Butterscotch Moment 87: Fortune Cookie Answers
Posted on January 28, 2015
Many of my undergrad evenings were spent hunkered down in the cushy green armchair at the coffee shop “College Drip.”
Sure, it sounds like something you cure with a shot of penicillin, but it served exceptional espresso, played great indie-rock, and was a refuge for the uber-geeky and 90s alternative scene. Tucked between a popular campus bar and a cheap Chinese food joint, it’s where I’d pretend to study when really I was obsessing over life after graduation – or daydreaming about robot grandmas that dispense milk from their fingertips.
“Don’t worry,” Eve said. “Seventy percent of college students change their major at some point during college.”
Eve was a whippet-thin barista with a cascade of skull tattoos lacing her arms. She’d worked at College Drip since the mid-80s when she quit school to concentrate on her band appropriately named “Downward Mobility.”
“I probably skewed that statistic,” I mumbled. “I’ve changed my major three times.”
“Let me guess,” she hummed. “You wanted to be—”
“—an astronaut,” I said, finishing her sentence.
“Don’t laugh,” I said. “I have all the qualifications. My standing height is between 62 and 75 inches. I have 20/20 vision. And, I eat G-forces for breakfast.”
“When have you pulled a G?”
“Um, hello,” I chimed, raising my hands. “Once at Six Flags I daringly turned upside down on the Spindletop.”
“Okay, that counts,” Eve agreed with a smile.
“But NASA only selects nine applicants from a pool of 4,000. The odds weren’t in my favor so I gave up.”
Eve continued to listen as she picked up empty coffee cups from around the shop.
“Then I totally crushed on my parasitology professor. Logically, I believed I could spend the rest of my life studying tapeworms, roundworms, and flukes. Until the day he left the room for five minutes and returned with a ‘hot stool’ sample for macroscopic examination.”
“Eww,” she said, wrinkling her nose in disgust.
While another student placed an order, I sat quietly with the folder of letters in my lap. I knew each letter by heart now. “Congratulations,” they began.
“Here, take a look at this,” I said, before handing her one of the acceptance letters. I fiddled with the strap of my corduroy overalls while she read.
“Law school? You’re going to law school?”
“I did that externship at the DA’s office and loved it. . . . But I don’t know,” I sighed.
“What do you mean you don’t know? Why wouldn’t you?”
“Let’s see,” I said, counting the reasons on my fingers. “Crazy expensive. Abysmal job market. Everyone thinks lawyers are evil—”
“—Those people who handle insurance claims,” Eve said. “They’re evil.”
“What if I get there and hate it? Even worse, what if I pile up all that debt, suck as a lawyer and then can’t repay it?” I banged the folder of letters against my head. “I’m not even old enough to drink! How am I supposed to make this decision?”
“Listen,” Eve said, placing a hand on my shoulder, “if you start to worry, that’s your alarm to pray about it.”
I didn’t say anything as I took my cup, lifted it to my lips, and sipped the last of my drink. I never took her for someone who prayed.
“Now get out of here before you start sprouting roots in our chair. And eat something. You look like a Blow Pop!”
I reluctantly took Eve’s advice and went next door for Chinese.
It was often mayhem in the small restaurant but tonight it was quiet – just a few students and a girl studying organic chemistry behind the counter. The smell was incredible though, and my stomach sprang to life. I ordered a big plate of Mu Shu Pork and chose the booth with the prettiest fake flowers.
Tired of myself, my eyes focused on the billowing red-and-gold Chinese dragon that hung from the ceiling.
“Pray about it.” Eve’s words rang in my head.
But He’s got a universe to run.
“Pray about it.”
So I did.
I didn’t feel any better though.
After shoving the letters into my backpack I reached for the crunchy golden fortune cookie on the table. I tore open the plastic wrapping and broke the cookie in two, eating the first bit while staring blankly at the water dripping from my ice tea glass. I pulled out the thin, white sheet of paper.
My breath stopped as my brain processed the message:
“YOU WOULD MAKE A GOOD LAWYER.”
I kept that fortune in my wallet for years. When I’d hit low moments in my career or find myself wondering if I made the right decision to become a lawyer, I’d take that fortune out. It was a reminder that – from on High – this is what I’m supposed to do.
Unfortunately, during our last move I “put it somewhere safe” and lost it. But I’m not worried. It’ll turn up again.
If I ever need it to.
And if you don’t believe this story, it’s a shame. You probably don’t believe in robot grandmas that can pour milk from their fingertips either. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ingj6sebzY