Tuesday, March 16, 2010
P deduced that, in infinite fortune cookies, somewhere your true fortune lies. He visited Chinese restaurants around town—their number seemingly infinite, growing exponentially as he dined. P went alone, with friends, dates, family members. Sometimes two or three places per afternoon or evening, collecting as many fortune cookies as he could. Drew up charts, equations to calculate the worldwide eatery number, which would lead to the number of fortune cookies that existed at any one moment. Variables—they likely recycle the same messages, said a friend. Consider how many are just for laughs, how many are meant as true fortunes, what’s the overlap. In his apartment P collected untold piles of them, rooms slowly disappearing in crinkly plastic and a light fried brown, shifting plastic the sound of devouring bug hordes. A friend said, you have many fortunes but know none; you need to open one, see what it says. He said, why not. So he opened one, cracked the cookie in two, saw a blank strip of paper, heart sinking. The friend: never seen that before; what are the odds? P chuckled, wondered what a blank fortune meant, what it did to his equations. He resolved to open no more, consumed by the fear of blinding whiteness, division by zero.