Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Best Fortune

I come from a fairly superstitious family, but I don't really consider myself superstitious. Surpisingly, one of my brothers, Ted, a very pragmatic emergency physician, claims that fortune cookies speak the truth. I don't think I quite believe in them as much. But maybe I like to believe them a little if they say something good.

It's like how I wish I could believe in a religion, because then I'd really believe in heaven and reincarnation and all that niceness. But I don't think I can believe in things just because they're nice. I'm not going to believe in unicorns, just because I think they are awesome. I think it's pretty much over when we die. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying the beauty and miracle of life.

Then again, sometimes I do consider the possibility of an afterlife, like when my other brother, Peter, survived a plane crash. The amazing part of that story is not just that he survived a horrific plane crash, but that when he was a baby, a fortune teller told our grandfather that Peter would be the sole survivor of a plane crash. He wasn't the sole survivor, but it was pretty darn close enough.

Peter knew about this fortune teller's prediction when he was on that plane, so even though he was frightened during the crash, it probably helped him believe that he would survive, while everyone else probably thought they would die. After this happened, it sort of made me think that maybe our parents were watching out for us from the afterlife.

Or maybe I should consider these fortunes more seriously.

Maybe eight years ago, I took a trip to Japan with my boyfriend at the time. Our relationship was already getting rather tenuous, but I decided not to worry about that until after the trip was over. But the first day we were there, he decided to bring up whether we should break up. I couldn't believe his audacity. That was pretty much reason enough to break up. So we did.

But we had to spend the rest of the week together in Japan! It was a little awkward. I basically dealt with it by making sarcastic, cutting remarks at him for the rest of the trip, and he would just laugh it off. But honestly, it was pretty upsetting to me. (Ironically, he wanted to get back together with me a year later, but that is another story.)

So we decided that for one day on the trip, the ex and I would split up to travel separately. He didn't eat fish, and I wasn't going to leave Japan without having some sushi.

On that day, I went to the Asakusa Shinto temple. They have a tradition, where you buy a fortune. You shake a box of sticks and pull out one stick, which has a number on it. You then match that number to a wall of little drawers, where you pull out a fortune. Some fortunes are bad, and some are good. If you have a good one, you keep it. If you have a bad one, you roll it up and tie it at the temple so in hopes that the spirits will take the bad luck away.

I had an English-speaking volunteer at the temple help me do this, since I couldn't read the Japanese numbers. When I handed him my stick, he read the number and said, "Ohh, I think I know this one. I think it's a good one." He pulled out the paper fortune for me and read it and said, "Yes, it's what I thought. You got the best one."

He wasn't exaggerating. It was actually titled, "No. 99, The Best Fortune":

Side B

In spite of my skepticism about fortunes, I was totally amazed. It was the assurance I needed, right when I needed it. So I thought, maybe I do believe this.


So yesterday, after having had a crummy week, I took this piece of paper out again. Whether it's real, or just a self-fulfilling prophecy, or just a complete delusion, it's nice to feel like I have something to look forward to.

(BTW, that ex is now married, and I'm still single. I guess I'm still waiting. Hmm.)

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Blogger tatertot said...

it will all get better. i promise. and you are the bestest, funnest, nicest person, so karma will come back around. :)

3:09 AM  

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