A few months ago, I made a list of 36 excellent and useful fake names. I wrote them while doing laundry at my parents’ house, on the type of notepads that charities send out to guilt people into donating money, and found them again today, crumpled in the bottom of my backpack.
Given the rise of silly internet games with the pandemic going on, I thought this would be a good time to post them. Possibly because my brain is broken, I laugh uncontrollably every time I read the full list. My partner, on the other hand, hates them with surprising vehemence, even though they’re totally normal and definitely don’t sound like fake American baseball player names from a 1980s Japanese video game.
Anyway, get out a d12 or a random number generator, pick a list, and find yourself a very respectable alter ego.
“If I listen to a playlist of children’s new wave songs about trucks at work, will anybody notice?” That’s the question my partner and I have been wondering about (more me because of the nature of my job) now that our kid is obsessed with this song about a cement mixer. Like a disease, it has spread to everyone around her. We all have it stuck in our heads. It goes round and round and round and round…
If this had existed when I was in high school, it’s exactly the kind of thing I would’ve binged-watched just because it’s weird.
Why Fortune Cookie Throw Down? Because instead of reading my fortune, saying to myself, “Self, this is absolute nonsense,” and then throwing out my fortune like a normal person would, I keep all my fortunes. I find them in the pockets of my work shirts, in my computer bag, and in crevices of my apartment that I clean out maybe every two years. They’re scattered about the top of my bureau like dead leaves.
And yet, I still can’t throw them out. I put them to the side when I’m cleaning. I collect them in tiny boxes and bowls, which I then forget about. I’ve been decluttering since before decluttering was cool, but even that does nothing because they’re so small they escape into crevices like papery little centipedes. My entire apartment is infested with mystical fortune cookie nonsense.
But a few years ago, this looked like it might change. Back in the early days of this blog, I had tons of ideas for features and series of posts. Most of them involved me going out of my way to do eccentric activities, and then write about them. Thus, like a twisted emperor of meaningless scraps of paper, I decided that my fortune cookie fortunes must prove their worth through combat. Pitted against one another on this very blog, they would win based on wisdom, humor, uncanny accuracy, or my fickle whims of the day.
Somehow, this made more sense to me than throwing them out in a cold-blooded sweep.
Fortune One vs Fortune Two
“Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.”
The first fortune is pithy advice with a sensible caveat. Actually, I like this one. I don’t believe that intuition, or gut feelings, are some mystical, magical thing, or that intuition needs to be opposed to logic. Rather, I think that intuition is basically an impression you get from things you’ve noticed, but not necessarily verbalized. But no, it’s not enough, because one bad thing can color an impression if you’re not willing to think about it logically. I live by this.
“What makes an apple fall to the ground?”
The idiocy of this question can be summed up by one word: GRAVITY. Or possibly kids with sticks, or extreme over-ripeness. But it still comes back to GRAVITY, doesn’t it?
Obviously, number one is my winner.
Fortune Three vs Fortune Four
“One is not sleeping, does not mean they are awake.”
Being judgemental, New Age style. And that’s about it. It’s not profound in the way that people who believe this think it is. Also, it loses points for grammar. Although grammar isn’t the point here, I was so distracted by the mismatch between “one” and “they” that I didn’t immediately notice that the entire thing is a grammatical hot mess.
“Curiosity kills boredom. Nothing can kill curiosity.”
Except for sedatives, electric fences, and unwanted answers. And also the knowledge that if you look up your symptoms online, it will send you into a panic, which is probably far worse than some imaginary tingling in your leg that seems to go away as soon as you put on Star Trek or otherwise occupy your mind. Curiosity does kill boredom. Other things can kill curiosity, and swiftly.
Number four wins this one. Three is judgemental, but not helpful. While my response to four was glib, the fortune is still more true. I rarely get bored, and am always am trying to learn new things. Curiosity can be killed, but like a comic book villain, it never stays dead forever.
Fortune One vs Fortune Four
To recap, Fortune One is “Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.” Fortune Four is “Curiosity kills boredom. Nothing can kill curiosity.”
As I said above, I live by Fortune One. If that hadn’t already the case, Fortune One might have been good advice for me. Number Four has been brought down by its second sentence, and by the fact that I’m a smart ass.
Fortune One advances to the next round!
While Fortune Cookie Thrown Down was kind of a weird thing I found on my hard drive and I no longer intended to turn into a series, I had fun typing this up. I enjoy poking holes in common cultural wisdom, although much of what one sees on fortune cookie fortunes doesn’t really match that description. You might have noticed in the art journal image above that I had glued down four more fortunes. At the very least, I’ll have to write about those. This may not be Episode One and Only after all.
Next time, on Fortune Cookie Throw Down…
Principles, convictions, schedules, and being wronged duke it out! Don’t miss it! Coming soon! Or at least in the future. Eventually!