The Original Fortune Cookie
We’ve all opened a fortune cookie at one time or another at a Chinese restaurant. It’s part of the Chinese cuisine experience. The origin of the fortune cookie though is not Chinese but Japanese and traces its roots to Kyoto, Japan in the 19th Century where it was a Japanese temple tradition referred to as o-mikuji. Those cookies were larger and the slip of paper with the message on it was not inside the cookie but contained outside in the crease. Its introduction in the United States is in doubt. While there are two claims to its American introduction, it is interesting to note that both show the fortune cookie’s debut in a Japanese restaurant - either in San Francisco in the late 1890’s/early 1900’s or in Los Angeles in 1918.
What is not in dispute is the origin of our (mis)TrueFortune Cookie. It is as American as apple pie! Born and bred here but available to everyone worldwide. The concept of the TrueFortune Cookie originated in Sedona, Arizona, a town where half of its inhabitants believe in UFO’s and aliens and it’s blazing hot in the summer and snow abounds in the winter.
One Easter Sunday, TrueFortuneCookies creator/founder, David Lee, held a party with an Easter Egg Hunt. Inside plastic eggs which open, he placed messages on little scraps of paper that were (charitably put) insulting and offensive in nature - his own form of protest against the current status of world affairs. The hunt was a big hit…and a concept was born. Lee, a former rocket scientist, engineer, inventor and entrepreneur had found his new calling - the TrueFortune Cookie.
Why the True Fortune Cookie
Much as Paddy Chayefsky’s character Howard Beal expressed the ultimate frustration in the film Network when he screamed “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore,” David Lee was becoming progressively more frustrated with the current state of the world and human condition - e.g. a poor economy, wars in many place, increasing violent acts and atrocities , discord among nations, political bickering and ineffective government. People were becoming increasingly rude, impolite, self-centered, aggressive and absent-minded. Add to all this the over-reliance and obsession with electronic entertainment to the detriment of human interaction. And most of all, the three “d’s” - denial, despair and depression that was becoming more pervasive as a result of all this. Something had to be done and David Lee had never been the type of person to “pass the buck.”
The solution that David Lee found was to reestablish people’s God-given right to happiness. Part the clouds of negativity and let the sun shine through. Find a means to bring joy, peace of mind and happiness to people to help them cope with a world full of challenges. Do so, he felt, in a way that brings a smile to their face each and every day and enables them to move forward with a positive frame of mind. And his gift to them, at no charge. In addition, he wanted to encourage interaction as well so they can participate and also help bring smiles to others.
Lee’s solution emanated from that Easter Egg Hunt in Sedona. He remembered the fun and joy it brought to everyone who laughed at the offensive, irreverent and offbeat messages. While Easter eggs weren’t exactly a viable vehicle to house the messages, Lee felt true fortune cookies would be. He reasoned it would make an interesting twist to replace the forecasts of the future that are the staple of fortune cookies with a mixture of partly serious, partly funny comments and forecasts that analyze and interpret actions and occurrences in everyday life. Some entertain, some amuse, some are helpful tips, some thought-provoking - but all are bright and upbeat. To make the TrueFortune Cookies accessible and easy to digest (no they aren’t real), he set up a convenient system where people can sign up and then receive a message each day through the internet.
David Lee believes the future of TrueFortune Cookies is limitless. Borrowing from an old Carpenters song, he stresses “We’ve only just begun.” There are worlds to conquer. Quoting some popular old adages: “God helps those who help themselves,” “Seek and ye shall find,” “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” he invites everyone to join his unique revolution to cut through the doom and gloom that can permeate today’s current environment and help bring joy, peace and harmony both to themselves and others.
One message at a time!
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