The following is a letter I received from a long-time friend:
i need your help.
i am trying to recover my old yahoo http://us.f521.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?Tofirstname.lastname@example.org) it turns out my secret question is "what is rei?"
i've run out of ideas to the possible answers.i really hope you guys can help because i've been using that email account since i started using e-mail for my stories. so that's roughly five years of background .
i stopped using it two years ago when i changed the password after the tribune was raided. but unfortunately in my panic i forgot the new password i used."
Benjamin B. Pulta
Here is my response:
September 6, 2007
Pareng papalabs Benjie, if this letter is true, this would be, to date, the most and only endearing letter you've written to me since we've known each other, and I would say, a most unusual one. Haha. But before I run the risk of being labeled as an egotistical maniac, o kaya primera klase ilusyonada, I will proceed in leading you to the possible answers to your question. I am not promising to lead you to any correct answers here but I will try.
First, there is the task of answering "What is Rei?" I will help you answer this only in the context that I think (and I will assume) I am the same Rei being referred to here. Admittedly, I am not prepared to answer why a standard question like "Who is Rei?" has become "What is Rei?" At best, I can only assume that the "what" in this question is merely a convenient word used and makes the question easier to answer. I could answer: "It is a name." Or if I have the time, I would further volunteer "It is a short name for Reinerio." As to the question "Who is Rei," I can, of course, devote a line, a paragraph or even a book in an effort to answer it and yet never fully come to a definitive answer still.
But, before I get carried away, this is clearly, not a question for me to answer. This is a question, which you created for yourself Benjie and hence must be answered by you alone. To answer this would involve all your thoughts on Rei at the time that you created your yahoo account. And it would greatly help to remember why the hell, in the first place, you chose to put in "What is Rei?" as your secret question? Bakit nga ba? Secondly, would you be able to remember your emotional state at that particular time? Were you happy? Were you angry? Were you hungry? Were you crazy at that time? Whether as a whim or as a well-thought out secret question, I trust that you still are able to remember. I know that you can trust your instincts on this one. I will suppose that, five years ago, in 2002, I, or your idea of a Rei is already a well-formed enough idea or concept for you to put it in as a secret question for your yahoo account. I think it would help to remember what was Rei for you in the year 2002. Where was Rei and what was Rei at that time in your life that such a Rei would merit such a position as to be a key to a password that would unlock your most important documents? What were your word or thought associations with the Rei idea, or more importantly, your substitute words or ideas for Rei? Was Rei substituted for any of the following template question words from yahoo then: "favorite pet," "favorite subject," "favorite game"?
In any case, I will not and do not think that you created the said "key" question out of any spite for me. Otherwise, why bother associating Rei with something that you have to significantly remember, sometime, at one point. Hence, this explains the flattery in my heart in receiving this question letter from you. I am so happy in receiving this letter that I do not even mind if the possible and eventual answers to the question "What is Rei?" would include "baluga," "bakla," "kulot," "negro," "negrong bakla," "faggot," or other such words for low life creatures you can think of. I do not mind at all. If Rei earned those associations, then Rei would take them. And if the answers to the question would turn out to be "gorgeous," "darna," "dyesebel," I'd be in cloud 9 and I'd probably treat you to an ice cream sometime soon. The important thing for me Benj is that you put forth the question and I am answering it here as best as I could. Or that you are trying to remember as best as you can. Rei was there. Rei is here. And I think that is all that should matter. Cheers!
P.S. Happy Birthday!