Now what could birthdays, questions asked of twins, and network security have in common? Funny you should ask and even funnier what brought this up.
Some of you know, but most don’t, that I’m an identical twin. We live a long way off from each other, now, and we’re even further apart in terms of political thought. The fact that I’m a twin doesn’t come up in casual conversation much so it’s not something I tend to bring up. So, why now? Well, years ago when we were boys we’d find ourselves in situations all the time where some adult friend or acquaintance of our parents would be doing the “oh, aren’t they so cute, looking exactly alike?” thing and they’d ask how old we were followed up by when our birthday was. One or the other of us would reply with the actual date (in the summer months somewhere). This person would then look to the other one of us and ask the question, “Oh, and when’s yours?”
Now, it’s certainly possible for twins to be born on different days but it’s a very rare occurrence in the already rare situation of identical twins. We’d stammer a bit, trying to get the info across to this adult that they were asking a dumb question without actually saying they were doing so. This person would suddenly get it and then laugh at their mistake expecting us to find it hilarious as well. Well, after 2 x 10some-Godawful-number times we’d heard this, it began to get unfunny. So the day came when the selected dope asked the 2nd one of us what our birthday was and – I’m not sure which one of us started it – the 2nd twin answered “April 12th.” I have no idea why we picked April 12th. It was just some random date sufficiently different from our birthday that the math would have shown Mom in labor for over a fiscal quarter. Some of the people we’d say that to would get it almost immediately and, usually, laugh. Others walked away never having gotten the joke.
Years later, we’d trade off years, each of us calling the other on April 12th and wish them a happy birthday. The next year, the other one would do it. It’s just one of those things that goes from joke to inside joke to inside custom over the years.
When the day came that I was signing up for Facebook, it demanded to know my birthday. Well, this is where network security comes in. Folks, you don’t put your social security number up on a public bulletin board. You don’t put your mother’s maiden name up there. Why? Because that’s data that financial companies and various other organizations use to positively identify you and it’s data that ID thieves go to great lengths to get. Another item of that data set is your birthday. Working the industry I do, I know all too well what can be done with that info in the wrong hands. And that’s why, when I was presented with the “gimmee-your-birthday-or-you-don’t-get-a-Facebook-account” question, I gave it the fake date I and my brother had used for years. I never gave it a second thought.
Until this week, that is, when a number of friends and well-wishers started sending me happy birthdays. Messages that, for reasons of travel, I didn’t see until last night. So, to those of you who reached out to me and sent best wishes, I thank you and I’m truly honored and humbled you thought of me. That it’s not the real date does not make the wishes or my thanks any less real. I just wanted everyone to know.
I’m in the middle of some rather long-range travel at the moment, blogging this morning from a hotel. We’re visiting some family this week so I might be a little lighter in the blogging department. There are some interesting goings-on lately, however, so I won’t be completely silent. Hope all of you had a Happy Easter!