What is your mother’s maiden name?

I meant to post this about six months ago, but you know, stuff gets in the way.

On the day I was scheduled to leave for the first day of college, my suitcases were ready to go. I had set out my clothes the night before, I had picked out my comforter, and I had purchased every possible type of cold medicine and shampoo I could possibly want. I had said goodbye to my house and emotionally prepared myself to leave. I had my last home-cooked meal.

There was but one thing left to do: open a checking account.

This was exciting. I’d finally be able to write checks, use an ATM (I still feel special when I use one), and spend my hard-earned money.

My dad and I went to the bank. Why we had left this for the last possible second I do not know, but we did. We waited for the teller to call us while I nervously thought about college. There were so many questions running through my head: What will Northwestern be like? Will I make a lot of friends? Will I like my classes? Will my roommate and I decide to bunk the beds? My mind was cluttered with uncertainty.

The process for filling out the checking account information was relatively straight-forward. Read this, write your home address, sign here. Do you want the Tweety checks or the red-striped ones?

But then, the teller asked me to select a security question. You know, in case I lose my password and I have to e-mail the bank, they’ll ask me this secret question that only I know the answer to. I had to select TWO security questions, actually, from the list.

In which city did you live at age 14?
Who was your childhood hero?
What was the name of your favorite teacher?
What is your favorite movie?

Upon hearing these questions, my dad and I looked at each other, bewildered. How will I possibly remember who my childhood hero was in fifteen years when I forget my password? If I’ve forgotten my password, I’m definitely not going to remember the answer to that. I always have a different answer to that question anyway. Sometimes I say Superman, other times it’s Elphaba from Wicked, other times it’s my parents. Sometimes it’s even the cashier at the Jewel when I’m in the mood.

So, I have come up with some other questions that I recommend my bank adopts. These will be much easier for people like me to answer.

1. What was the first word you ever spoke?
2. If you could pick a Social Security number that best represented your personality, what would it be, and why?
3. In 150 words or less, tell us about a time you overcame an obstacle.
4. What was your mother’s mother’s mother’s maiden name?
5. As a kid, what was your least favorite food?
6. Who was your favorite Olympic ice skater at the Lake Placid games?
7. What is the question to the answer of life, the universe, and everything?
8. What do you get when you take your favorite number, multiply it by the year you were born, add your weight, divide by your target heart rate, and raise it to the power of the number of Grammys your favorite singer has won?
9. On your 12th birthday, what was your favorite present you received?
10. Please explain why you have forgotten your password, and, on a scale of 1-10, describe how sorry you are that you forgot it.

Questions like these will be much easier to remember the answers to, don’t you think?


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