Many of you know the shtick I came up with in grad school of adding "for all the good it does you." There's nothing like a decade of indentured servitude grading freshman composition papers to ratchet up your fatalism. If you're ever at a Chinese restaurant and hear people at the next table adding "for all the good it does you" to their fortunes, they probably got doctorates in English or Comparative Literature at Rutgers, for all the good it did them.
Last night tracyandrook came over for Chinese food and stayed to babysit so Dan and I could go see a movie. (We hadn't seen a movie in a theater since August 2007. Such is parenthood.) Tracy had just learned of a layoff in her family, Dan was fretting about how much longer the start-up he works for can remain unscathed (they've been very lucky so far), and it was just occurring to me that some of my clients who are taking Spring Break off from tutoring might bail out altogether when that hiatus runs out. That's the nature of SAT tutoring--students take the SAT, and once they get scores they can live with, they stop re-taking the test, and poof, no more tutoring sessions. Some of my students are expecting their scores to arrive any day now. We'll see whether I've succeeded my way out of a job with any of them.
So, when we broke out the fortune cookies, we started adding "in the new economy" to the fortunes:
You may be conservative, cautious, and practical...in the new economy.
This one starts out benign, but takes an ominous twist. So much for being able to afford groceries:
Your love of gardening will take on new meaning in your life...in the new economy.
This one, oddly enough, was Gareth's. For a kid who's never tasted coffee, he spends a lot of time in cafes. I sometimes think I am singlehandedly keeping Starbucks in business with my froufrou mocha beverage habit.
You have tasted the bitterness as well as the sweetness of coffee...in the new economy.
Life is not a problem to be solved, but rather a mystery to be lived...in the new economy.
Yeah, thanks, but after all this ambiguity, I think we'd all rather have a problem than a mystery.
And, just in case you were wondering if our fortune cookies told us whether the markets had hit bottom yet, there was this one:
Life is full of wonders...explore what's around you...in the new economy.
Cookiemancy may not be the proverbial working crystal ball, but it can't be dumber than CNBC's advice on Bear Stearns was.