A few years ago I was having dinner with my family at our favorite Hong Kong-style Chinese restaurant in Southern California, Sam Woo, and while slurping up the complimentary, post-meal orange wedges and unwrapping the fortune cookies from their bubble-boy existence, I thought it wise to have a little fun with the fortunes.
“Ok, everyone read their fortunes out loud and say ‘in bed’ at the end; It’ll be fun,” I said, knowing half the time it’s like a forced Mad Libs script that rarely works for the requisite poop and fart references. But sexual jokes with your cousins, grandparents, aunt and uncle? Who could resist?
Everyone went around reading their fortune, and there were some minor giggles and chuckles. Then it came my turn.
I had been struggling to open the damn plastic, but inside was the best–if not most ludicrous–fortune someone could add the words “in bed” to. With beet-embarrassed cheeks, I recited the following under a worried lilt in my voice and eyes locked on to the leftover rice bowl on the lazy Susan.
“Bend the rod while it is still hot… in bed.”
Well, you can imagine the laughter and noise that emanated from our round table in the middle of the restaurant. It was a fun moment, and it’s message had a carpe-diem vibe going. Seize the day. Get on with it. Get it on. Go with the ‘opportunities’ in your presence.
The joke works not only because of the words “rod,” “bend,” and “hot,” but also because of the obvious innuendo disassociated from the original message. A harmless coincidence at my expense that induced laughter-tears.
Despite the joke, the message from the fortune hasn’t totally been lost on me. I’ve been in thinking-about-it mode for way too long. So, I’m launching this thing from where things are right now. Will it be like an intense bright orange glow of metal being shaped? I doubt it, but try I must. Will there will be things worth noticing? Probably.
What’s that picture?
The image in this post is from our deck in Brooklyn. It’s a very nice accident that happened; It’s something we didn’t plant. It just showed up, blown in the wind and the seeds landed in this empty pot. It’s grown like a weed, but it’s leaves and flowers are a very pleasant thing to look at right now.
In the background you see a shed of our neighbor’s backyard. Open the door to that shed and there is a ladder that goes down some 25 feet in to a little bit of history of Brooklyn. It goes in to dug out ground.
Jack is a retired NYC fireman who used to be stationed near this neighborhood when it was a dangerous and poor area. He and another fireman were really interested in the history of these buildings, so they started digging in yards and found glass bottles (the only waste that remained from back in the day–the late 1800s). Lots of bottles. The NY Times did a great interactive piece about Jack (images/audio) last year. If you want to hear a true NY accent, Jack is as authentic as they come. I admire his tenacity with his hobby, and hope this site can have the same kind of vigor.
One last thing about Jack: He raised his kids in Long Island and when he retired from the fire department he moved to Boreum Hill in Brooklyn. Instead of going to Florida or somewhere else warm, Jack’s dream was to be able to dig for his treasure in an old brownstone. Smart man, too, because these buildings are worth a lot more than when he was a fireman in the 70s.
I dedicate this to Kerry and her constant, unflinching love and support.