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February 7, 2014 - Eric Benac
For the ever alert and apprehensive fan of "Time Out!" my three month absence has probably been difficult to manage. Well, there's a simple explanation for my slowdown: I forgot my password.
I thought I had kept it fairly simple. Something that I would easily remember. I picked a phrase that is commonly used for online office functions and added what I thought would be an easy to remember variation that would stick in my mind for years to come. However, sometime in November, I attempted to log on to enter a blog. I typed what I thought was my password, but it was not accepted.
I shrugged and typed the password again. Once again, it failed to enter. I nervously entered multiple variations on the stock password and grew increasingly frustrated as each attempt was rejected.
I added a "1" to the end of the password. I entered a "10." I capitalized the first letter, the second letter, the third, fourth, fifth and each attempt resulted in nothing more than a heart breaking rejection. I threw up my hands in defeat and stopped trying for the day. I came back to it various times over the next month and gave it the old college try. Endless variations of the key phrases, numbers that were meaningful to me and endless, endless attempts at breaking my own "Davinci Code" were always met with a humiliating lack of success.
Defeated, I decided I'd talk to Bill or Steve and see if they could reset the password. Every day, I planned to broach this topic and every day I either completely forgot or chickened out. I was somewhat embarrassed by my lapse in memory and didn't want to admit defeat.
Instead, I came back to it with a vengeance. I added my mother's maiden name to the password. I typed it backwards. I switched letters. I typed in foreign languages. I used Wingdings. I typed pure gibberish and angry ranting. I was met with nothing but continued humiliation, frustration and noticeable stress related thinning of my hair. Since my hair is one of the few things that I egotistically adore, this was the last straw. I was going to go talk to Bill and finally reset my password.
This meeting took no more than two minutes: Bill had a good natured chuckle at my misfortune and almost immediately found the sheet of paper I'd written my password on all those months ago. As he read the password aloud to me, I copied it down and found the offending symbol that had kept me locked out of my own blog for months: %.
%! Why would I use a "%"? I have never once used that symbol in any of my hundreds of passwords. Shoot, I rarely used the symbol in my day to day writing. What would have possessed me to integrate that symbol, out of all other symbols on the keyboard, into an otherwise stock password?
I have no idea. But, I'll never be able to look at a "%" again without feeling the embarrassment of knowing that it such a small symbol kept me stymied for months.
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