Noncommittal fortune


I love fortune cookies, but I admit to having some fairly specific ideas about what constitutes a good one vs a bad one. The best fortune cookies, in my opinion, are the ones that tell you something specific that is about to happen to you. Something ┬álike “You will win a million dollars next tuesday” is an example of a good fortune cookie. Even something less specific, such as “A great day lies ahead for you” is within the range of what I consider a correct use of the form. On the other hand, I loathe fortune cookies that lack fortunes, as this is clearly a letdown and an affront to the definition of fortune. When (after enduring an entire meal of greasy take out) I open a cookie only to read “A rolling stone gathers no moss” or “A wise man thinks before he speaks”, I get a little bent out of shape. What kind of crap is that? Imagine my surprise when I received a kind of hybrid message in my fortune cookie this evening.

It read: “You should be able to undertake and complete anything.”

Come again? What is that supposed to mean? I mean, it has the advantage of addressing me directly, which is a good thing…but what is this “should” business? If it had said “You can undertake and complete anything” it would be a dull but expected compliment I guess, arriving in this way from a fortune cookie. But “should”? That throws a whole air of uncertainty into the mix. Is this a challenge? An insult to my current situation or some sort of rebuke? I scour my brain for all the things I have undertaken and left hanging, as well as for those things I thought about and didn’t undertake in the first place. And the nerve of those taunting smiley faces at both ends and those “lucky” numbers along the bottom…