Don’t you hate answering those internet “password hint” security questions?
Actually, you probably don’t. You probably think they’re easy.
But I always find myself second guessing. For instance:
Who was your favorite teacher?
I can’t decide on just one, so I know I won’t remember which one I put down for my answer. Was it the 8th grade English teacher who taught me to write, always had a perfect manicure, and narrowly missed being killed by a hit man? (Her husband hired a gunman with bad aim.)
Or was my favorite the kindergarten teacher who taught me everything I know about snack time and Elmer’s Glue? You can’t help but make an impact when you give out graham crackers.
What street did you live on growing up?
It’s an avenue, not a street, so I never trust that my answer will fly. Also, growing up when? Aren’t we always growing up? Ah, life, it’s such a journey.
What was the name of your first pet?
My first pet was a set of gerbils I accidentally killed before I got to name them. It really was an accident. I was trying too hard to make them enjoy their water bottle. I was all, “Drink, drink!” It was kind of like a college fraternity hazing. Or water boarding. Didn’t end well.
What is your mother’s maiden name?
Anyone can look up my mother’s maiden name. That one’s dumb. Why not ask her high school nickname? My mother wasn’t a slut, so it isn’t something easy to guess, like “Hot Lips”, or “Slut.”
What was the name of your best childhood friend?
Well, if that isn’t a can of worms.
Again, I’m supposed to have just one? Childhood is all about switching best friends. And adulthood is about wondering why you picked those friends, and whether they even deserve to be the answer to a stupid password hint.
If I narrow it down, there are two main choices, and neither is a real winner.
Beth, my best friend in 5th grade, dropped me in 6th.
We’d had some good times: making up a secret dork language…rollerskating in terrycloth jumpsuits… peeking into the “Pet Cock” and “Pet Pussy” boxes at the novelty shop in Times Square…lowering a bucket from her apartment’s 2nd floor window with dirty notes in it for passersby (I think the notes just said “cock” or “pussy.” No one bit.)
But all that fun doesn’t make up for the fact that she dumped me for a new best friend who was also named Beth, so they could be “Beth Squared”, and elected to take French precisely because I’d chosen Spanish. Screw her, she doesn’t get to be my security answer.
Then there’s my first best friend, Paul.
He’d be the natural answer, because you never forget your first. But here’s what I can’t forget about Paul:
He alternately convinced me that he was Superman and Jesus Christ. Sometimes it was one, sometimes the other, sometimes both alter egos rolled into one — which I now realize was a pretty sophisticated concept.
As Jesus, he told me I was going to go to hell, where I’d get in trouble for being Jewish and not Catholic. Once you’re in hell, I don’t think you worry about “getting in trouble”, but I wasn’t smart enough to make that point. I wasn’t even smart enough to say, “Dude, I don’t think you’re Jesus.”
As Superman, Paul informed me that every night, while I slept, he used a key to unlock my bellybutton, climbed in, and controlled my dreams. I must have missed that episode of Superman.
When Paul wasn’t being Jesus or Superman, he ran around our kindergarten classroom with his penis out, yelling, “Chicken noodle soup!”
And, at his 6-year-old school birthday party, his tooth came out in his cupcake. I saw a bunch of other junk come out of his mouth — probably cupcake and blood — and asked, “what is that stuff?” The friend next to me said, “that’s his gums.”
Other nuggets about Paul: his mother always wore a wide, stretchy headband; his sister walked funny and plied even funnier — she was in my sister’s ballet class; and his family’s Christmas tree was the Charlie Brown kind: a sad mini-tree. Which is what some Jews get when they can’t resist Christmas, but they call it a “Chanukah bush.” Come to think of it, Paul’s dad was Jewish, which means they’ll all be getting in trouble when they go to hell.
And that’s the answer to my security question. Can I retrieve my password?
Your turn. Which security questions always stump you? And are you afraid, like I am, that they’ll turn out to be case sensitive? Did you have bad taste in best friends? Did they ruin chicken noodle soup for you? Tell me in the comments.
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This is too funny Laura!
I saw this crazy movie years ago about a serial murder that studied his victims and by the nature of their predictability could guess all their passwords.
So thanks to him, I now get real creative with them.
And when it comes to security questions, they seem too personal at times. Do I really want them knowing the street I grew up on as a child??
Serial killers are always so smart! Think of all the other things they could do with their lives. But instead, they just spend time scrapbooking all the press items about their kills. Just riffing here, but is there a business selling scrapbook materials to psychopaths?
I prefer when you can make up your own questions on these things. It is still hard to come up with a good one though that someone can’t guess.
A few weeks ago my husband asked me why I was using his pin number (for my credit card). Then we worked out we both have the same pin number and have for about 20 years.
The four-digit pin always seems iffy to me. Like, really? Just 4? Isn’t that too easy? If you and your husband have the same one, I think that’s our answer.
OMG this just happened to me. meaning i literally could NOT answer any of the security questions. favorite food…nachos? not really sure, but on any given day i might answer that. favorite radio station…hmm…????? i have 6 presets in my car and currently don’t have XM…but did i when i answered? i had to call in and discuss this with someone on the phone to reset my password. and i STILL had to answer the security questions. over the phone somehow i answered them all right on the phone but not online…weird. at the end right before i hung up i said, “those are some tough questions.” just so i knew i had gotten the last word in with the person on the phone. not that he invented the questions. but he was a representation… and i felt good after i said that. and even better after reading your post.
oh and on another note…i’m pregnant! which i think u might find funny bc of the whole to get pregnant or not to get pregnant convo and your funny post about the topic.
tmi on a blog post comment, but hey, since i mentioned my favorite food is nachos, i felt i had already crossed some line.
xo! air kisses and handshakes and bowing and every other awkward hello or goodbye gesture.
Ho shit! Congrats! That’s so exciting. You must be glowing with motherhood and not-being-undecided-anymore-hood.
You know there’s no such thing as TMI here on Talking Shrimp. And I think you should name your baby Nachos so that you can always remember what your favorite food is.
marian belgray says
And what’s with the photo they show you, asking you if that’s the image you picked to go along with your login info? Wouldn’t a hacker just say “yes, I did pick the umbrella. Let me in.”
For a sec, I thought that’s what you were referring to with the Campbell’s pic. Then I realized your dirty trick…you’re getting us to associate chicken noodle soup with the mental image of Paul’s penis. How Warholian.
I always wonder that! I also wonder if I’d remember NOT picking the image if some hacker were smart enough to create a dummy site and show me a different image.
Did you know that Warhol did a silkscreen of Paul’s penis? One of his less-known works.
Mom Belgray says
P.S. My best friend has two names. Did I use her birth name or her married name? And on and on with the other questions.
Or do you use her school nickname?
Mom Belgray says
The other night, both my internet and my land line phone stopped working. The TV blared away, uninterrupted. I suddenly thought that maybe the “automatic payment” had gotten screwed up, so I thought I could get a quick answer. Ha. I couldn’t find the phone number because it’s on the website, and of course I couldn’t access the internet, but I finally remembered it, made for simpletons. When I called, I got the usual announcement, telling me all the information could be found on their website, MYVERIZON.COM. My Verizon? No, it’s not my Verizon. It’s definitely not MY Verizon, and I wouldn’t be calling if I could find the answer on the website. The computer lady in the phone asked if my phone number was the correct one, then push one. Computer lady: what is the name of the account? I told her/it. Blah blah blah, then finally a real person. “Oh, I’m sorry, the name we have on this account is C David. Is your last name David?.” Funny – they don’t have trouble finding me to pay the bill. “Well, I’ll need the account number.” IT’S ON THE WEBSITE, AND I CAN’T GET ON THE INTERNET. “Oh, well I can’t give you any information.” Me: You can’t tell me if the bill was paid? Verizon: “No. But if you can tell me the last amount paid, I can waive the other requirements.” Me: I was encouraged to go for paperless billing, and the information IS ON THE WEBSITE. I gave her a
number I thought was close. Verizon: “Oh, I’m so sorry. That’s not within 10% of your billed amount. You’ll find the information on our website. Thank you for calling Verizon. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
After I ended the call, lucky I didn’t break my cell phone in slamming it down, I found that my land-line and my internet were working again.
Dying. I HATE THEM!!! “Not within 10% of your billed amount.” What if you guess how many jellybeans are in the jar on her desk? Unbelievable.
Thank you for the best ever comment, which should be its own blog post. Submit to Huffpo or something.
Mom Belgray says
Oooh, thanks. I should have asked her to send me some jellybeans.
Paul A. says
That’s why I always use the same password for all my accounts 87$+paul so i never forget.
Get out! That’s uncanny. I use the exact same password.
Linda G. says
worst was “your grandfather’s occupation”… how about dependent, semi-handicapped, didn’t speak english so i never got to talk to him about it and he died in 1972. i’d heard rumors that he worked as part of a public works project as a young immigrant from Italy. so i may have filled in “construction worker” “mason” “grouter” or who knows what else…. Not knowing that answe got me almost locked out of my email account a few years ago which was disastrous because it’s my work’s lifeblood. I finally got a human in tech support,begged and explained my dilemma. Got her laughing so hard that she gave me my password and let me back in. I STILL don’t know what answer I’d given to that question.
I think, for a certain generation, everyone’s grandfather’s occupation was “bricklayer.” So easy to guess.
Nathalie Lussier says
Your post is hilarious! I snorted and then had to explain to Robin the best parts of your post.
Sometimes Robin and I login to each other’s accounts, and that makes it even more complicated. It’s like the honeymoon guessing game, except you get locked out of the account and have to call to have your account re-enabled. (This happened when I kept putting my favorite food instead of his!)
Thanks, Nath! I can just imagine him typing “cookie” over and over and getting rejected because the new answer is “raw kale” or “quinoa.”
Wait a minute. Your 8th grade English teacher’s husband hired a hit man to KILL HER?? That’s impressive. My 8th Grade English teacher had really bushy armpit hair. That’s about it.
p.s. I really miss the old, dirty Times Square. I wish it could go back to that.
It’s true. She put up her very expensive briefcase to shield her face, and he shot around it instead of through it.
The best friend, favorite color, hobby, favorite musical group ones always get me. I had lots of good friends growing up, but no real besties. It’s hard to remember which name I chose at the time. It all depends on my mood when I walked down Memory Lane.
Favorite color, hobby, musical group. meh. That’s even worse!
Seriously. My favorite color is always whatever looks good on me. Changes day to day.
Jacqueline Fairbrass says
I thought I was so alone until I read this! Yes, just bought a new Iphone on Saturday and doing the in-store set-up was the first time there was an actual witness to this process. Ugh! Thinking on my feet, literally, looking for the ‘what is your father’s middle name’ … because it’s odd enough that it works for me. But what about family members hacking my accounts, oh yeah can we talk dysfunctional? Anyhoos thanks for the giggles and the comraderie!
Oh, family are the worst. I know this from watching Suze Orman – the callers are always complaining that their family members stole their identity and ruined their credit. Better use a code name instead of the real one. Spell it backwards.
OH how I enjoyed this post! I can so relate with these troubles. My personal favourite is “the name of your first boyfriend/girlfriend”… Do I put the name of my high school sweetheart – my first love (Chorus of awwwwe…)? OR is it the guy I kissed in a dark corner of my best friend’s basement? “Best friend” being a relative term as discussed in your post. I only know where she is now thanks to Facebook. This guys proceeded to break up with me a few days later for an older woman (damn those tenth graders!). Both of these gentlemen are still in my life and married to friends of mine… So either way, it’s just weird.
Exactly. Think of all the people I’ve considered “my boyfriend” who didn’t see themselves that way. Maybe I should put the first boyfriend who answered to the term “boyfriend.” The whole thing is so muddy.
LaVonne Ellis says
Exactly! I get stressed out with these questions because we moved a lot when I was a kid. Which street should I choose? And was my first pet the dog, who was really my dad’s pet, or the parakeet, whom I accidentally starved to death because no one told me he needed a cuttlebone to keep his beak from growing so long he couldn’t eat any more? (Ugh, I don’t like to think about that. Lots of guilt there.) I can’t remember my favorite teacher’s name and I don’t know my father’s middle name, so I made one up – but what if I forget? Between the anxiety and the guilt, I think they should add one more question: Who was your favorite shrink?
Well, my answer to all questions in the future will be “cuttlebone.” (NOTE TO SELF: ALL LOWERCASE.)