Monday, March 26, 2012

Credulity and Szechuan Noodle: Made in the USA

I've gotten some odd fortune cookies in my life. This might be the strangest:

It came from the belly of a sweet crispy shell opened outside of Tucson, AZ.

Last night, while leaving a popular Asian restaurant that my friends and I were embarrassingly overeager and excited to eat at, we walked past a particularly intriguing patron. I backed up and took another look  to ensure I had, indeed, seen what I thought I had. 

Sure enough, there was a woman with two giant plates full of fortune cookies and a bowl of discarded cookie shells. I saw no other entree on her table.

As discreetly as I knew how, I coerced each of my dining companions into meandering past her table to take a look. We exited the mall—yes we were dining inside a mall—and right behind us followed a server whose shift had just ended. Kady asked, "Hey what's up with fortune cookie lady?" I was equally excited and horrified at her  question because I had a terrible flash-daydream of the lady being his mom or something. But I really wanted to know the story.

"Oh, her!" he said, his eyes lighting up. 

It turns out not so long ago, she received a fortune cookie after her meal at the restaurant, and the numbers on the cookie led to her winning a small lottery. "Somewhere around five G," the waiter offered.

So now she weekly performs the ritual of visiting the restaurant and ordering somewhere around 20 fortune cookies. 

The truth is, the odds of her finding another winning-number cookie at the same restaurant are even less likely than her picking a winning lotto-number at random, but that's just silly science speaking. Even though there's no evidence that it was he who gave us this, many people contribute the idiom, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results," to Albert Einstein. I started thinking about silly things I do that don't make any sense: things that are comfortable or routine or unfounded. 

I can't think of any because I'm so normal and smart. But what about you?


Your comments are why I get out of bed in the morning. Just kidding. But I do like them.