Locked out of the movies by tech snafu

Published 9:30 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

I didn’t watch “The Outlaw Josey Wales” every night, but I could have. Now my tiny digital collection of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movies — stored somewhere on a mysterious cloud — has been locked by the technology giant Apple, and I have no key.

I have forgotten my password, and I ache for my handful of Westerns.

To re-open my account, I need only to answer three simple questions:

• Where did my parents meet?

• Where was my first job?

• What was my favorite car?

I know the answers, but eight years ago when I first opened an iTunes account — with the help of my son — I must have given some flip answers.

I have carefully typed in every variation of the real answers, every car I’ve owned, every spelling option, every capitalization possibility, every twist of the answers I can imagine only to be shuttered by the corporate monster.

I have pleaded by phone to polite and sympathetic “senior account representatives” to no avail. I cannot prove I am who I say I am since I don’t know my favorite car.

Apple isn’t the same since Steve Jobs died. He never shut down my account and denied me access to “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.”

I’ve wondered what Rooster Cogburn would do under similar circumstances if Judge Parker had locked him out of the Fort Smith, Arkansas, courtroom in “True Grit.”

The Apple representatives have told me that I failed to verify my email. I failed to write down my answers. I failed to write down my password.

I never expected to like iTunes. I may have typed in gibberish as my answers years ago.

My third-year law school son tells me I have no legal claim against the company.

“They have done nothing wrong, Dad. You always taught me personal responsibility. It’s your responsibility to enter your password correctly.”

I suggested that most people prefer that their lawyer tell them what they want to hear instead of pointing out their inconsistencies.

My financial loss is not large. But the emotional damage is big. I had watched “True Grit” a dozen times when there was nothing on TV. Now I’m stuck with few options other than re-runs of “The Bachelor.”

• • • • •

Frank Schilagi of Bermuda Run had the right idea as he forked over six dollars Tuesday morning for three Powerball tickets.

“If I just threw the money out the window it would save time,” he said.

But there is an entertainment value to owning a chance to win a billion dollars. Somebody’s got to win sometime, so it just might be … me. Or Frank.

We are all suckers. The chances are better that we will be struck by lightning or bitten by a shark in Kansas than winning the lottery with a jackpot that has now climbed to an estimated $1.4 billion.

Like Schilagi, I bought three tickets and began to dream of places I’d go, things I’d do and how I’d use the cash.

Of course, I’d be a philanthropist. Of course, I’d help this noble cause and that. Of course, I’d finally see the Grand Canyon.

“Would you quit your job?” asked my secretary.

Of course, not, I told her. This job is fun.

I should have stuck that six dollars in a vacation fund and spent it eventually at the Grand Canyon.

Or bought a replacement DVD of “True Grit.”

• • • • •

In the “Good News” category, there were two daffodils blooming Sunday outside the church doors. This chilly and windy winter weather we’ve had this week won’t last forever. Even if the yellow flowers did bloom a little early, prompted by the warm Christmas week, the flowers are a welcomed harbinger of things to come. It may be cold now, and January and February can seem painfully long, but blooms hiding in the ground will burst forth in their time.

— Dwight Sparks