Jewish World Review April 14, 2014 / 14 Nissan, 5774
Password security questions are the story of my life
By Mark Patinkin
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Hello - is this tech support?"
"Um - that's not why I'm calling."
That works for most people.
"No - I've been locked out of your site."
"What do you think - I forgot my password."
No need to take a tone, sir. Why didn't you write it down?
"I thought I'd remember it."
No one does. I'm afraid you'll have to come up with a new one.
"How about 'password'? Or 123456?"
Those are pathetic, sir. It needs to be alpha-numeric. And no less than 9 case-sensitive characters with at least 2 upper case, 3 lower case, 2 numerical and 2 of those weird special things like #&@ that used to signify cuss-words in the Sunday comics. And no characters from any other password you've ever used in your life. Plus, it'll expire in one week.
It's for your safety. But first we need to verify you're the person I'm talking to.
"I suppose you want my social, phone and address."
Are you crazy? Anyone can look those up. You have to answer your security questions.
"I forget what they are."
I have them here, sir. If you get any one of them right, I can then help you.
"That should be easy. Go ahead."
Who was your first kiss and where did it happen?
"Where do you guys come up with those, anyway?"
Please just answer the question.
"I kissed Karen Goetz in Adrian Anderson's basement during a girl-boy party."
Sorry, that's wrong.
"No - that's exactly what I wrote down on your site."
Our sources tell us your first kiss was with Leslie Starr at Camp Mohawk.
"I distinctly remember it was Karen Goetz because Gary Swerdlow came up to me afterwards and kept saying, 'Whatever Karen wants Karen Goetz ...' Plus - I definitely wrote that down."
Our sources tell us it was Leslie Starr so I can't okay that answer. Next question: Who was your childhood hero?
"Napoleon Solo from 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.'"
Our research into your life says different.
"But my security answer on your site was absolutely Napoleon Solo."
For your safety, sir, the answer has to accurately reflect the truth, and we show your hero was James Bond.
"I mean, yeah, but Napoleon Solo even more. Even now, when I'm in a tailor shop dressing room, I try to turn the hook to see if it'll lead me into U.N.C.L.E. headquarters."
We understand you wanted to be James Bond so badly, you had your parents get you a shoulder holster for a toy Beretta instead of cowboy holsters. And you'd point it at friends before finishing them off and say, "That's a Smith and Wesson and you've had your six."
"But I wrote down Napoleon …"
We're in the security business, sir. Your answers have to be accurate. Next question: What is your preferred musical genre?
Quit trying to be cool. Our research says it's classic rock.
"I like them both. But in high school, yeah, the coolest music was the Supremes, Smokey Robinson …"
You like classic rock more, and you know it. So quit being a poseur. One more chance: What was your dream job as a child?
"I know for sure I wrote down photographer. I even had a darkroom in my basement and …"
"What's wrong about it?"
Your dream job was to play second base for the White Sox so you could be like Nellie Fox.
"Well, I mean, both really, but I wrote down …"
Our sources tell us you were more obsessed with Nellie Fox. You even walked around with eight pieces of bubblegum in your cheek because that's what Fox did with chewing tobacco.
Am I right that you're most inspiring moment as a kid was when you were shouting Fox's name from a front row seat and he spit in your general direction?
"I do remember that."
That makes your final answer wrong. Sorry sir, we can no longer help you reset your password. But be assured our goal in the online business is to make your life easy. Have a great day and thank you for calling.
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Mark Patinkin is a columnist with The Providence Journal.
© 2010, The Providence Journal Co.