Thursday, March 22, 2012

Open Sesame

So many passwords, so little head space. This was my day...

From Loose Ends in the New York Times by Frank Lesser:

Password Check

To retrieve your password, type the letters and numbers in the box below:
password
Sorry, that was not correct. The “1” was actually an upper-case, sans-serif “I.” Please try again by typing the following letters and numbers, this time using your nondominant hand and with one eye closed:
password
Sorry, the second “X” was also lowercase. It looked larger because it was closer to the screen than the first. Please try again by retyping the words you see in this box:
password
Sorry, but it’s “i” before “e” except after “c.” You failed to correct the typo. Please try again by retyping these words:
password
Your password has been reset. To retrieve your password, answer the following security question: What was the name of your first dog?
password
Incorrect. That was the name you gave your dog. Its mother called it “Snarlbarkbarkgrrrrrrrr.”
To verify this is your account, please tell us your mother’s maiden name:
password
Now verify that this is also the password at your bank:
password
Please wait a few minutes while I “verify” that.
Transaction complete. Thank you! To prove you are a human, demonstrate that you are capable of love in the box below:
password
Sorry. That was infatuation, at best.
Now type the worst thing you’ve ever done, that you’ve never told a soul. Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone:
password
Your confession has been forwarded to the 10 most-e-mailed contacts in your in-box. Are you feeling a deep shame that you fear will never go away?
password
Congratulations! You have proved you are human!
However, before you can reset your password, you must now prove that you are who you say you are, and not an evil look-alike impostor. Say something only the real you would say:
password
O.K., let me get that password for you, right after I make a quick phone call — to the Internet police! That’s right, a deputized LOLcat is about to haz a warrant for your arrest.
Why? Because the real me would never retrieve your password without you first verifying your identity — and you failed to do that because if you were really who you said you were, you’d know me well enough to know I’d never believe you!
I’ll give you one more chance. If you really are who you say you are, you’ll be able to answer the following security question: Why did my wife leave me?
Do you know the answer? Please? Forget about the password retrieval thing, I just really need to know. I’m sorry I put you through all of this, I’ve just been going through a rough time since the divorce. We were so in love! But I guess passwords aren’t the only things that change. About a year into the marriage, I learned that she wasn’t the person I thought I’d married. And that is why I have trouble trusting that people are who they say they are.
Sorry, I need a moment. If you don’t mind, please retype the following words into the box below:
password
Really? You think so? Thanks. That means a lot, coming from a great person like you.
That’s right — I knew it was you all along. I was just teasing you. Tell you what, I’ll let you retrieve your password if you answer the following security question: Do you know any single women in their late 20s, early 30s who might want to meet someone interested in getting to know the real them, by asking questions about them for a change?
Full disclosure: It helps if they have trouble differentiating between humans and computer programs.
Frank Lesser is a writer for “The Colbert Report” and author of “Sad Monsters.”

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