The Secret of the Fortune Cookie

I arrived at work this morning to discover two plastic wrapped fortune cookies tossed on my desk.  They lay there in haphazard in-animation, taunting me with their randomness.

Random fortune cookies

I don’t work at a Chinese restaurant, so to walk into my office and discover a couple of cookies I only see after I’ve gorged myself on Kung Pao Chicken and Veggie Tempura was a mystery.  I decided to channel my inner Nancy Drew and solve the case *.

(I have fond memories of Nancy and Ned, motoring off to solve the case in her blue convertible.  If memory serves, I even had a little crush on Ned.  More importantly, I saw Nancy as a role model, capable of standing on her own two feet and conquering whatever obstacles came her way in her quest for the truth.  I think the world needs more role models.)

The cellophane wrappers proclaimed they were “Golden Dragon” fortune cookies, one regular and one chocolate. ** I frowned at them, resting on the desk in all their folded clam shell glory.  What were they doing there?  Why?  Who gave them to me?  I wanted to rip the packages open and read the fortunes, but I hesitated.  Mysterious fortune cookies, gifted to me by an unknown person — it was like unwrapped candy in the Halloween treat bag, the candy Mom made us throw away because it might have been tampered with.

Also, this is the same workplace where the women’s restroom should be classified as a hazmat area.  Anything unexplained in this office scares me.

I poked my head into several of my co-worker’s offices.  Fortune cookies rested on their desks too!  The fortune cookie elf had distributed wealth and fortunes to many!  Could this mean their presence was benevolent?

Or was someone letting people into the building late at night to do blatant advertising for the Golden Dragon restaurant?  Of course, if advertisers are roaming the building at midnight, there are bigger concerns than poisoned cookies.  Staplers and favorite pens may disappear.  Continued encroachment by random visitors could lead to computers growing legs.

My co-workers arrived.  They read their fortunes.  They may have eaten the cookies. *** They shrugged it off as nice coincidence.

Not me.  My journey for answers continued.  How zen, you might think.  And how appropriate.  Zen.  Fortune cookies.  Two great things that go great together.

I’m not that altruistic.  I don’t trust anonymous gifts.  I like to know who I might be beholden too.  Sure, that could be considered a fault — I should just accept the nice gesture and move on, but I can’t.  I have to know.

Because I’m that person (you know the one, you might even have a friend like me) who sucks at remembering to buy a card for important events, who sucks at remembering to call or write, who sucks at planning celebrations, unless it’s my own.

My friends get this about me.  They know I’m going to forget.  I’ll mean well.  They know the thought, “Go to Hallmark.  Buy a card,” will have crossed my mind and they know the thought kept right on going out the other side.

So, yeah.

Random, anonymous fortune cookies appear one morning on a birch topped metal desk.  The shiny package crinkles, tempting one to open it, to snap the cookie apart, take a nibble, and read the fortune.  And I have to question the gift because it is so not something I would do.

I kept digging.

The cookies were the gift of a man in our office who had come into possession of an entire CASE.  I don’t know how anyone finds themselves the proud owner of a giant box of fortune cookies.  That’s a mystery I don’t want answered.

No matter how he acquired them.

He turned the acquisition into a generous gesture, distributing goodwill in the form of wise words on a slip of paper encased in crisp dough made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and oil.

I’m not so good at the generous gesture, but I can appreciate those who are.

Once I know who it is.

I consider writing to be an exploration of the unknown, so I think this one is less fortune and more statement of fact.

I have a couple of parties to attend this month. Only time will tell if either is unusual.

* I thought I was dating myself with my Nancy Drew reference; however, when I went to Wikipedia to check on the color of the convertible, I discovered Nancy is still alive, well and solving cases as a hip, modern teen.

** Did you know they make chocolate fortune cookies?  I didn’t.  It’s nice to learn something new every day.

*** Does anyone actually EAT the fortune cookie?