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About once every 9 months I run into the same unnerving problem.  Granted, as problems go this is pretty minor.  But it absolutely drives me crazy.  Am I the one who’s nuts here?  Am I the one who doesn’t fit the norm? Or is this just one of the most absurd side effects of our modern world?

In today’s world there are a gazillion web sites that all consider themselves special enough that they want you to register for them.  That means you either get to pick your own username and password, or they assign you one.  Sometimes the user name is just your e-mail address and sometimes it is something you had to create based on a certain set of criteria that each site establishes on their own. In other words, as much has I’ve tried to come up with my own standardized method for selecting usernames and passwords that I will remember easily, I inevitably end up with a handful of mainstays and a few exceptions. I forget one occasionally.

So, when you click on their “forgot password” link to retrieve it electronically there’s  an entirely different set of security questions you have to answer before you get to the pot of gold…your password. Obviously I answered these questions a year or two ago when I registered for this site. This next part is what I think borders on idiotic.

Today, my first question was “Who was your favorite teacher?”  Fair enough.  I suppose everyone has one favorite teacher that comes to mind easily.  Nevertheless, I think it’s a sad commentary on education for the general population when that question is meant to elicit one quick, easy to recall answer. Just one, really? I actually have 3-4 awesome teachers in my past that came to mind. But I tried to put myself back into the mind of myself when I set up this particular account a year ago.  There’s one high school teacher that I’ve reunited with and meet for lunch occasionally.

I wrote her name. ENTER.

WRONG!

Oops!  Just her last name, not her first name.

BINGO!

The second security question is killing me. “What is your favorite book?”

Do normal people really have one favorite book which remains their favorite throughout the years? It seems to me that you’d have to be a stunted reader to answer that question the same from month to month and year to year. My favorite book is the last halfway decent book I read.

I can’t remember what my favorite book was a year ago when I set up this account!!!

Calm down….think… surely I selected a classic in order to avoid this problem (I’ve been in this bind before. Same web site I think) To Kill a Mockingbird? No. East of Eden? No.

Perhaps I went with the whimsical choice of Harry Potter? No, no I didn’t.

Maybe it was a year ago that I read The Kite Runner or Running With Scissors or The Brief Wondrous Life of Walter Wu or What is the What? No, no, no, no and no.

Ok, I’m a big non-fiction fan so let’s try, Guns, Germs and Steel? Nyet!

Surely I was smart enough that I selected something short…Hmmm… I can’t think of any short book titles. The Life of Pi? No.

Now I’m beyond even caring if I like the book or not I’m just entering any title that comes to mind.  I’m scouring my book shelf and entering those.  The problem is I’m a big fan of the library so some of the best books I’ve read have long since been returned.

Nei. Non. Nope. Nah.

And so I remain in this dilemma. I’m stuck on my internet cable provider’s web site unable to update my free anti virus software because I can’t think of a favorite book so I can get the password that I also can’t remember. Sure, I can call in and spend 90 minutes trying to reach a human being.  They’ll just ask me the same security questions.

I don’t have the time for this right now.  F^&* the virus protection.

I take it back. F^&* the developers who come up with these security questions. Perhaps their life is so dull that “What is your favorite book?” elicits an easy to recall answer from year to year, but I think they’re morons. There has to be a better way.  Why not something that isn’t likely to change but that still is known only to me?

What is the first name of the first person you kissed?

What was your first childhood pet’s name?

What is your secret drag queen name?

If you were a porn star what name would you adopt?

What’s your pet name for your genitals?

I still don’t know what my favorite book was a year ago.

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