Nicholas Kaplan: Light Through Origami

We see the hunched-over back of a young man at a desk, working something into the paper in front of him. Not writing, but folding, bending, and creasing instead.

A glimpse over his shoulder reveals that his project is one of those origami fortune teller things you remember from grade school. But it’s not a normal one – there’s writing on the inside that seems to change every time he opens and closes it.

He opens the flap.

Nicholas Kaplan. 2004. Grade 8/9. Northern Virginia.

The boy, whom we can only assume is Nicholas because he looks 13 or 14, must be in the eighth or ninth grade. Apparently, he lives in Northern Virginia as well. After several seconds, he closes his fortune teller, moves it, and counts to nine changes before he opens it again.

Origami. Cooking. YouTube: Kaplan Kafe. Harry Potter.

We realize that this next set of words is Nicholas’s hobbies. Origami – well obviously, we’re reading this off an origami fortune teller – and cooking seem simple enough. We smirk at the inclusion of “YouTube,” and “Kaplan Kafe” throws us for a loop for a couple seconds until we realize that it must be the name of his YouTube channel.

Nicholas goes back and forth nine times and opens the fortune teller again.

Tennis. Cycling. Hamilton. Les Miserables.

Two of these are unlike the others – the first two are sports and the second two are Broadway musicals, which is slightly confusing, but we’re only here to watch. We can go whichever way Nicholas takes us, which currently seems to be sports and musicals. He pauses for a couple seconds and changes it nine more times.

Virginia Technical. Yale. Engineering.

We do a double take. Colleges? But he’s too young! Didn’t it already say he was in eighth or ninth grade? But obviously these must be his interests to pursue in the future. Some kind of engineering at Virginia Tech or Yale makes sense. Since Yale is more anchored towards the liberal arts spectrum, Virginia Tech seems more likely for an engineering major and even more so since we already know he lives in Northern Virginia.

Back and forth, back and forth. Seven more times.

Biology. English 2. Geometry. Geography.

These are classes, obviously, that Nicholas is taking through TPS. Biology must be his favorite as the first of the list, and English 2 must not be far behind to warrant the second slot in the four-place list.

Nine more changes to the fortune teller reveal more snippets about Nicholas.

ENFJ-A. Genesis 1:1. John 1.

The first item in this short list follows the template of an MBTI personality, which must be Nicholas’s personality type: very extroverted, forward, and confident. Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”) must be his favorite Bible verse, and John 1 (“In the beginning was the Word…”) his favorite chapter.

Nicholas unfolds the paper and flattens it out. He stands up, heads towards the doorway, and exits the room, leaving the light switch up. This leaves enough room for us to glimpse what is written on the paper: not small sets of words, but rather a large quote in beautiful typography.

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”


  1. Yo nice article x) @Gabriel @Nick

  2. Only a simple fortune teller? If I were to actually do something like this, I would make a thirty side figure and put one of those faces per side, lol