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July 20 is National Fortune Cookie Day. I know I know, this holiday is a bit obscure. Okay, it’s a lot obscure, but who doesn’t love snapping open one of these Asian sweet goodies and finding out what your fortune is? At least if the little strip of paper inside tells you that you are ugly and stink like a goat, you still can enjoy the cookie, right?

Fortune telling has been around for centuries. Whether it’s through palm reading, tea leaves, Ouija boards, horoscopes, Magic 8 Balls, or even the simple fortune cookie, just about everyone is curious about what the future holds, whether it be riches or ruin. It’s just the way we are.

It always amazes me that some people will keep a particularly favorable fortune cookie message tucked safely away in a wallet or billfold as if it were ever lost or discarded, the good thing wouldn’t happen. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I would label this as mildly weird behavior, wouldn’t you?

There are other methods of divining the future that tip the scales and are simply bizarre. Here are a few:


Geloscopy is listening to hysterical laughter and sometimes animal noises to predict the future. Here is what I think this means. I know that if I laugh too hard while drinking milk, it will most likely come out of my nose. Or if I keep a belly laugh going for too long, I might wet my pants. It’s predictable. Hmmm…there might be something to this one.



Felidomancy is predicting the future by observing cat behavior. Well, duh. It’s an offshoot category of zoomancy, which you may think is what we all did online to communicate during covid, but rather watching the behavior of all animals to predict the future. Everyone knows that when a black cat crosses your path you are in for a ton of bad luck. And, if a grizzly bear charges at you, it’s not your lucky day. But did you know that when a cat sneezes, it means that it is going to rain?


If you are an animal lover you are not going to like this one. It involves cutting open a recently dead (usually sacrificed) critter and looking for symbols in its guts., specifically, the intestines. EEW! I stepped on a bug yesterday and its guts squirted out. Eureka! I knew there would be one less insect to chomp down on the beautiful island flora around our house, but I didn’t stick around to look for money icons or any other symbols the yellow goo. I’d rather not know. Again, EEW!

Head Bumps

Many folks claim that studying the bumps on a person’s head (phrenology) can predict a person’s future as well as accurately identify personality traits. It’s considered a pseudo-science today, but reading head bumps was all the rage during the 1800s both in Britain and the United States. If it included head and neck massages, I’d sign up.

Dream Lovin’

For thousands of years dream interpretation has been a tool used to predict the future. There are tons of books, seminars, movies, and self-help gurus that promote the predictive power of our dreams. For example, if you dream about walnuts, supposedly financial run is in your future. If you dream of salmon, deer, and cows a lot, then you’ll be wealthy. Or, maybe you just like walnuts and a steak. .

All of this is fascinating and entertaining, but you don’t have to see a fortune teller, gastrologist, phrenologist, or dream interpreter to make predictions about your future. Anyone, including myself, can do it. If you want to know if anything good or terrible might happen to you, such as meeting a tall, dark, and gorgeous stranger or winning the jackpot, the answer is always yes, it could happen. If you want to know whether these things will absolutely happen to you, well, the future is always unknown. But, in honor of National Fortune Cookie Day, I’m going to split open and eat several fortune cookies. I love them. And, you never know when the message inside will be spot on. It is all up to you. Your destiny is always in your hands, and perhaps, just possibly, in the cookie. Mmm, mmm, good!


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This work by Anel “Pookie” Ryan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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