Thanks to the wily Chinese plot to exploit my gluttony, I’ve seen more than my fair share of fortune-cookie fortunes these days. The “…in bed” game lost its charm for me years ago, but every now and then I’ll find a fortune that amuses me, such as You will soon be crossing the great waters. “That’s awesome,” the most pessimistic of my friends told me, “You got a fortune that says you’re gonna DIE!” So I gave it to him. (Postscript: That was five years ago, and we’re both still kicking, unless I’m in a drugged-up “Jacob’s Ladder” dreamscape, which I wouldn’t put past God.)

Also, one mid-December day I got The current year will bring you much happiness. Thanks, Fate! Way to work those technicalities, you providential skinflint.

But if there’s any doubt that these cookie-bound portents speak the truth:

No denying that.

Sometimes the truth is hard to nail down, though:

''You are reading this right now.''

And then I got the mother of all fortune-cookie fortunes:

Destined to be crucified on a rabbit's foot.

SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP! That’s the clearest signal I could ever get that it’s time to throw in the fortune-cookie towel. Anything – anything after this point is a step down. The sound of a cookie cracking is the sound of imminent disaster, in comparison. I wonder how many of these get printed; is this a million-to-one super special golden-ticket prize? Or if it’s as common as any other, then are we the Chosen going to find ourselves battling one another, Highlander-style, for supremacy of the fortuitous masses? Or, better yet, if this fortune IS amazingly rare, then is there an equal-and-opposite anti-fortune out there? “Among the hopeless, you will be dead in minutes from the strychnine in the cookie you just ate.”

Perhaps I should feel remorse for whatever poor soul out there has suffered or is awaiting suffering for the sake of my mystic bounty. But hey. Cosmic balance must be maintained. If it wasn’t, where would we be? The fortune-cookie-poison homicide detectives would be out of work, that’s for sure. You wouldn’t boot heroes like them out in the cold, would you? You heartless bastard.

(Do you remember the Twilight Zone episode where this woman was given a box with a button on it, and if she presses the button, she’ll get a million dollars, but someone she doesn’t know will die? Yeah, I know – who needs the million dollars? That’s just icing on the cake.)