Passwords, user names and a bunny named Hassenpfeffer

passwordsConfession: I cannot remember rows of obscure letters and numbers.

Can’t do it.

I can’t even remember my own phone number unless I dial the “imaginary” telephone, first. This creates a problem when I’m trying to remember passcodes. And the broadcast news network I work for has set up one doozy of a system to get through in order to access your own personnel file. Cracking the code is like trying to dig your way into Fort Knox with a spoon. A plastic one.

So on the rare occasion when I recently needed to visit my personnel file to change my mailing address, it invariably led to a call to IT.

Thankfully, IT Guy reassured me he can get me into the system, as soon as I answer a series of questions to prove I am ME. These are apparently questions I answered when I first joined the company.

IT Guy, “What was your first pet’s name?” 

At this point I’m not sure EXACTLY which pet I listed. Was it the goldfish who lived three days? No, I probably went for either the doggie or the bunny. Let’s try the bunny’s name: “Hassenpfeffer.”


“Yes, my siblings and I named the family bunny after rabbit stew. We had an odd sense of humor …”

IT Guy says, “I mean, how do you spell that?”

“H- O- N… feffer… wait, there’s an S. Um, let’s try the dog’s name.”

Having successfully answered the pet name question and a few more, we were “very close! I just need your mother’s maiden name,” says the IT Guy.

I gave him the name.

“That’s NOT what’s listed here,” IT Guy says in a voice full of disappointment and condemnation. As if I’d backed over my dear mother in the driveway.

“OH! Try THIS name (I said supplying my mother-in-law’s name). You see, after so many years of marriage it all blends together-“

“Got it,” interrupts IT Guy, whose patience with me is clearly fading. “Now, what’s your USER name?”

Oh cr**.  Did I use my maiden name? My married name? Married name with my middle initial?

Let’s just say that after a while we finally broke into Fort Knox and changed my permanent address in the company file, and I came up with a brand new spiffy passcode that I vowed to remember. “Thank you!” I groveled. “Glad that’s over.”

IT Guy says, “Just remember to change your password before it expires.”


IT Guy says, “Every three months, your password automatically expires.”

“So I’m memorizing …”

“Something that you can sue for three months and then it will expire,” says IT Guy.

So I dutifully memorized …  the IT Guy’s phone number.  At least THAT won’t expire. I hope. And  by then I may have figured out how to spell Hassenpfeffer.

This has been an actual conversation in the Man Cave. What’s the Man Cave? Read this.

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