Cracking the Spouse That Wasn't

It's not one of my most shining moments. As far as moments go, on a scale of "Filled with Awesome" all the way down to "Drools a Bit," this is probably hanging out at the bottom with the time I put the liquid coffee creamer away in the dishes cabinet.

Or maybe when I went to K-Mart wearing two entirely different shoes.

Without going into all the boring details, I need information to complete a task. It's nothing secretive, sensitive or even exciting really. But I still need the info. And the system I access to get it has been banned to me.

Locked down, in fact.

A full, "Flashing Warning, Call the Brute Squad, None Shall Pass" has gone into effect.

Because it appears the coincidental similarity between Yours Truly and a completely incompetent yet very persistent hacker is only the difference in that I won't try to blackmail myself with my own data-- if I ever get my grubby hands on it.

Yes, I caused the system to go into Red Alert Whooping Siren Lockdown Mode. And all because I couldn't remember my password.

It was one of those systems that feels that because a whole lunar cycle has passed and the planets are aligned differently and it's a month with an R in it, the password must be changed.

Every time I log on, they make me change the password. And every time I withdraw it from the lock-box in the windmill of my mind and get the information I need.

Until this time.

So I spent the better part of an hour trying to think what I would have called it if I were me.

Which, of course, I am most of the time. But I wasn't forthcoming.

Not to be deterred, I chose the option for "Forgot my password." This, I thought, would be my salvation.

But in the tradition of Sphinxes, and trolls under bridges, and Alex Trebek, the system decided that it would be a whole lot more fun to pose me an impossible riddle:

"What is your spouse's maiden name?"

"You're kidding right?" I asked it.

But it assured me, it was in a very serious font and meant business.

"But I'm not a man. Or gay. Or married," I shouted at it.

It didn't care about my personal life. It just wanted the answer.

"Couldn't you have just asked me what's the meaning of life and been done with it?"

"Cliché," it thought dismissively.

So I started guessing. Maybe it was my own last name.


Maybe I'd misread it when filling it out originally, and it was my mother's maiden name.


Maybe I'd left it blank.



It was having none of that. It just laughed.

I started putting down the last names of actors I liked, in an embarrassing, increasing panic.

"We are a computer system, we are not Entertainment Weekly," it informed me.

And then, having toyed with me to its satisfaction, it locked me out. No phone number for assistance. No support line. It told me to have a think about what I'd done here today, cool off for 24 hours, and come back to try in a second time.

They'd be waiting.

Oh... they'd be waiting.

I guess I should feel lucky, though. Trolls, sphinxes and Alex Trebek aren't so much into the second chances.


JD at I Do Things said...

What the bleep?

They are clearly messing with you. It's a power trip. But why? What is to be gained from this mind game?

The fact that they're laughing at you? Now that's just cruel.

Jenn Thorson said...

JD- It does feel a bit cat-and-mousey, doesn't it? :)

screwdestiny said...

Computers really suck sometimes. Especially the ones that make you change your password all the freaking time. There are only so many main passwords a person can have before they start thinking of random junk and promptly forgetting it. I also hate the systems that are all, "Your password must be at least 9 characters long, including capital and lowercase letters, numbers and letters, and weird symbols." WTF? Really? I just want it to be the name of my cat!

Jenn Thorson said...

ScrewDestiny- Oh, and you nailed it-- it IS one of those stupid, "Your Password Must be Nine Characters and use one hieroglyphic and be written backwards and, etc., etc." Which just makes the whole thing worse.

In case you wondered, I am STILL not able to access the system. We've gotten two tech people involved now.

Robert Crane said...

Jenn, feel free to use cranelegs. it's the closest i'll ever get to polygamy without all the mess. it would mean a lot to me. thanks.

Jenn Thorson said...

Bob- Well, I'm flattered... I think. :)

Jay said...

I'd put in a support ticket and tell 'em to sort it out!