Monday, October 26, 2015

Dating is Important?

It's that time of year when I have to fill out some maintenance paperwork relating to student loans. Like all sites on the internet that you don't pay attention to except once a year, they've changed their login information since I was last there. It's no longer the obscure Federal Government PIN that I could never remember and always had to reset (thereby defeating a large portion of the security). They've shifted over to username and password.

But oh! the process. Not one but FIVE security questions need to be specified. I hate security questions and think them terrifically insecure. The best way to deal with them is to provide non-sequitur answers to utterly befoul guessing (i.e., "What is your mother's maiden name?" Answer: Pumpkin Spindlewheels.)

For this login, five questions. Two from preselected list of questions, two questions you had to provide on your own. But it was the final question that nearly derailed the entire process.

Surprisingly, it wasn't even a question. There was no "question" part. There was only a statement: "Please indicate a significant or important date in your life." The answer blank could only accept a date.

My brain shorted out. It was not helped by the fact that a follow-up sentence indicated that this would be the question asked during any phone sessions.

A significant date? I don't have a stock answer to that one. Assuming you can't use your own birthdate, I was totally at a loss. I don't remember a day that any of the interesting things happened!

I suppose this is for people who can use their wedding, anniversary, birth of a child, etc. I don't have any of those things. I could use the date I first got glasses, except I don't remember what that is. I could use a graduation date for any of my degrees, but I don't know what that is, either. I don't remember the date I saw a Shakespeare play in Stratford-upon-Avon. I don't remember when the brass band won the Scottish Open. I don't remember the date I collapsed on the floor of my kitchen, fearing death.

Certainly, I do remember all of those days. But the problem is that I don't know what the date was. And I don't care.

My brain just doesn't process dates that way -- at least not for myself. I could use the date my brother got married. Or the birthday of his child. Or the birthday of other children I know. But of all the significant or important dates I can think of related to *me*, I don't know the exact date for any one of them. And even if I did, there's nothing to say I'd be able to remember the specific circumstance when it came time to regurgitate the date for security purposes.

Twelve months later
Tech Support: "Do you remember the significant date?"
Me: "Of what?"
Tech: "We don't know."
Me: "...Was it Tuesday?"

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