At a certain age, when you have a pain that should go away in a few days, it never goes away in a few days. My left hip has been hurting now since the Vietnam War ended, so the doctor recommended that I take a new medicine that would surely solve the problem if it didn’t kill me. I got the prescription filled at the pharmacy, where — thanks to my comprehensive health insurance — I only had to turn over two mortgage payments.

After I got the medicine, I read the information sheet carefully. Much too carefully.

Before taking this medication, I should have told my doctor or pharmacist that I am allergic to ingredients in this medication and also to horseradish. Furthermore, I should have gone over with my doctor or pharmacist my entire medical history, including any bleeding problems, eye diseases and the time I accidentally slashed open a part of my thigh with a scissors. (In my defense, it was a right-handed scissors and I am a leftie.)

Dizziness and headache may occur when taking this medication. Alcohol or marijuana taken with this medication can make you even more dizzy but at least you will be in a better mood when you stumble and crash into the glass coffee table. Do not drive, use machinery or listen to talk radio while taking this medication until you can do it safely and not scream “Are you kidding me?”

To reduce the risk of dizziness when you get up from a sitting position, hit yourself hard in the groin with a hammer so you will not want to get up.  Permanent blindness may follow and if it does, you will not be able to read this listing of side effects.

While taking this medication, unusual dreams may occur, including one where you are naked dangling from a flagpole in the middle of the Roman Forum and being whipped by your first-grade teacher, Miss Bave. If you have had this dream before, decrease your dosage. If you have never had this dream before and would like to, take two extra pills at bedtime.

Get medical help right away if you notice slime coming out of your fingertips or if oatmeal appears attractive. There could be sudden weight gain, which you will recognize when you can’t put on any clothes because they no longer fit and you have to go naked to your business meeting at the Roman Forum.

Hair loss can happen during the first few months of treatment with this medication. After that, you are likely to grow excessive hair on your bedside lamp. A very serious reaction to this medicine is rare, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be the one person in 10,886 who actually gets enlarged nose hair.

This medication also may weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, coughs and bubonic plague. If you come down with bubonic plague, call 911 immediately and explain first that you are not pranking them. When walking through the neighborhood with bubonic plague, you must avoid being near people who are sick or have recently been sick or who post comments on white supremacist websites and are really sick

In rare cases, you can die from this medication. It’s possible you may prefer that to enlarged nose hair.

Make sure to take this medication with food, which never ever means Doritos or a frozen White Castle hamburger. Also, be sure to drink at least one eight-ounce glass of water with the pill to help minimize occasional retching and regular projectile vomiting.

If you are pregnant while taking this medicine and are a man, reduce activity and contact the National Enquirer.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than projectile vomiting.

This is not a complete list of side effects. If you encounter other side effects not listed above, boy, are you in trouble. If these side effects persist or worsen, you are probably dead.

 

The other morning I woke up — always good news — and my left hip really hurt, which is the bad news, but not the unexpected news, since I am of the age when something hurts almost every morning when I get up.

It’s important here to note that for a man my age, I am in excellent health for someone 132 years old. Of course, naturally, at this age, I have the regular aches and pains, and sometimes a body part falls off.

This pain in my left hip, however, was quite different. For one thing, I am used to my right hip hurting and I generally prefer that my body aches know their place. For another, the pain was so severe I saw stars, and considering how bad my vision is, I was impressed. In addition, I couldn’t walk. Or stand. I was also unable to play the harpsichord, at least in part because I’m not exactly sure I know what a harpsichord is and whether it’s part of the woodwinds or the strings.

I thought that this pain in my left hip would go away soon, or at least before I started having my more familiar pain in my right hip or the occasional pain in my left shoulder. Or the stiffness in my back. Or the clicking sound I feel in my knee. Or the tingling in my bunions. (Actually, my bunions do not usually tingle and are generally fine, but I just like saying the word bunions a lot.)

But the pain in my left hip didn’t go away soon. In fact, it didn’t go away at all. In fact, it got worse, meaning that in addition to not being able to walk or play the harpsichord, I also couldn’t play the French horn.

I went to see my doctor. I explained to my doctor that my left hip hurt. My doctor asked if I had fallen on my hip. No. Had I stretched my hip in an unusual manner? No. Had I banged my hip into a harpsichord? No.

After much consideration, the doctor decided that I had a bad hip. She sent me to get x-rays to confirm her judgment and make sure my bad hip wasn’t worse.

The x-rays confirmed that I had a hip (they also mentioned, in passing, that the hip bone was connected to the thigh bone and that the thigh bone was connected to the knee bone, and that, medically speaking, all dem bones were dry).

For a further evaluation, I then saw an orthopedist. An orthopedist is a specialist specializing in orthos. After making sure my insurance covered a consultation with a medical practitioner with a bizarre sub-specialty that was not in the formulary, the doctor asked if I had fallen on my hip. No. Had I stretched my hip in an unusual manner? No. Had I banged my hip into a harpsichord or maybe, perhaps, a French horn? No.

After much consideration, the orthopedist pinpointed the cause of my hip pain. You’re getting older, he said. Try to get younger.

 

 

Your privacy is important to us. We care about your privacy. We really do. Protecting your privacy is extremely important to us, particularly because there are a whole bunch of new laws that threaten us with significant fines and maybe even jail time if we don’t say how important your privacy is to us at least three times.

We care so much about your privacy, we’re letting you know that we have stopped selling all your data to hackers in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In the future, we will only sell to hackers who assure us they are based in Moldova.

We take our responsibility to protect your privacy very seriously and believe that you should have the power to choose how your information is shared with oligarchs, gangsters and predatory pharmaceutical companies.

You have a right to privacy and the right to decide what piece of your identity you will be willing to give up in exchange for the ability to know which beach parties your old high school classmates have been to recently. Having recently recognized that right, thanks to several subpoenas, we’re updating our privacy notice to more clearly explain our data-sharing practices so you can know more clearly what deep trouble you are in.

This notice describes what data we collect from you and how we may share that information while you are sleeping or just mildly intoxicated.

The information we collect includes, but is not limited to, your name, address, phone number, creatinine level, deodorant use, the list of the last books you almost finished but not quite, your social security number, your treasured recipe for vanilla French toast, any T-shirts that no longer have a readable how-to-wash tag remaining on them, your driver’s license number and your password for the NCAA Tournament Pool that you forget every year when the tournament comes around.

We may also collect information about any business transactions you may have had with us as well as with others, including the time you shorted that snooty waiter at that snotty pseudo-French vegetarian-Asian fusion place in Bushwick.

Under our updated policy, we may share your data with any of our business partners who have paid us a tidy sum so they can blister your inbox with ads for compression socks. This, of course, would be subject to our partners’ own privacy policies, and if you think we are bad, wait till you see what they are going to do with your data. Just one word: Uzbekistan.

Please note that we only disclose information about our customers to those businesses which ask us politely. We also may share information with anyone else.

You may change your privacy selections at any time, as long as when you contact us, you provide your password while singing the Marseillaise in E flat.

If you do not want us to share your information at all, please contact us immediately as soon as we stop laughing.

What makes a good retirement? Having money helps, of course. Research has shown that it’s much better than not having money. Seventy-eight percent of retired people with money say they wish they had 78 percent more money.

But money isn’t everything, although it’s a great help when you’re buying stuff. To have a successful, fulfilling retirement, you can’t just lie in bed all day, no matter how attractive that is and how good a mattress you have. Sometimes you’ll have to get up and go to the bathroom.

If you want to succeed at retirement, you have to work at it. Here’s how:

Learn a new skill. Learning new skills keeps an aging mind sharp. I, for instance, have taken up inter-cranial neurosurgery and it has kept my mind extremely sharp, except when I take the anesthesia myself by mistake. It also has done wonders for my manual dexterity and made me a little money on the side that I use to buy some really good tranquilizers to settle my nerves when I’ve made the wrong incision.

Learning a new skill keeps those neurons firing and even though that may give you the occasional migraine and cause the sprinklers to activate, research has shown it’s a good thing and improves cognitive skills. Remember to add a new skill every 3,500 miles or three months, whichever comes first.

Make new friends. Many of your old friends, of course, have died or worse, only want to talk about baseball. In retirement, you need new friends whose stories of buying Microsoft at 23 cents a share you don’t already know and who will not ask you if you have been able to figure out the new Medicare guidelines. Through these new friends, you can make new enemies, which will keep your blood boiling at a very healthy 98.6.

Give back to your community. Over the years, your community has given you a lot. Now’s the time to return the favor. So get out there and sweep some streets, frisk some dangerous-looking individuals who are just lurking around doing nothing. Direct traffic on the nearest 4-lane highway. Instead of pulling over when you hear an ambulance siren behind you, plow straight ahead, leading the ambulance to where it is going. They will thank you later.

Giving back will give you a sense of self-worth that you may be able to exchange for half a bitcoin.

Challenge yourself. Just because you’ve gotten older doesn’t mean you must shrink from mental or physical challenges. As the poet said, a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a step stool for?

Remember, you don’t have to climb Everest or swim the English Channel to prove you’ve still got it. Start small by seeing if you can change the channels on your TV set without using the remote. Build from there. Then confront your deepest fears and leap off that cliff. It would be good, it goes without saying, if you had a parachute with you, an experienced guide to hold your hand and it was a pretty small cliff.  Also make sure your insurance premiums have been paid.

Have a positive attitude about your future. Sometimes it’s difficult to think positively, particularly when you can’t find your car keys and you are driving 85 on the interstate. But think of all the good things that have happened in your life and how fortunate you are that you can remember some of them. Then think about all the things you still can do and will do, as long as your money holds out and you don’t break your hip while looking for your car keys.

Be engaged. Being engaged becomes even more important as we age. Just don’t tell your spouse about it.

 

The worst part is not that we don’t understand the specials recited by the waiter and have no idea if free-range is better than grain-fed. It’s not that we can’t read the small type on the menu, particularly the listing of $16 desserts. It’s that when we go out to a restaurant, we can’t hear a damn thing.

Sometime within the last 25 years or so, restaurant owners got together and decided that they would really prefer running New York City subway cars instead. They determined that what makes a restaurant attractive and inviting is the relentless roar of a Boeing 767 just beside your table.

Everywhere you go — fancy establishment with condescending servers or neighborhood hang-out, with condescending diners — there is now a continuous din. It’s made up of equal parts people talking, waiters yelling, dishes clanging, background music wailing and what appear to be explosive devices exploding. It begins at the door and envelopes every restaurant in a thick mist of screech.

It is possible that, perhaps, all this noise does make a place more enticing and gives it a certain vibe, sort of like the earthquake did for San Francisco. At least this may be true for some people. Yes, perhaps this works for young people, who are willing to put up with excessive noise because they have ears that have not been dulled by years of not listening to their children complain.

It doesn’t work for older people. When we go out to dinner, we want to be able to have intimate conversations about who we know is having surgery. We want to quietly discuss the issues of the day, like why are late-night TV talk shows always on so late?

A noisy restaurant is a problem because our hearing doesn’t function as well as it used to, which can be a bonus if we want to pretend we have no idea what you’re talking about when you’re talking about long-term-care insurance. But in a loud restaurant, it creates difficulties.

That’s why, in noisy eating places, older people have conversations something like this:

“What did he say the special was? Did he say chimichurri or Jimmy’s special curry?”

“I think he said spiced pork belly.”

“No, I don’t think it’s smelly. It’s just the atmosphere.”

“What?”

“Thanks, but I don’t want to share an appetizer.”

“My sister’s fine. How’s your steak?”

“What?”

“Do you know where the bathroom is?”

“I don’t think there is a barroom here.”

“Did you say that’s George Clooney over there?”

“You’re right — if you said the cauliflower tastes just a bit off. Needs more nutmeg.”

“Nuts? No, I prefer the shrimp salad.”

“What?”

“No, I don’t remember if you turned the oven off before we left. Wasn’t that your job?”

“It’s not your water glass. It’s my water glass.”

“Could you pass the bread, please?”

“What?”

“The bread. Could you pass it, please?”

“No, the bathroom is in the back.”

“I think I once passed a kidney stone, too.”

“What?”

“Do you want to taste a bit of my salmon satay?

“Sure, I’ll pass the bread.”

“What?”

“What?”

“You can say that again.”

 

We are inundated today with more information than we could ever use, if we ever decided to use information. It’s more information than we could ever understand, particularly when it comes to food.

At restaurants, we are told where the chickens were raised, who grew the kohlrabi and whether the lemongrass has been arrested for smoking grass. But for those of us who prefer less information, who remember eating before it became a spelling and pronunciation test, there are problems even when we eat at home.

Every food now has a Nutrition Facts label, mainly designed so we can worry about whether we’re taking in too much sodium or not enough unsaturated fat. We read and wonder, will this be good for our gout or bad for our goiter? Are we getting just the right amount of carbs or too much riboflavin? Why no Vitamin C but all that unnecessary zinc?

We scan to check out how much magnesium our Hershey’s almond-nut-bar is providing, and what percentage of our daily need for magnesium that is, even if we don’t understand what magnesium is.

Of course, these facts are totally useless, unless you really do want to know how much magnesium is in your Hershey’s almond-nut bar if that’s a factor in considering whether you should switch to the Nestle’s banana-pomegranate bar.

What we need are Nutrition Facts we could really use. Here are some.

Serving size: Not nearly enough.

When you’re really hungry, let’s admit it: you don’t actually care that much about cardiovascular disease. You don’t focus on diabetes. You’re not concerned that what you’re eating may make your nails turn purple. You just want a really large pretzel. Or three. If they come with chips and melted cheese, even better.

Calories per serving: Not applicable.

We all understand that it’s important to limit the number of calories we take in each day. According to numbers from the U.S. Department of Numbers, on an average day the average person should take in an average of 2,000 calories. But that doesn’t include the age bonus! For every additional five years you’ve lived, you get an extra 5,000 calories. If you’ve not had hernia surgery during those years, add 2,500 more.

The 2,000 figure also doesn’t include any days in the past when you took in fewer than 2,000 calories. Like when you had the flu or fell asleep on a transatlantic flight. Or when you had the flu on a transatlantic flight and infected the people sitting next to you. You’re entitled to those calories. They owe you. Be sure to collect.

Total Fat: 22 percent of daily value.

The way I interpret this, it means you can still eat 78 percent more fat. The good news is that it’s early and there are still more Ruffles in the pantry.

Saturated fat: 80 grams.

You don’t have to worry about this because no one born before 1970 really knows what a gram is and several state legislatures are considering banning them as un-American.

Sodium: 720 grams.

The National Institutes of Health recently found that the right amount of sodium may either be good or bad for your health or maybe somewhere in between. Or as they finally determined, in a meta-analysis of other analyses, who really knows?

The NIH, however, does now recommend that people above the age of 50 who are on a low-sodium diet should stop trying to remember how really good those French fries were.

Dietary fiber: 14 percent of daily value.

As we all know, fiber can help lower cholesterol, improve heart health and keep us regular, although it does tend to stick in your teeth. It is particularly important as our metabolism changes and we lose most of our teeth. Fiber can be found in whole grains, legumes and old cardboard boxes that you’ve kept in the storage shed for reasons you no longer remember. Legumes, incidentally, can be found in the legume section of your supermarket.

If we want to stay healthy, exercising isn’t enough. We also have to watch what we eat and drink. No more diets full of Doritos, cheap beer and other essential nutrients.

We have to start eating foods that help us ward off cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, arthritis and memory … yes, right, lapses. There are foods that can boost our immune system, prevent cancer and help us deal with tennis elbow even if we’ve never played tennis and get our cardio exercise from Words With Friends.

These are called superfoods. We have given them this name because Doritos was already taken. Here’s the list of what they are and what they can do for you.

Blueberries: They are rich in antioxydants, which will help fight off any oxydants that try to robo call you at home after 9 p.m. Blueberries also boast flavonoids, which may help prevent heart attacks by scaring them off with such a scary word.

Dark chocolate: Consuming a small amount of dark chocolate — at least 70 percent or dark enough when it melts to ruin your new white shirt or blouse — can boost memory if you can remember where you’ve hidden the chocolate so your partner can’t find it.

Asparagus: This is a vegetable high in lycopene, which has been found to protect the spleen, pancreas and other weird internal organs against libel suits filed by jilted email correspondents. It also can help reduce the risk of seeing your life being made into a Lifetime TV movie of the week.

Apples: Full of soluble fiber, apples help reduce cholesterol. That’s the bad cholesterol, obviously. Probably. Or maybe they increase the good cholesterol. Or it’s possible they make the bad cholesterol into the good cholesterol by dissolving some of it in those little snack boxes of apple sauce.

Broccoli: Broccoli is high in vitamins such as A, C, B9, B52, C3PO and R2D2. That means your eyes, red blood cells, bones and tissues all benefit from this vegetable as long as they don’t have to eat it.

Butternut squash: This is a vegetable that brims with beta-carotene, which is important for crossword puzzle clues, as long as the missing word is more than seven letters and begins with a B. In addition, it also offers a healthy amount of potassium, which helps you find emory boards during those physically stressful moments when you have a hangnail.

Fava beans: Low in fat, low in sodium and low in flavor, these beans have plenty of manganese and iron, which is what probably makes them taste so awful. Their inability to be easily digested will help keep your weight down.

Coffee: This beverage is full of folate, thiamin and riboflavin, also known as the three stooges of nutrition. The National Institutes of Health has found that people who drink two cups a day of coffee were 32 percent more likely to need the restroom when the time came to split the check, thus greatly helping their financial health.

Red wine: A glass a day of red wine can help protect against those pompous chardonnay drinkers who want to talk to you about their recent river cruise down the Loire Valley.

Echo and Alexa, Siri and Cortana, the Vitamix and the Spiralizer. Bluetooth and Blu-ray. Fitbits and Kindles, Fire and Roku, Glipsies and Shmaltzers. (It’s possible I may have made those last two up, although, to be honest, I’m not quite sure.)

In recent years, obviously, there has been an avalanche of new technological devices and services, all of which apparently do things we didn’t know needed doing. I now have a watch, for instance, that tells me my heart rate, how many miles I’ve run, how many laps I’ve swum, how many steps I’ve taken, how many calories I’ve expended, how many hours I’m sleeping — or not sleeping — and whether I should be doing some laundry.

This is part of a worrisome trend. Devices never used to be multi-taskers. A scissors cut, it didn’t play music. A stapler stapled, it didn’t send messages. A refrigerator cooled things, it didn’t give you directions.

Devices, which were not called “devices” in the past, but, more accurately, “things,” used to be simple single-taskers. They knew how to focus on their task and not get distracted by frequently checking their phones.

And so you didn’t need 97-page online manuals to figure out how to use the scissors, unless, of course, you’re a lefty, like me, and it’s always a right-handed scissors.  (You righties, with your sense of innate, unexamined privilege, have no idea what it’s like to live in a world dominated by right-handed measuring cups.)

With old things, you didn’t need a series of unintelligible diagrams to decipher where in the refrigerator you should put the vegetables and where you should put the fruits, unless of course you were confused about the status of the tomato, which is truly a fruit parading around as a non-conforming vegetable.

But today, as we are awash in this new generation of technology, many of us from a previous generation — by that I mean me — are floundering, still unable to figure out how to create a PDF or even what those letters stand for (Private Dance Floor maybe? Precious Diamond Factory?).

We had been sold a bill of goods and told that all this new technology was designed, among other things, to help us communicate better. Which is why we frequently hear from a robotic voice that our call is important to somebody, although it’s not nearly as important to them as it is to us because, frankly, they’re a machine and have all the time in the world and don’t have to go to the bathroom and we do.

We had been told the technology was designed to streamline our existence, and I guess it does, as long as we don’t have to set it up, install it, connect it, upgrade it, post to it, link to it or understand it. But we do.

And to do all that, we do need my watch’s 97-page online manual. Unfortunately, the only words I actually understood in the manual are the heading on the first page: “Getting Started.” That’s where I stopped.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the town

not a hashtag was liked, even Twitter was down.

The stockings were hung for the retina display

in hopes no ‘net trolls would take them away.

The children were nestled, all snug and secure,

while Big Data strip-mined their free FICO score.

***

Alexa kept all our new devices humming

while Amazon’s Echo said, of course, it’s coming.

The USB ports were all fully employed

as we began charging our Motorola Droid.

Our old search engine was completely optimized

even though we’ve no idea what that signified.

***

Our Fitbit was running and Netflix were streaming,

young children everywhere were pleasantly dreaming

of toys and gifts that would become a new meme,

of toys and gifts that’d be the crème de la cream.

***

Sure, we should have been using an iPhone X,

but paying a whole grand? For those fancy specs?

We weren’t concerned about an Equifax breach —

we had our proxy firewall within easy reach.

***

We livestreamed and crowdsourced to Kickstart our night

and logged on to Squarespace to set up our site.

We ran Kaspersky and cleaned the plasma screen,

we signed on to Skype to transmit the whole scene.

We downloaded a number of total killer apps —

our mobile devices never suffered a lapse.

We chatted on whatsapp to find out what’s up;

with our VPN firewall, no need for backup.

***

We scanned news on Reddit and opened Spotify.

We didn’t even log off when the server went awry.

We still had Google Plus and even Google Chrome.

And of course there was Foursquare we could call home.

Our Instagram pix were almost all ready

while our 4G LTE was amazingly steady.

We took 50 selfies and saved them to Pinterest.

We uploaded to Dropbox the ones that were the best.

We checked our Facebook page and scanned the Huff Post,

we raised our Tumblrs and made a hearty toast.

We pinged and snapchatted all through the long night

to make sure our terminology was exactly right.

***

Then on the back deck, beside the satellite dish,

there came a loud sound and we knew something was amiss.

Was it a drone or a sneaky photobomb

or an IPO launch by a unicorn dotcom?

So I went to my Roku to check out the clatter,

to see if something was wrong with my data.

When what to my pixel-ated eyes should appear,

but a mixed-media sleigh and eight remote-controlled reindeer.

I knew in an instant after checking my OS,

that Santa was here, and in some distress.

And then in a twinkling I saw from my futon,

that poor old St. Nick didn’t have his red suit on.

***

His eyes were all watery, his emoji a frown.

He said, with a grimace, his WiFi was down.

There will be no gifts tonight, he added apace —

“I have no spreadsheets, nor my database!”

***

Santa couldn’t do it? There would be such a lack.

Were we the victims of the latest Russian hack?

***

Could we find a way through this terrible mess?

Could we find a way without our GPS?

We thought of creating a new avatar

or getting FedEx from a self-driving car

— or maybe just getting a drink at the bar.

The whole scene had become incredibly eerie,

at this point we couldn’t even count on our Siri.

***

Then we heard from someone who used to read Wired,

from someone who was no longer high-tech inspired.

Santa, we were told, could do it by hand.

He wasn’t a slave of a high-frequency band.

He didn’t need the Cloud or to send a new text.

He didn’t need high-def or whatever comes next.

All he’d need was a big sack and a big hearty laugh.

He wouldn’t need 10 megagigs — not even half.

***

His eyes, how they twinkled, his smile gleamed so brightly!

His bandwidth was solid, his GIFs were quite sprightly.

He sprang to his sleigh, the reindeer came near.

He blasted Sirius XM while still in first gear.

I heard him exclaim as he cruised out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good byte.”

You are concerned, understandably, about the recent massive data breach at Equifax and at other sites where your personal information, including your locker number at the gym, may have been exposed. What should you do?

Check your credit report. Does it say that you’ve requested a mortgage to buy a condo on the beach in Kiev? Ha! There is no beach in Kiev. It’s inland. Instead, try for a small, rustic but tasteful dacha in the Kiev suburbs.

Does your credit report also say you have opened accounts at several Swiss banks and purchased the nation of Liechtenstein? This probably means your personal data is being used in ways that are not in your interest. Given your druthers, you would have purchased Luxembourg.

Set up fraud alerts. If your personal data and thus identity has been stolen, it would be nice to get a ping on your phone every time some hacker is making believe he is you and is getting invited to better cocktail parties.

Consider a credit freeze. This is easy to do. Take all your credit cards and hide them in the freezer of your fridge, just under the boneless chicken breasts and the organic whole grain frozen waffles. That way, no one will be able to find them and if they do, you still have the chicken breasts.

Change your passwords. This would first require remembering all your passwords or at least finding that torn sheet of paper where you wrote them all down last December, during the last massive data breach. Then, you would have to remember your user name before you could access your account before you could change your password.

Even more embarrassing, you may have to click on both the “Forgot your password?” button and the “Forgot your user name?” button. IT people hiding in the ether will roll their eyes and snigger at you. All in all, it might be better to let the hackers just have your social security number.

Consider two-factor authentication. Some web sites offer additional security features, like putting their hands in your pockets to check for wrappers of old Peppermint Patties and determining if they were yours or someone else’s.

They also require two-factor authentication for you to access your accounts. That means when you enter your password, you will receive a message (usually a text, but sometimes a kiss on the cheek) with a one-time code that you must enter within 90 seconds of receiving it before you can log in.

The 90 seconds goes by pretty quickly, so there is a lot of pressure here, and this is also so complicated that most everyone gives up before authenticating the second factor, thus preserving the integrity of your account, mainly from you.

Change your hairstyle. If your identifying data has been stolen, you’re going to need a disguise. Instead of parting what remains of your hair on the left, consider growing bangs.

Change your identity. Become a hacker. Apparently it’s a growth industry.