Friday, May 25, 2018

Lost In Translation

As I'm sure you all know, fortune cookies aren't a thing in China, and are a wholly American invention. They were invented in 1918 by David Jung, a San Francisco baker. Today the majority of them seem to be manufactured in Chicago.

Despite the fact that they're made right here in the good ol' U.S. of A, something seems to be getting lost in translation. Check out these recent fortunes I found inside a couple of cookies:


Wha...? Wait a minute... "The Secret Of Happiness Is Not In Doing What One Likes, But In Liking What One Does?" That... that's the same thing! It's saying the same thing twice.

It reminds me of The Sphinx character from Mystery Men. He had all these circular logic sayings, like, "He Who Questions Training Only Trains Himself At Asking Questions," and "When You Can Balance A Tack Hammer On Your Head, You Will Head Off Your Foes With A Balanced Attack."

And then there's this one. I... I'm at a complete loss here. It's so obtuse I can't even come up with a snarky joke about it.

True story: About ten years ago I went on vacation in China. Before I left, a co-worker asked me to bring her back some "authentic" fortune cookies from China. I hesitated a few seconds, and then told her that they don't have them in China, since, as I said above, they're an American invention.

Naturally she didn't believe me, and accused me of just not wanting to bring her back a souvenir (which was true). I told her I could bring her something else, like a fan or Mao's Little Red Book, but she got all martyry and started saying, "No, forget it. I see now it's too much trouble. Never mind. I don't want anything."

This is why I try to talk to people as little as possible.

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