My star sign? Not a question I was expecting. Mother's maiden name perhaps, or the name of my first pet*. You know, the standard security questions. Given a choice I always go for the pet name, it feels a bit more secure, not even the KGB could know the name of my first pet. Unless little Bovril was a spy I suppose. Sometimes I mix it up a little, adding some extra security by giving the name of my second pet, or my sister's pet, or even an imaginary pet. In short, I am uncrackable.
"I don't know my star sign," I said, suffering briefly from an inferiority complex, " but how about I simply tell you my date of birth?"
"Sorry Sir, " she replied curtly, "but we are not allowed to ask that any more. For security reasons."
She, I imagine, titillated with reason. My reason, on the other hand, was shafted. I trembled, groping about blindly in the depths of my mind. No light, no handrail, just confusion. All I wanted to do was inform the credit card company of a change of address, and now I was answering a quiz on the Zodiac. (Perhaps I was going mad, mad as the fruitcake I saw in a pub recently. Having bought a carbonated bottle of cider he spent ten minutes pouring it repeatedly from one pint glass to another. I asked him why he was doing this. "To get rid of the bubbles," he said. Or as mad as his companion, an old man dressed entirely in denim. This nutter ordered "blackcurrent and soda" and spent the next half hour playing with the ring tones on his phone.)
"You can find out your star sign in a newspaper or magazine, " she added helpfully.
"Listen," I said, "I'm not an astronomer, or an astrologer." Or Mystic Meg. "I wouldn't be seen dead reading the charts. What possible reason do I have for knowing my star sign? How about I just tell you the month I was born in?" The only thing I care less about than star signs is netball, celebrity gossip or Madonna's adoption plans. Screw that, I care even less about Coleslaw. The last time someone (in jest) read me my horoscope it was completely wrong. Instead of having "my lucky day" I got stuck on a train for two hours that broke down on the one part of the line that had no mobile phone reception.
"Madness," I said, "this is supposedly a secure banking line and nobody but you can hear me." I glanced over my shoulder at the impatient queue of gormless droids behind me. They glared back. They could almost certainly hear me, the bank was laid out in typically incompetent fashion, but telling the truth would spoil my argument. "I've already told you my name, old address, new address and credit card number. If someone is listening in they already have enough information to bleed me dry. From what I remember there are twelve star signs, and twelve months, what's the difference? In this rational age how can you expect me to know my star sign?"
"Your star sign is Gemini," she said brusquely, "remember it for next time."
*I don't know if this security question appears outside of Britain, but it always appears as a default or example security question - for all sorts of services.
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