When I first started working here, the IT guy, who takes his job EXTRAORDINARILY seriously, set up my voicemail for me.

“Pick a secret four-digit code that will be difficult for people to guess,” he said. “Memorize it. Don’t write it down anywhere. This is your voice mail passcode, and it should be known only to you.”

Dude, it is VOICE MAIL. This hardly seems like the kind of thing that merits this level of seriousness. I do not work for an agency that is in possession of nuclear secrets. Most of my voice mails are from (a) my boss, asking me if I’m done with that memo yet, (b) my other boss, asking me if I’m done with that other memo yet, or (c) my mother, asking if I’m ever going to call her back and what if she had fallen and were lying on the floor incapacitated and ended up having to have her leg amputated because I had failed to call her back? What then?

But fine, the guy takes his job seriously, so I played along. I made up a four digit number that was difficult to guess, memorized it, and used it as my voicemail password. Things continued happily for approximately six weeks, until one day I tried to check my voicemail and was told that “for security reasons,” it was time to reset my password to something new. And it should be hard to guess. And I should not write it down.

So I picked a new number, slightly less obscure than previous number, went about my day.

Six weeks later: same deal. This time I picked date and month of my birthday as new password because frankly, my capacity for coming up with and then remembering random four-digit passcodes is pretty limited.

Six weeks later: new password. Used bank ATM Pin.

Six weeks later: year of birth.

Etc etc etc.

Which brings us today, when my mother-loving phone demanded AGAIN that I change my password for security reasons. OH MY GOD MY VOICE MAIL IS NOT THIS SENSITIVE.

IT guy, your overzealous commitment to password security has officially backfired. If you’d let me keep my original passcode, I would still have something comparatively hard to guess. Instead, this morning I picked the only new code I could come up with at 8:54 am when I needed to check my voice mail before I went to a 9 o’clock meeting.

My password is now 1111.

There, terrorists. You now have my voice mail password. Happy snooping. If you wouldn’t mind calling my mother back and telling her that no, I haven’t forgotten about her, I’m just busy, that would be swell.

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