I’ve been the recipient of some tremendous fortune in my life. Mostly in fortune cookies. I still have the fortune that said, “You love Chinese food” (which was admittedly more of a safe bet than a fortune, per se). And I wish I had saved the one I got years ago at a little dive restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen in New York that said, “Double your pleasure; have sex with twins” (that one seemed more akin to advice than a prediction, but still).

The thing about fortune cookies is the news they deliver on a tiny piece of paper is always good, and it’s also usually vague, which is probably what contributes to it being so good — when there’s room for interpretation, the glass is automatically half full if it comes out of a cookie. And like the Chinese food that never quite stays with you because you always seem hungry two hours after eating it, the message in the fortune might very well come to fruition, but whoever remembers it after paying the check, grabbing a toothpick and a mint and leaving the restaurant?

Still, no matter how stuffed you are from the lo mein and moo-shu pork, you always have enough room for the fortune cookie, because it’s always great fun to imagine the future. (Although not as fun as it must be to invent the future. Fortune cookie writers and Hallmark writers must compete for the top spot on job-satisfaction surveys. They write the nouveau clichés that make the whole world feel the need to keep buying won ton soup and greeting cards. It’s God’s work, really.)

Horoscopes are also fun in a fortune-cookie-kind-of-way. Like lottery tickets, the chances are slim to none that anything will come of them, but it’s always entertaining to imagine otherwise for a split second. The information they provide is clearly nonsense, the number of possible explanations is vast, and yet, I felt a little robbed when it was announced last week that the astrological signs changed due to the moon’s gravitational pull on Earth, which screwed up the alignment of the stars to the tune of about a month.

I wasn’t upset because I read or believe my horoscope on any sort of regular basis, but given the amount of rotations I’ve taken around the sun, I’ve read enough of them to be annoyed to learn that I’ve actually been reading the wrong one all this time. And not just mine. Back in the day I spent a fair amount of time reading the horoscopes of boyfriends and select acquaintances and frenemies, too. What a waste (now on yet another level).

However, right before the new year I clicked somewhere online that delivered predictions for 2011, and I should have known then that something was amiss. I scanned the part about finances and health, and stopped when it got to my love life. It talked about how the coming year would not be the one in which I’d get serious with my soul mate, mostly because I’d be too busy having fun and “dating around” to strap on a ball and chain.

It wasn’t a link I chose to forward to my husband, particularly because I think he’s under the impression that I settled down when we met seven years ago and married two years after that. He’s not super-sensitive, but I could see how he might take that the wrong way regardless.

As it turns out, though, that was the horoscope for Taurus. And as of, like, last Thursday, I am now an Aries, according to astronomers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society. (By the way, someone must have verified their findings, right? I would think people who have their Zodiac signs tattooed somewhere on their bodies would like to know that more than one source has independently verified that they need to start saving for laser removal treatments.)

The fact of the matter is, I don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve consistently and proudly lived my life as a bull. Other than the past week, I’ve always believed — and been told — that I’m necessarily stubborn, inflexible, persistent, possessive, resentful and greedy. And now these Nanooks of the North want me to believe that’s not actually true? That I’m an Aries, and therefore energetic, enthusiastic, dynamic, confident, quick-witted and pioneering? I mean, who are we kidding? It doesn’t take an astrologer, astronomer, a psychic or a psycho to know that it’s total bull that I’m now a ram. Still, it makes me question my past and wonder what will become of my future.

Time to pass the fortune cookies.

More at meredithcarroll.com.

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