It seems that everywhere we travel online—from on-demand entertainment to online banking—we’re required to sign-up or register.
After we go through the exhausting process of coming up bulletproof usernames and passwords, we’re asked to answer security questions.
There was a time when I could get by with my mother’s maiden name. Not anymore. Now, I’m riddled with all kinds of inquiries.
What is your father’s middle name? My father’s middle name was “Eugene,” but what about father’s who weren’t given middle names?
What was the first musical instrument you learned to play? Not everyone is musically inclined.
Where did your parents meet? Maybe that’s none of my business.
What is the name of the street you grew up on? Maybe that’s none of your business.
If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy? I can’t win the lottery because I don’t play.
When it comes to security questions, I thought I’d seen them all—until my latest online sign in/register adventure.
One quick click unveiled the most curious question to date: “What is your favorite insect?”
I blinked, but upon opening my eyes, the question remained glued to the screen: “What is your favorite insect?”
No offense to insects, but I don’t typically give that life-form a great deal of thought—until now. Asking me to name my least favorite insects would have been easier, but difficult to narrow down.
I’m not a bee-lover. You wouldn’t be either had you ever paid a painful price for accidentally treading over a Yellowjackets’ nest.
I deplore cockroaches and stink bugs. Ick. Just ick.
I considered writing “ant”, not to be confused with “fire ants.” Fire ants are red for a reason—they bite.
Ordinary workaholic ants, the ones that occasionally carry around crumbs and don’t bother anyone, are OK. When we were kids, my brother John spent long summer afternoons redirecting ant colonies on safaris through the grass of our front yard.
I have no doubt John’s insect security answer would have been “ant.” That’s him, not me.
Ladybugs popped into my mind. They are kind of cute. They look like teeny tiny fashion turtles sporting red shells with black polka dots.
Ladybugs eat garden pests, which is why they are a favorite insect of gardeners. Gardners love them so much that they refer to a group of the teeny turtle wannabes as a “loveliness of ladybugs.” No kidding.
Alas, I cannot claim the ladybug for my favorite insect. My daughter Kristen loathes them. She says I would dislike them, too, had they chosen to nest on the windowsill of my childhood bedroom.
They chose Kristen’s room. We couldn’t get rid of them.
In the competition for which insect would win my favor, the butterfly took third in a close race with the second place praying mantis.
The beauty of a butterfly is unmatched. I can only wish to flutter with such grace.
The praying mantis (Gary’s favorite) is rare and unique and better at standing in a fixed pose than the best of mannequins.
Like the ladybug, the praying mantis eats pesky insects. Like the ant, the praying mantis minds his own business.
Both the butterfly and praying mantis are worthy aphids, but they were overshadowed by the first insect that captivated my heart. The Firefly, also called “lightning bug”, is my favorite by far.
No insect can quite compare to a firefly’s radiance. On steamy summer nights, my childhood and teenage self often gazed in awe at the intermittent blinking of dozens of lightning bugs out for an evening stroll.
I’m still enchanted by the luminous, almost magical, Firefly.
Answering security questions wouldn’t bug me as much were the queries as thought-provoking as, “What is your favorite insect?”