I hate the feature on “secure” websites where you have to answer some question about yourself to get in. The reliability of this method is somewhat in doubt. I could, for instance, answer just about any question about my wife, my best friend, and a handful of other people off the top of my head. I could look up or find out what I don’t know. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is that I never actually know the answer to any of the questions! Almost every question they ask is complicated by some factor or another.

What was my first pet’s name? Well, it depends. Are we counting the fish or are we talking about real pets. All of our fish were named Fred and as they kept dying they had numbers appended to them. Fred Four was the first one I think was “mine”, though I treated Freds one through three as mine, too. And though we called him Fred Four (or “Fred 4”, we also called him Fred the Fourth or Fred the 4th or Fred, IV. So how would I have spelled it when I first asked the question? Then there was Roscoe, our dog, who was the first real pet. So the answer to that question depends on what I’m thinking when you ask it. This one is the second easiest, though, since I seem to gravitate towards Roscoe the one and only.

What is my mother’s middle name? I am actually only half-sure of the answer, legally speaking. Her birth name was Susan Carroll Hertzog. But the “t” is never pronounced and I forget that it’s even there. Further, she grew up going by Carroll and I think that when she got married she dropped Susan, but she still uses the name Susan Carroll Truman, Carroll Hertzog Truman, and Susan Carroll Hertzog Truman. I prefer it when they ask what her maiden name is, which I guess they don’t do more often since the concept of married and maiden names is less common than it once was. Though even then, I have to ask myself “Did I remember to put the “t” in there?”

Where were you born? There are a number of variations to this question, all of which are beset with problems. Assuming that we’re not going to say “a hospital” (though that couple be the simplest answer… though did I put the “a ” in there or not? If they ask what hospital, did I put the name of the hospital that it had at the time or the one that it has now? (It’s a well-known hospital). And spelling the name of the town? Forget about it. Was it “-burg” or “-berg” or “-burgh”? I can look up the answer, of course, but did I look it up at the time I filled out the question? The answer is usually “yes” but it always causes temporary stress as I fear of being locked out of my own bank account. If they asked what county, that I could tell them… though did I put the word “County” at the end of it or not? Who knows what the heck I was thinking at the time.

What street were you raised on? This is the only one with a pretty clear answer. For me. But a lot of people moved around a lot when they were young. So this is the one area where I had a clear advantage over other people.

-{This post was brought to you by the forgotten letter “T”}-

Category: Server Room

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2 Responses to Hard To Answer Questions About Me

  1. Peter says:

    The question that’s hardest for me to answer is “What is your pet’s name?” as there is, ahem, a vast number of possibilities.

    Possibly the stupidest security question I’ve ever seen is “What is your favorite TV show?” It must not have occurred to anyone that TV preferences are not static, but change over time. I saw this question about a year ago but don’t remember the site.

  2. Kirk says:

    “What is your favorite color?”

    user types: blue…, no, red!

    (chair ejects user out nearest window, into mist-covered trench outside)

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