Around this time last year my girlfriend's mom went to a fortune teller in Korea, we'll call him Frank. For some reason he's quite famous because he's blind, or maybe because he was a monk ... or was he a blind monk? I asked my girlfriend about this just now for clarification, but she doesn't remember either. However she claims there aren't any blind monks in Asia, especially after that whole fiasco with the Master of the Flying Guillotine.
Frank was recommended on account of his disturbing accuracy when it came to telling your future. You gave him your birthday, including the year and time you were born; and Frank gave you both a general fortune cookie-type prediction ("You're going to live a long life full of sighs, empty promises, and genital warts.") and a forecast for the upcoming year ("Stay away from canned meats.").
My girlfriend's mom gave Frank my birthday information, and I got a great fortune - no genital warts for this guy! For the new lunar year, the year of the rat, he told me it was an ideal time to start whatever it was I'd contemplated starting. At the time I'd been thinking about two things: starting my own business or writing a screenplay.
Yes, I know all about fortunes coming true as a result of self-fulfilling prophecies, or people falling for fortunes that are just vague enough to be true for anybody. But for a cynical, agnostic person like myself, I'm pretty damn superstitious. It got even stronger with my sister's illness back in '02, and it's been an ongoing story ever since.
So I came this close to starting a fast food chain with my cousin over the summer. He's got a restaurant that serves the teriyaki version of heroin. No joke. People drive as far as 15 miles for it, only to wait in a long line that snakes out the door. He had this ridiculous notion that I could open my own joint using his teriyaki recipe, and eventually help turn it into a franchise. I thought about what the fortune teller said and went for it.
But as we were scouting locations, I realized that I'd have to give up my career for something that was potentially more lucrative, but ultimately more life-consuming. And in the end I decided if I was going to do something that devoured the vast majority of my waking hours, I'd rather be doing something creative. As long as I'm still able to financially help out my family, it should never be about the money. And I keep repeating this to myself a lot.
Yesterday, as the year of the monkey rapidly approached, I started writing two screenplays. Simultaneously. Lord knows where I go from here, but at least I beat the fortune teller's deadline.