What the Fuck Is My Wifi Password?

What the Fuck Is My Wifi Password?
Photo: Bryan Menegus

I don’t really know how it happened, or why a thing with no moving parts suddenly fails catastrophically, but my modem shit the bed.

Almost exactly a week after wifi in huge swaths of the country went down due to Hurricane Isaias, my internet stopped working yesterday again. My roommate and I went through the usual rigmarole of hurling reboots, unpluggings, and strong language at the problem, but no luck. This would be a nuisance in the Before Times; in pandemic America, for someone who’s job is predicated on being online, it was a problem in need of immediate solving.

Two hours on hold with Optimum last night — which gave me precisely enough time to read the first collection of Mickey Zacchilli’s RAV (it’s very good) — led to a service appointment to replace a supposedly fried modem. Said appointment has come and gone. All I have to show for it is a brand new modem, a monolithic gatekeeper on my normally simple road to the information superhighway, and this cardboard box that is dangling the goddamn keys in front of my face.

I have tried, to the best of my imagination, every iteration of letters, numbers, and characters these sharpie squiggles imply, e.g.:

  • The first character as a “g” or a “9”
  • The third-to-last as an “8,” “&,” or at the insistence of my colleague Sam Rutherford, a capital “B”
  • Swapping the “o” with “O” or “0″
  • Changing the apparent “5”s to “S”es
  • Putting all of these options into some sort of grid or matrix and systematically testing them one by one

None of it works! What kind of bullshit riddle am I looking at here?!

As I write this, back on hold with Optimum where I am told approximately once every 30 seconds that they are experiencing “longer than normal wait times” due to “unusually high call volume” and that for “product, pricing, and troubleshooting information” I ought to “visit [their] website.” Sounds great — wish I could use the service I pay you for to get there!

My editor suggested that perhaps posting the password to my home wifi network on a public blog is unwise unless I planned to change it later. With full sincerity: NOTHING WOULD GIVE ME MORE PLEASURE.

I leave it to you, the reader, who I assume is thinking more clearly, to tell me what on earth I could possibly be missing here. Please help. I never want to see the word “chestnut” for the rest of my stupid life.

Update: The correct answer was indeed the simplest — 95-chestnut-2805 — but it only worked after restoring the router/modem combo to factory settings. Unclear if this was a refurbished device or what but god damn, it’s good to be back.

Much as I would now love to change the name and password of my local wifi to truly any single other thing, Optimum has a new treat for me:

Screenshot: Me, having the time of my life Screenshot: Me, having the time of my life