I almost called my exhusband. That’s how desperate I was this morning. I have not talked to the man in … 15 or 20 years, maybe longer … but I needed answers and I hoped he had them.
Well, “answers” is a slight exaggeration. I needed one answer for one question: where did you spend your honeymoon?
The sad saga of my battle with Yahoo! began when I woke up Friday morning to discover I had been spammed. Sometime between the time I went to bed on Thursday night and the time I picked up my smartphone the next morning, some clever soul had hacked into my account and sent everyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in my address book a link to some bogus weight loss product. Needless to say, I hopped out of bed with greater haste than I normally use to start my day and was at my computer before I was fully awake.
Shit! Shit! Shit!
That’s all I could think as I hit the Yahoo! Help Center to find out how to deal with the situation.
Shit! Shit! Shit!
In short order I learned I needed to change my password and to check a few other things. That’s exactly what I did — change my password and check those areas which I was advised to check. I posted an apology on Facebook and hoped that those friends who received the bogus communique from me would figure out I had been hacked. Then, I put the disturbing incident out of my mind.
For a couple days. I had no problems with my Yahoo! account on Friday or on Saturday morning. But, by Saturday night, I was beginning to suspect I had a problem. I hadn’t received any email all day — even the sales notices I usually receive — and everytime I tried to check my email on my smartphone, a pop-up screen said, “Server unavailable.”
When I got home on Saturday night after work, I logged on to my computer and was told my new password was incorrect. Over and over and over. So, I clicked on the magic line: “I can’t access my account,” and came up against the question which will haunt my sleep for weeks: where did you spend your honeymoon?
As I recall, I was married at the end of May in 1983. Had I not invited guests, and arranged a reception of sorts, I probably would have backed out at the last minute. I had a migraine and wanted nothing more than to find a bed in a dark room and sleep. When my brother came to tell me my ex had gotten cold feet, relief as well as horror shot through me. The horror of embarrassment, as I explained to guests that we were skipping the wedding in order to enjoy a picnic lunch which I had prepared, and the relief of not having to embark upon that risky enterprise of marriage to a man who, despite proclaiming love, had a bit of a problem with monogamy, holding a job and staying sober.
I’m not sure which my brother saw on my face, because he quickly assured me that he meant the room in which my ex was assuming the camouflage of a silver tux had concrete floors and his feet were, literally, getting cold. We had a brief wedding ceremony in a small chapel, went to a nearby park for a picnic lunch and then headed for a scenic state park where we intended to camp. However, we encountered enough mosquitos to draw blood for an urban blood bank, and opted for a movie and room in a nearby town instead.
That’s it. That’s all I recall of that momentous occasion. And considering how things turned out, I can’t begin to imagine why I chose as a security question: where did you spend your honeymoon. But, apparently, I did. I entered every answer I could think of — the name of the state park, the name of the town in which we stayed, the name of the restaurant at which we ate, the name of the cheap motel where we spent the night. I ended up with a locked account.
The message said the account would be locked for 12 hours, so I went to bed. I figured I couldn’t do anything further. The next morning was Easter and I didn’t have time to fiddle with my account until after I had worked a 12-hour day. Then, convinced I could navigate the Yahoo! Help Center, I sat down with a bottle of apple ale — and discovered all options open to me led to the same place.
Where did you spend your honeymoon?
After clicking here and clicking there for several hours, eventually I found something that proposed to be a customer service center of sorts. I wrote a brief note outlining my situation and went to bed. I tend to trust experts to provide answers and expected my problem to be resolved as soon as I heard from an expert.
This morning, I found a message in the inbox of a new account I had created, telling me to go to the Yahoo! Help Center. I screamed, to which the dogs next door would attest if they spoke English. They broke into a riot of barking. Fortunately, my neighbors weren’t inclined to call law enforcement. It would have been difficult to explain to a local deputy that a conspiracy existed to prevent me from accessing my email account.
However, being tenacious — OK, a little stubborn — I persisted. For hours, I sought access to my Yahoo! account. Indiana Jones could not have done more. I went back to the email confirming my password had been changed and tried to gain access through the the two sites listed; no luck. I tried googling various questions. Over and over I ended up in the same place. Where did you spend your honeymoon?
I explored the matter as a password issue. I explored the matter as compromised account issue. I explored every avenue that promised help. After several hours, as desperation reached the point of pacing and shoveling chocolate into my mouth as though it were popcorn, I began to consider calling my ex to see if he recalled something which would enable me to gain access to my account.
I decided to try St. Jude instead. He’s the patron saint of impossible causes. I acknowledged to him that while he lived without having ever felt the need for email or account access or anything of the sort, my circumstances were different. Then I painfully lowered myself to my knees and begged him to intercede on my behalf because I needed to get into my account. I got up, took a shower and tried again.
Lo! and behold! Off in a corner I found a button I had not seen previously. I clicked on it. Answered the questions. Hit send. And walked away.
I made a fresh cup of coffee and finally fed the cats. I made plans for the afternoon and made a few moves on the Words with Friends games I enjoy on my smartphone. Then, cautiously, I opened my new account — and there it was! A message with step-by-step instructions for getting into my account.
I have thanked God and St. Jude over and over since accessing my account. I am convinced, that when it comes to technology, sometimes it takes divine intervention to do the most ordinary of tasks — which is probably true about life in general. Perhaps that’s why gratitude is such an important part of the spiritual life — because of all the small ways God graces our days with blessings. In this case, I want to say it one more time for good measure: Thank you, Lord and thank you, St. Jude. I will remember!
(But, I still don’t remember where I said I spent my honeymoon.)