Tuesday 31st January 2012
We'd just been watching an episode of the Twilight Zone, where a young William Shatner believed he was getting his fortune told by a novelty napkin holder in a cafe. The device had a smiling devil's head atop it and when Captain Kirk put in a penny asked a question and then a card would pop out with a vague answer like "that seems likely" or "That's a strong possibility". Each time the answer could be interpreted as being correct and a couple of coincidences convinced TJ Hooker that the device had access to the future. His young girlfriend was less convinced. The superstitious Shatner was in the thrall of the machine, prepared to let his life be run by its answers. I won't tell you what happened next because I wouldn't want to give out spoilers and you've only had half a century to watch this episode.
But then our Chinese takeaway arrived from a restaurant that might have been named by Benny Hill or someone from my primary school in 1975 the Chang Cheng. We've used this place a few times recently and the food is good and the delivery very quick (probably only useful to you if you live within three miles of Acton, but they might have other branches), but spookily for the first time, today's order was accompanied by a bag of fortune cookies. Coincidence? I don't think William Shatner would think so. He would be freaked out.
I decided to put the Shatner Theory to the test and before opening each of my three cookies (they had sent 5, suggesting that they were generous, or that they assumed our largish order of food had been enough for a whole family). I asked my cookie, "Will me and my girlfriend be together forever?" This was a momentous moment and I was going to base my future on what the biscuit told me. I should never put my trust in a biscuit, just I should never put my trust in an actress, but they are so persuasive and tempting. And taking a punt on the advice of a biscuit is probably as efficient as any other method. Plus, whatever it decides, you get to eat a biscuit afterwards, which will make the decision easier. Maybe I should get a massive store of these cookies and live my life based on their advice. Though it might not be so good for my diet.
I know you're waiting to find out what the biscuit had to say. I am deliberately adding tension by postponing the reveal. Will we be together forever?
The biscuit spoke, (though not literally alas, or I would have been more convinced by its powers) "Keep Cool and Keep Smiling". What kind of answer was that? That told us nothing.
Or did it? Perhaps the biscuit was wiser than I imagined. It wasn't just a yes or no answer, it was proper advise on how we could make this thing work forever. If I keep cool and keep smiling, it will work. if I lose my cool and ever let my smile drop the thing will end. Fuck, that's quite a big ask. Being cool is hard enough (especially for me), but to never stop smiling. Won't that look weird? And a bit creepy. What is she tells me all her relatives have been killed in a bus crash and I just remain cool and keep smiling? Will she still stay with me?
Like William Shatner I realised that this kind of paranormal life advice creates more questions that answers. "Can you advise me further?" I asked the next delicious and prescient treat. "Listen to your intuition, it will help you."
I wasn't sure that these biscuits even really wanted to help me. It's like they were annoyed with the questions and trying to get me to look elsewhere for assistance. I can listen to my own intuition without paying the exorbitant fees for cookie based counsel. If my intuition was any good then I wouldn't need to turn to a biscuit for life schooling would I?
I gave it one more try, "Can you be more specific?" The third and last biscuit certainly took me at my word, returning with an unexpected "British Telecom has made a mistake. You will get a rebate." Given these cookies had clearly come from China then that was amazingly precise. It's not exactly the answer to the question I asked. And some people on Twitter told me that British Telecom no longer exists - but that doesn't mean they, or their future incarnations can not give me a rebate from a mistake made some time ago. Perhaps it will be the most interesting thing that happens in our relationship. Maybe when it happens we will know from our reactions if we are meant to be together. Perhaps my girlfriend is just waiting for that day and then will run off with that rebate, having made herself a cool £35 for only four or so years outlay. It's good to see a definite prediction though, (and spookily I have always had my phone line with BT - how could the biscuit know that?) when some critics might say the sayings are just vague and generic. If I get the rebate (at any time in my life) then we will know that biscuits are magic. If not then we will know that they aren't. I will keep you posted.
I don't know what my girlfriend asked her cookies - she just seemed to open them up and eat them without even considering what she wanted to know, but she might have been asking the questions in her mind. One of hers read "You will have good luck and overcome many hardships". Which implies to me that my supposition that she's only with me for my British Telecom rebate is likely to be true.
She will certainly have to overcome some hardships if she's going to stay with me. So maybe the biscuits gave us a glimpse of what the future holds for us. A biscuit never responds directly, but if you use your intuition then maybe you will see what it was trying to tell you. Listen to your biscuits, folks.
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