Quick! What’s your password? Which one, you ask? Exactly! That’s my point!
There are so many! Certainly, this is true in our household where we have way more pass codes than my electronically-addled, technophobic brain can handle. Is this symptomatic of being middle–aged and losing memory cells, do you suppose? Or do “young people” have this affliction as well?
I mean, really. Let's start: We have one password each for logging on to our two computers. These are fairly benign three letter jobs. But once we’re in, our internet provider (is that the right term? I also have trouble with correct electronic jargon) occasionally asks us to log in with our password – which is supposed to be in excess of 8 characters, with the recommendation that at least some of them be digits and maybe some upper case letters thrown in just to make it difficult for hackers. Hackers!? These are too difficult even for me and they’re my pass codes. So we created four passwords for our four email accounts, each one with a one-letter or number variation on the same password theme – I think one of them has capital letters in it. I’m stumped every time trying to remember which one is which. So I’ll sit there and type in all the variations (oops, I mean “key” in) I can think of and hope to get it right before I give up and call Ken in case he remembers. I’d write them down somewhere, but there’s no guarantee that I’d remember where I’ve hidden them “for security purposes” (assuming that the hackers will break into our house and find our pass codes in a secret drawer somewhere.)
Then there’s one for our online banking. I must have keyed it in incorrectly one day and it kicked back with the dreaded, “Pass code is not valid. Please try again.” I got rattled. I tried it again but left off a portion of it thinking, “Well, maybe it doesn’t have those two last letters I put in before.” The warning came up again. But this time it said if I wasn’t successful the third time it would assume that I was not the correct user and it would require me to call them to reset the password. Yikes! That’s all I need – another new pass code that I’m not going to remember. PLUS having to go through the “press one for customer service, press two for new passwords” hell. I shut the whole thing down and called Ken in case he remembered. Fortunately he did and I got back into the system. But I always have this uneasy feeling that there is actually a person sitting at the other end of the line tsk-ing over my stupid mistake who is going to shoot back with, “Alright how do I know you are who you say you are?” “Oh, yeah? Prove it.”
The list goes on. I have a password for signing on to my Facebook page as well as one for this blog site. Also my online Weight Watchers account, one for Blockbuster online (fortunately this is one of the few web sites that actually remembers my password, because I have no idea what it is, it’s been so long since we opened the account. I couldn’t even guess what those black dots represent when they come up automatically. I’m sad that we won’t need to rent movies on DVD for much longer – it’s so simple) and several for my favorite selection of online retailers. Not to mention one for the electronic overhead garage door opener and another for our voice message system – make that systems, because we still have a land line (remember when the phone on the kitchen wall was just a “phone”?) plus our cell phones.
Now, I know what you are saying. Yes, yes, some of them are the same code. But just try to recall every place where it is applicable. And I also know that we are supposed to change passwords every once in a while. This thought strikes terror.
A dear friend in
was bemoaning this very topic in an email this week. She teaches drawing and needs to frequently change passwords on her college account. She said she had been using words like “pencil” and “eraser” but was running out of familiar words like that to use that she could easily remember. I suggested that she had all kinds of options if she used the various brands and pencil lead weights, such as Ticonderoga4H, or Kohinoor2B. I like the irony of using low-tech pass codes for high tech access. And besides, does anyone but a drawing teacher know these anymore? Surely they’d be safe from modern day hackers who have probably nevcr used a pencil. Vancouver
She and I also talk about our childhoods on a fairly regular basis. We’re both a tiny bit prone to nostalgia. She told me a great story about her family asking, “What’s the password?” And it was always the same: “Goldfish!” (Word has been changed to protect their security.) I love this. I can see it being a source of gleeful giggles when she and her siblings were little kids. And a faithful, inside joke-kind-of-reminder of childhood as they got older.
In my house, it was my brother, older than me by five years, who would block a doorway and demand a password for me to get by.
“What’s the password?”
“Nope! Sorry! Try again.”
“I don’t know!”
“Nope! Still wrong! Try again.”
“Will you just let me GO!”
“Oooooh, SOOOORRRRY! That’s not it either!”
This would go on for a long time before it would elicit parental intervention.
So, you’d think this experience would have prepared me for a future of guessing passwords. At the very least it should have given me the stamina to try over and over again to get it right. But, hey! This could be good news. Maybe it isn’t my memory that’s the problem! It just might have been this early training that left me with the frustration of never thinking of the right password when I need it!