|Recent Encounters With Fortune
I ate Chinese last night. At the end of the meal I broke open the fortune cookie and
read the fortune inside: "A great fortune depends on luck, a small one on diligence."
It made little sense to me. But I kept it because I wanted to make sense of it later.
I put it into my coat pocket, which has a hole in it that allows me to store things in
the lining. I felt it would be safe there.
* * *
At work, I transcribed the following news segment...
LYNN JIMENEZ reporting:
Xilinx of San Jose snatched the number-six spot on
Fortune's 100 best workplace list, because it avoided
layoffs and turned a profit last year. At the Pacific
Exchange, that's 'Your Money' on KGO.
Out of curiosity I went to Fortune's website to look at their list of 100 best workplaces. Instead I found their Fortune 100 list for 2001. Enron was #7. This list is different than the best workplaces list. As far as I can tell, the Fortune 100 is based on how much money the companies made last year, and that's it. At $100,789,000, Enron made the seventh most amount of money in the U.S. in 2001. Above them were Citigroup, General Electric, Ford Motor, General Motors, Wal-Mart Stores and Exxon-Mobile at #1.
* * *
The other night I began reading the book Islam for Beginners. I read about Manat, the goddess "who controlled human fortune," and who was one of the oldest deities brought to the Ka'aba (the structure enclosing the Black Stone) in Mecca. Manat was a pre-Islamic goddess many Meccans revered. According to the book, over 360 deities were worshiped at the Ka'aba, and most of them were female. Apparently the pre-Islamic Meccans were very into godesses. On the Black Stone itself was the emblem of the 'yoni,' or 'pussy' in modern terms. Barbara Walker says in her book The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets the Ka'aba in Mecca is now "regarded as the holy center of patriarchal Islam, and its feminine symbolism has been lost, though priests of the Ka'aba are still known as Sons of the Old Woman."
* * *
A girl is handing out flyers in front of the psychic advisor place on 24th Street in the Mission. I don't take one but wonder what they could tell me inside. Do they read palms, have a crystal ball or use tarot cards? I look inside as I pass and want to go in for some reason. I guess because I want to know what's going to happen to me. But it's a scam, right? I remember a conversation I had with a friend who told me those places are all run by gypsies looking to rip you off. In return for $20, they tell you that they see great fortune or tremendous heartache in your future. I wonder if that girl who handed me a flyer is a gypsy. I'm intrigued.
* * *
I put on my coat, the one with the hole in the pocket, and half way down the street on my way to the Phone Booth I pull out the fortune. I had forgotten about it. I read it again: "A great fortune depends on luck, a small one on diligence." I'm never going to win the lottery, I think to myself, but I was able to write this article, which required some applied perseverance.
by Brian Weaver
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