F-cookies for everyone.

Way before I heard of that lame “in bed” joke about fortune cookies, I had “f-cookies.”

Pronounced “fuh-cookies”. One word.

Back in ninth or tenth grade, when I was taking programming with the awesome and hilarious storyteller Alex, [dred-]locked Maurice, and Dan-the-Man, when life was simple and life was Turbo Pascal, when coding was about goofily writing unmaintainable code in as many languages as we knew, when Alex was allowed to dominate the class for half a period during coding time to have us giggling too hard to be able to see the monitors…

… back then we had f-cookies.

The assignment was simple: write a fortune cookie generator using fortunes you put in a text file and spit out randomly using a Pascal program of our creation.

So we partnered up; Alex and Maurice always partnered up unless told otherwise by Ms. G-B. They were the sort that no one else really wanted to work with, in part because you’d end up doing all the coding, and in part because they were too funny a duo to break up.

Anyway, most folks (myself included) wrote lame, general fortunes. “You shall have peace and prosperity,” and all that bullshit. Dan-the-Man may have done his in Spanish, since he was cool like that. Alex and Maurice, of course, wrote the most amazingly funny fortune cookies. (Notice there are only four people in this class? Ha. There were really 20 or more.)

I don’t think I remember a single one of their fortunes, but we had here two grinding (as in rails) skater-types who talked incessantly of the latest tricks they’d learned and who had a willingness to playfully offend any group, but the boyish charm to be excused of all their crimes (even of calling our Jewish teacher a Nazi… whoo, that was a tense moment).

I remember they had some hilarious pseudo-ASCII-art header for their program that proclaimed the awesomeness of F-Cookies (which was just the name of the text file their cookies were stored in) and a warning against those easily offended. Then came the offensive prompt, undoubtedly with a Mr. T reference thrown in for good measure.

I remember screaming and laughing and begging them to stop and shut up and giggling until I was coughing and having trouble breathing and sitting on the floor because I’d missed my chair when I ran out of air and fell. Even Mrs. G-B was laughing. Then, of course, I giggled more in that high-pitched giggle that will cause a room of strangers to look and see who’s having all that fun. I don’t know that that programming group (we all took two to four years of programming together) ever became immune to my giggle.

We were a team until junior year when Maurice decided not to take AP computer science and forest-for-legs-Shawn graduated. Alex is wonderful in and of himself, but the Alex-Maurice team was unbeatable and I let myself become more secluded with IB work in programming that year.

But these fortunes were things that any sane, mature person would find ridiculous and infantile. They were absurd and insulting and wished upon people sexually-transmitted diseases from goats and deformed children (although not necessarily both). It was like those anti-motivational posters and slogans on crack. They were wonderful.

My roomie-across-the-hall Mr. J.T. departed Rose this past week for a school in Rhode Island. In his stead he left with me a love of Pocky and with the Thorn a huge bag of fortune cookies. I can’t read “You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily,” and attach “in bed”. I think of skaters and grinding and multilingual f-cookies and Alex’s wonderful Bible stories for non-believers and those that somehow didn’t manage to learn quite his rendition of the events in the Bible in Sunday school. He could take a dry story and—while actually staying true to the story and avoiding the atheist rabble-rousing we were all prone to—have you laid out on the floor in stitches by his retelling.

Damn Mr. J.T. and his fortune cookies. So many memories…