Donald Lau, chief fortune writer at Wonton Foods–the largest provider of fortune cookies, noodles, and other Chinese staples; after 30 years has writer’s block.
I used to write 100 a year, but I’ve only written two or three a month over the past year, Lau recently told “Time” magazine.
It happens to everyone sooner or later. Thirty years was a good run. Mr. Lau plans to step down–let someone else take over. Over the years, fortune cookie fortunes have changed. Twenty-first century fortunes lean more to new age philosophy.
According to a Time article, some diners have taken cookie fortunes way too seriously. The fortune cookie company was investigated in 2005, when 110 Powerball lottery players won about $19 million after using the “lucky number” on the back of fortunes. A jilted wife claimed to be the victim of her husband’s fortune promising him romance on his next business trip, and a satisfied customer wrote to say he got a new job after reading a fortune about a new opportunity coming his way.
I wondered if Mr. Lau was ever envious of writers in other genres? For example, greeting card writers. Greeting card authors, could at least fall back on terrible puns. Puns so terrible–they were cute. Have a “punny day,” “wasn’t that the punniest thing?” or other drivel, equally lame.
My personal favorite is alliteration. It’s almost an obsession. An awful affliction, and a struggle, to allow alliteration an amenable amelioration. But, that’s not the point. Mr. Lau kept it fresh, kept it real for thirty years. Few of us, myself above all, will ever do as well.
–Highlights from an original article, penned by Kristen Bahler, “Money Magazine Careers”–