I recall learning in some MBA management course that money does not motivate; only large sums of money motivate. (That might explain some of the problems with the US economy: highly paid executives are motivated to make even more, while average workers remain locked in a downward spiral.) I guess that the point they were trying to instill was that workers could not be driven with pennies; fear of losing one’s job works better.
That maxim may or may not be true in business, but it is true in everyday life. In Florida, I could not help noticing huge billboards on bleak stretches of the interstate announcing incremental increases in the Powerball jackpot. Once the sum passed $80 million, I asked myself: “Why not?” The chance of winning might be slim, but it is non-existent if one does not try. And, $1 is a reasonable price to pay for so many millions.
I did not win…
…which might not be a bad result. First, because it would mean avoiding another trip to Florida—Tallahassee, of all places—to present the winning ticket. And, on top of that, I would not have to figure out what to do with the bloody money. I enjoy a comfortable, simple life and have learned to get by with what we have. At this stage, I am not good with decisions and do not need complications…which a vast sum of money would cause. Some might claim that money means freedom, but that is not always true.( Or, the preceding sentences are just one big rationalization to hide my disappointment!)
There is a saying in German: Glück in der Lieb,; Pech im Spiel. (Happiness in love, no luck in gambling). I’ll take the former over the latter any day of this life. Still, that does not mean that money motivates me, on occasion, to try something foolish…
On a lark, we bought a Super Ball Lottery ticket at Publix. Not only did we not win, we did not have a single number!
Which brings me to my reason for writing: fortune cookies. Has anyone ever won the lottery using the lucky numbers you get on a fortune cookie? And, has anyone ever eaten a fortune cookie?
We had dinner last night at P.F. Chang, Number One Son's favorite restaurant (or is it Sushi Samba?). It might be considered "upscale" Asian, if not for the cheesy, plastic-wrapped fortune cookie tossed on the table at the end of the meal (or the clientele). I have had much better Asian food in dodgy family-owned joints. Overall, the quality at the hotel is much better. But, my wife liked it...
Service was indifferent, which spoiled the experience for me. I did not complain. Perhaps the attitude is fostered by the restaurant's popularity or by poor management skills. We asked for Chinese beer, and the waiter offered Kirin. When I explained that it was Japanese, he replied "Oh; yeah" and handed me a menu. The restaurant had Tsingtao on the menu, but had not bothered to train its staff. I'm sure that most customers do not know the difference. I ordered the brand, but did not attempt to make up for poor education and training.
Our first course arrived with the sweet & sour sauce for the crab won ton being dropped by the careless waiter, splattering across the table. The waiter did clean up the mess, but had to be reminded to replace sticky glasses of water. We were fortunate that none landed on our expensive clothes: we were the only patrons that had bothered to dress up for dinner. Main course pates of food were unceremoniously dumped onto the table. All tasted okay, but the place will not make my favorites list.
The only good fortune, not mentioned by the cookie, was that I turned right instead of left after leaving the restaurant. This took us a different route to the hotel and let us discovered a small gelato shop (Italian ice cream) that has the best we had enjoyed in years. If you are anywhere near Brickell, stop by Amore and try it. It's worth the trip.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.