#2: It really says that?

Kiddo#1: It does not! What does it really say!

Lately, the oldest two either recite it with me or else they pre-empt me. I’m going to need a new joke.

Also during the reading of the fortunes, someone will come up with something particularly cheesy and either my Patient Husband or I (or both of us simultaneously) will utter a breathy “That is so deep.”

Memorable fortunes from our past:

You like Chinese food.

You have the power to write your own fortune.

Help! I’m trapped in a fortune cookie factory!

(Actually, that last one is from a Terry Pratchett novel.)

Back when I was a neophyte philangelus, not very long after the first time I said hi to my guardian, I found a fortune I still keep in my wallet. It said,

Angels guard your every step.

I thought that was really sweet.  I thought it was even sweeter when, later, I ended up getting exactly the same fortune again.

Sometimes they’re sweet. And sometimes, you’re just the crispy noodle on the vegetarian salad of life.


  1. MysteryNurse

    There’s a part of me that wishes that fortune cookies did sometimes give bad news. Not that I really want bad news, but it might make things a little more interesting if you weren’t really sure if it would be good.

    I once got one that had been cut incorrectly, so that only the first line showed. It said “Look out for the”. The what? The WHAT?! I’ll never know. I’m sure it was something pleasant, like “little pleasures in life,” but my imagination filled in “hungry escaped tiger behind you” or “giant crevasse in your path.”

    So our family tradition is, when we get a two-line fortune, to fold it and read only the first line. Then we come up with awful endings. And it does make things more interesting.

    1. philangelus

      Maybe the guy writing the fortune had to look out for the man-eating tiger and didn’t?

      I like your idea. Maybe we can try that here. 🙂

      1. MysteryNurse

        Ha! Maybe.

  2. Ivy

    “Come back in two hours. You’ll be hungry by then.”

    1. philangelus

      Or depending on some meals I’ve eaten at Chinese restaurants, “Come back in two days. You may be hungry again by then.”

  3. capt_cardor

    I like MysteryNurse’s idea, too.

    My favorite was “Young Man, Foo and Wise”.

    I still ponder that after twenty years.

    1. philangelus

      I’ve been described as being foo of something, but it isn’t wisdom. 🙂

    2. philangelus

      I wonder if the “foo” part has a connection to the “young” part ala
      “egg foo young”? Maybe it *means* something… 🙂

  4. Nina

    I pity the foo.

    Which reminds me that the dance shoes I bought for the oldest are branded “Jig Foo”. They’re from Shanghai, so maybe it means something there, but we laugh and say “I guess this is the ballroom equivalent of Kung Fu?”

  5. cricketB

    At storytelling guild last Chinese New Years, we had to add “in bed.” after each message. Interesting changes.

    1. Mariana

      Ha! you preempted my comment. I have a friend who does that.

    2. Liz

      My friends and I will do “in bed, with a yak” after the fortunes. 😀

      1. philangelus

        The yak would certainly make it interesting…

  6. xallanthia

    My husband has TWICE gotten the fortune, “God looks after you especially.”

    But my favorite was the first time he took me to the restaurant where he’s found the above fortune, very early in our relationship. My fortune that day said, “Stop looking forever, happiness is just next to you.”

    1. philangelus

      Those are awesome!

  7. Mariana

    I have a friend who always adds “… in bed” to the end of her fortunes.

    There is a place in Seattle that sells “unfortunate cookies”, but they are not cookies with depressing fortunes, but factory reject fortune cookies (broken ones, poorly folded, etc. )

  8. Heather

    “You will die on Tuesday”
    I got that from some stock card site and I laughed for days!

  9. Judy

    The best one I’ve ever gotten said, “You can’t stop the wave, but you can learn to surf”. This is especially important because we got it just before my mom was diagnosed with cancer. In the years since, we’ve done a heck of a lot of surfing. Blessedly, Mom is cancer free and I keep a copy of this on my bulletin board at my desk at work.

  10. Ken Rolph

    Australian emergency service workers have special names for various kinds of bodies they encounter. If you spend time in water you will be a squishy. If you get burnt you will be a crispy. Now a noodle is also a name for a head.

    A burnt head can be seen metaphorically, like being steamed up. In other words, angry.

    A salad is rarely not vegetarian. So this implies a certain amount of redundancy. This is a fairly common practice of businesses under pressure.

    I believe the secret underlying message is:

    “You will become angry after losing your job.”

    C’mon, bring on the Delphic Oracle next!