Monday Smiles – 4/28/2014
Sometimes, we smile because we’re happy. Sometimes we smile because we’re cheerful. Cheerful is very different than happy, don’t you agree? We can be miserable on the inside and still reflect willingness and good humor (Mirram Webster’s definition). Are you old enough, by the way, to remember Good Humor Ice Cream trucks? Toasted almond ice cream bars … to die for. Or smile about. There is 12-Step saying: If I can’t be happy, I will at least be cheerful, a sort of acting as if that makes everyone one around us happier and surprisingly often, lifts our own spirits, too. Then there is the smile of relief, a wan sort of affair that will never be mistaken for cheerfulness. Stand at the finish line of a marathon, not when the winners speed in but about two and a half hours later when Mr. and Mrs. Everyman stagger in … you’ll get to what I’m talking about. So, it’s two in the afternoon and I’m wearing one of those smiles as I post the latest Monday Smiles ever. Nope. I didn’t run a marathon … these days, rigor mortis would be more likely than smiles if I did that. No, this was a mental marathon requiring not so much brilliance as ingenuity and patience. Yes, bullheadness, too.
So let me relate the tale, part of which I’ve touched on here before. In my business, we are required to use a certain government website. After years of signing on with a name and password, the powers that be decide to convert the system to a PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) requiring each of us to have a computer key (that’s stored on a little stick that looks like a memory stick). Unlike passwords, these little beauties aren’t free … you have to buy the key and the program that reads it, then pay several hundred dollars a year to maintain the credentials. Wonderful. Now, the website we use requires that you sign on regularly … if you don’t, it first locks you out, then drops your account. Late last year, I received a notice it was time to pay the ransom to keep our keys current so I sent off a check. By the time everything was processed and I tried to sign on again, I’d been locked out. When my business partner tried to sign on, his key had not been updated, so he couldn’t . and by the time he could? Account gone. Getting an account again required taking two courses online then submitting a small pile of documentation, which I did after about a week of work. Three days later, I discovered that the email address had changed. Send it again. Rejected. Wrong box checked in section A and one more online course needed. Two more days online, then resubmit. Bingo, new account … except the temporary password needed to set up the key doesn’t work. Call the Help Center, get a new password and wallah, I’m in. Sort of. I can’t find any of our stuff. It turns out our old account still exists out there in cyberspace with all our stuff locked inside but I can’t get at it. Three calls to the Help Desk, three very polite recommendations for things to try, unfortunately, none of which work. The last person referrs me to another agency that three days later warns me there’s nothing they can do … but if I don’t fix it, we’ll lose our account in 30 days. Delightful. Today, after a lot of research online, I got my business partner signed back on and wonder of wonders, he could see all our old stuff. After two hours on the phone with each other in front of our computers, we got it working. Hale-freakin’-lullah. Marathon.
It’s Monday. Wan smile. Relieved smile. But at least I’m smiling.