The Fortune Cookie
Your mother has taken you out for Chinese food. No, not one of those authentic places where they have the stuff that they actually eat in China. Not a chance. Instead, she has taken you to a cheap, greasy, Americanized "Chinese" food buffet.
You stare in dismay at your plate filled with vegetables (if they could be even called that, anymore), wishing that you could find a "vegetable" in this place that wasn't fried in probably two-week-old oil. Isn't that stuff supposed to be changed daily? Probably not. But it's a nice thought, knowing that your food comes from somewhere that has sanitary substances to cook it in. You fill up the rest of your plate with the healthiest-looking stuff you can find (which isn't much).
You return to your table, and sit down across from your mother. You know she means well, but you would have by far preferred going to an Olive Garden or something. That would be, at least in your mind, better than hopping onto the Heart Attack Express, hoping you don't stop to pick up some clogged arteries on the way. You hear they have a special discount for people who eat at restaurants like this.
finished your food, and don't feel like going back for more. The waitress walks
over with your check along with the one thing you look forward to at these
places: fortune cookies. You are aware that they are so Americanized that they
were made in America in the first place, but they are delicious. Or, at least, you
think they are. You're pretty sure that you're relatively alone in that
You crack open your cookie with a satisfying snap; it breaks into two perfect halves. This is a beautiful and rare thing; a miracle. You think you must be favored by the god of fortune cookies to receive such a blessing.
It has always been a tradition for you to read the blue-inked paper before indulging in the strangely delicious goodness that is the fortune cookie itself. You unfold the paper. The print is ridiculously small and covers the entire paper. It takes you a minute to realize what you're looking at.
01101000 01100001 01101000 01100001 00100000 01101101 01100001 01100100 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101100 01101111 01101111 01101011 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100000 01110101 01110000
It looks like binary code to you. You wonder what the Hell it means. You pull your smartphone out of your pocket and quickly type into Google:
"binary to text translator"
You don't realize your mother has paid for the check and is telling you to get off your phone so you both can leave; she tugs on the sleeve of your shirt, getting your attention. You stand up, stuffing your phone and the small scrap of paper back in your pocket.
You and your mother leave. On the drive home, it doesn't take you long to realize that typing all these stupid 1s and 0s on your tiny smartphone screen is far too tedious and will take far too long. You decide to wait until you get home so you can use your laptop- not that you're particularly looking forward to that.
You also realize that you forgot to eat your absolutely delectable fortune cookie. God dammit!
You're home. You walk up to your room, trying to look casual- like you didn't just get a fortune straight out of The Matrix. Not to mention you forgot to eat the damn cookie. You think your face must look like the :/ emoticon; you are very disappointed in yourself. Okay, well, not very disappointed, just- Who are you kidding? You're practically addicted to fortune cookies. You are absolutely inconsolable.
Now in your room, you reach under your bed and pull out your trusty laptop. It's practically from the Cenozoic era. But, with a whopping 215 megabytes of RAM, a swift and speedy Pentium 233-megahertz processor, a 50 gigabyte hard drive (more than you'll ever need!), and Windows XP Professional, it does what you need it to… Right? Nope! Not even close. You've been begging for a new laptop for years. You just need "one with Windows 7. Please! XP Doesn’t even get updates anymore!" You'll "even settle for one with… *shudders* …Vista."
You've considered "dropping" it down the stairs, but that probably wouldn't work. This thing's built like an old Nokia phone: it's practically indestructible. Even if it did work, and the laptop broke, you'd probably just be completely computer-less. Your mom's not going to buy you a new laptop!
After the traditional twenty-minute wait for the prehistoric computer to power up and be actually "able" to "do" things, you open your worst enemy: Internet Explorer (your computer won't support anything else).
Or, at least, you try to.
Your computer is emitting a shrill whining sound from the strain of this infinitely complex task, just like you do when you're asked to do your own laundry. You and your laptop are very much alike in some ways.
Finally, five minutes later, the old piece of junk trying to pass for a laptop gasps and coughs (the fans flare up and spit out several dust bunnies), and… It's open! You sit there, glaring at Internet Explorer. It just looks so smug. Like it knows that it is the worst browser ever created, but yet it is still used and favored by many, many people.
You like to believe that the executives at Microsoft weren't in their right minds when they approved Internet Explorer. It's not their fault! They all just had one collective stroke, causing them to not realize what in the actual, ever living Hell they were doing.
You break off that train of thought before you get too angry.
You re-type the search from earlier:
"binary to text translator"
You wait several minutes for the search results to load. You think that you must be the last person in the world to still be using dial-up internet. In your defense, a dial-up connection is all your computer can handle. Finally, it loads. You click on the first result, a website called Binary Translator. You then proceed to wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more. Still waiting? Yep.
You hit your computer in frustration, causing it to suddenly shut down. God fucking DAMMIT!
Your mother yells at you from downstairs to watch your language.
Seething with rage at your computer, you power it on again and wait. After another good forty-five minutes, you finally get to the screen you were at before. You begin to type in the 1s and 0s, and you have a thought: what if these numbers don't mean anything? What if some douche in wherever these things are made was snickering and laughing to himself, typing some nonsense numbers to trick you into doing exactly this.
Well, you're already halfway done, so you might as well finish, just to make sure. You finish and click "translate" button… and wait. You don't dare even consider hitting your computer this time.
A good two minutes later, the translated code pops up on your screen. You decide right then and there that you never want to see another fortune cookie as long as you live, because you just got owned.
"haha made you look it up"
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