Hubby and I went out for Chinese food a couple of weeks back. Like most people after a Chinese meal (in American restaurants), I enjoy a good little message nestled into a lousy tasting, sticky bit of high-fructose corn syrup mixed with cheap white flour and a bit of animal grease (otherwise known as a “fortune cookie”). I don’t have a bit of belief in anything superstitious such as fortunes, good luck, bad luck, etc. but I’ve never gotten a fortune that I just couldn’t understand.
Until now. My latest fortune reads:
I read once or twice and thought I must be missing some words. I blinked through it again a time or two. I even started wondering if I am reaching that point in life where I’ll need bifocals. I just can’t get this message to make any sense.
I’m willing to forgive a Chinese interpreter who has some deep idea to convey to me, but who doesn’t interpret the words quite correctly. It would probably take me a lifetime to learn to translate anything into Chinese. So, let’s fix a bit of grammar and start again. The fortune might then read as follows:
The one who recognizes the illusion does not act as if it is real.
–But then what? Now what does it mean? What kind of illusion are we talking about here? In what type of situation would I rec0gnize an illusion, and then be compelled to act as if the illusion is not an illusion? Does this happen all the time?
If it does happen all the time, what is so special about it that it warrants being inserted into a fortune cookie?
If it doesn’t happen all the time, then what sort of thing am I supposed to be watching for? And what am I supposed to do about it?
Another possibility is that I have re-phrased the fortune so that its meaning has actually moved further away from what the writer intended to convey. And even though I don’t believe in fortunes, I feel a bit robbed anyway.
There’s my sad story for the day.