Tonight I got back from my final trip of the summer, to Virginia (to see friends), Maryland (to see more friends) and Pennsylvania (to see family).

The main event was a pig roast, held last night at the Mole’s secret mountain hideaway. The pig was excellent and Mole’s girlfriend made the best pasta salad I’ve ever had. Hopefully, both kept well in the cooler on the way home. Question: if a dog eats the eyeball of a roasted pig, does it absorb the pig’s soul? Is it doomed to possession by the pig?

Anyhow, the night before the pig roast, I visited my brother and his girlfriend up in a quaint little town called Wernersville, Pennsylvania. It’s near Reading, of “Monopoly” railroad fame. The typical thirty-minute discussion about where to eat dinner was averted when the girlfriend suggested a local teppan-yaki called The Panda House. It was an odd name for the place, considering that pandas are usually associated with China, not Japan. Turns out the place was “pan-Asian.”

The dinner was good. The ovens were ridiculously hot—that sounds obvious, but normally I don’t break a sweat simply from sitting near the stove, even at full blaze. The chefs weren’t very good at the tricks: our chef tried throwing pieces of chopped vegetables into our mouths, but only connected once out of maybe twenty attempts. The next chef over tried the spinning-egg-on-spatula trick, but dropped five in a row before giving up. The last one bounced off the table near a toddler in a booster seat, barely missing getting egg white and yolk on her, but splashing a man at the next table over.

Aside from the poorly executed tricks and the loud, wasted couple at the opposite end of the table (he looked like a boy-band wannabe and earned the nickname “K-Fed”; she belonged in an eating disorder PSA), dinner was uneventful. My filet mignon and scallops were cooked just right, and we were served noodles in addition to the fried rice. There was a teensy bit too much sauce on the meats, but it didn’t really detract from the meal.

After dinner, a waiter gave each of us two orange slices and two fortune cookies. Comparing fortunes has always been one of the most entertaining portions of the Chinese dining experience, so it stands to reason that it would be just as enjoyable after eating Japanese teppan-yaki.

My favorite fortune of all time was bestowed upon my alien-energy-form-posing-as-human friend Robert: “It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.” Add the words “in bed” to the end (any clue which comedian came up with that idea?) and it belongs in the Hall of Great Fortunes. I hope to one day crack open a cookie and find a fortune even half that good.

Alas, this was not that day. I opened the first cookie and was greatly disturbed by what I read:

“Moo Shu Cereal” for breakfast with duck sauce.

I thought there was a mistake. Surely, this could not be what the Fates had in store for me; it had to have been a misprint. This was not useful, or optimistic, or forboding, or anything—there wasn’t even a verb. What did it mean?

I moved on to the next cookie, hoping that the first one was a mistake. I cracked the second cookie:

Did you remember to order your take out also?

My God–I didn’t. In fact, there was no food left on my plate for a to-go box. What evil doth this omen portend?

If I am indeed doomed, know that I truly did tolerate most of you. I hereby leave the remnants of roast pig and pasta salad to my family’s dogs.

One Response to “Misfortune.”

  1. twink Says:
    August 7th, 2007 at 8:03 PMI call the pasta.