My cookie’s got some splainin’ to do!

Keep your courage up and it will keep you up.

That’s the fortune I got out of a cookie at lunch today.  It’s a curious fortune.  It definitely falls into the category of modern day fortunes that don’t actually give you any kind of fortune at all.   (“A wise man speaks seldom,” is not a fortune.)

But more than failing to foretell my future, this one just doesn’t make sense.  If I stay courageous, I’ll be an insomniac (which, of course, fits with the idea of adding ‘in bed’ at the end of every fortune¹)? Courage increases buoyancy?  Makes you happy?  Makes you high?

I like some of the possibilities, but I really need some clarification!


¹  Hmm … maybe I should take my cue from Alejna and read this fortune correctly: Keep your courage up and it will keep you up in my pants.  Now we might be getting somewhere!


6 thoughts on “My cookie’s got some splainin’ to do!

  1. molly

    They probably meant “God helps those who help themselves.” The person who wrote it willfully ignored, or did not know, that the phrasal verb “keep…up” most often means “do not allow to sleep” (with an animate object — keep their parents up all night), or, when the verb is not divided from the particle, “continue” (with an object that is an activity — keep up the good work), It does not usually mean “keep in a high position”. (except when followed by “in my pants”, of course). Even “keep your courage up” is a bit odd in English.
    Do you suppose that the fortunes used to be written by native speakers of the target language, but with the internationalization of English, they are now being outsourced (or if the cookie company is Chinese, being produced locally).
    How would you re-write it? “Give your courage the help it needs and it will give you the help you need” (too long) “Help your courage and it will help you” (too similar to the Bible) “Support your courage and it will support you” (sounds like the military).
    Maybe the idea is just stupid.
    I agree with you. I prefer fortunes such as “strange dreams will bring you great happiness.”


    1. I’m not sure I could rewrite this one. I was thinking it was trying to tell me something like, “Have faith, be strong, and everything will be ok.” Something like that. I would love to meet the people who write these. Maybe that can be a future part time job for me!


  2. molly

    Pondering this, as I get ready to leave the house, it occurs to me that if I try to keep up my courage about some issues, I might not sleep at night, which at my age is not a good thing. Better to be a well-slept coward, as I am today.


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