ON MY MIND: That never-ending word

On My Mind | Maureen Burns

Oh, man, is anyone else as weary as I am … of that never-ending word. Password. Create a password. Put in your password. Give us your password. Remember your password. Or as I think of it, the heck with my password.

Of course, that is not singular, it is plural. One password is not good enough. No, no, we are required to have a gazillion passwords. Passwords for everything.

Last night I was deeply engrossed in the Golden Globes Award show when my husband yelled down, “What is your password for Delta Skymiles?” I instantly yelled back some long bunch of letters and numbers. I didn’t fool him, though. He knew that couldn’t be right. Mainly, it couldn’t be right because I would never have known my password right off the top of my head.

I tried that trick of using the same word for all of my passwords. That worked for a while. Then they got all snotty and started demanding I capitalize a letter. I am sure this was just to confuse me. Then they wanted me to add some numerals, too. Why, I wondered, why oh why???

I have pages and pages of passwords. Some are no longer relevant, but of course, I don’t know which ones work and which ones don’t.

I have several passwords for some of the same things. I have so many Apple passwords I could start a fruit stand.

Now, I have begun to put the date by the password when I first get it. I am hoping this will help me know which password is the most current.

I fondly remember the days when all I needed was one four digit pin for my ATM card. They gave me one, but that of course, wasn’t good enough. I had to make up my own with some trivia of my life so I would always be able to remember the sucker. I do remember it even now, but of course, I never use it anymore.

As I have gone through several different computers and several different servers, I have accumulated a plethora of passwords. Recently, when I got an iPhone, they perkily said, “Now we just need your Apple password.” Gasp.

I guess there are several problems with this password mess. One, I do not want to be held responsible for my own passwords. I want someone else to do it. I suppose that goes against the whole big secret security idea.

I also think another problem I have is I often scribble passwords on scraps of paper, which can end up any ole place in my office. I try. I even try hard, but getting all those passwords organized, kept up to date, in a spot where I will have ready access to them but no one else will ever find them — all of that scenario just wears me out to think about it.

I am not a dummy, oh, no. I do remember things. I know my driver’s license number by heart. And my social security number and my birthdate — oh, you don’t think that counts as anything brainy? I also remember nonimportant things like phone numbers of babysitters I had when my kids were little, friends who no longer live here — you get the drift. In other words, I remember all kinds of stuff that isn’t important. What I do not remember are my passwords or where they are.

Of course my mate isn’t like me. If he tells me one more time how I need to put all my passwords on a list, I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’m sure it won’t be sweet. He recently put all his passwords on a list and put one in an accessible safe place and the other in a lock box. Whatever.

I see no end in sight for this password mania. I am wondering if after trying to live a good life and all — if one day I will finally make it to the golden gates of heaven only to be turned away because I had to have a password and I didn’t remember where I put it. If this comes to be a reality, do you think they might accept that old ATM pin number or the phone number of a babysitter from years ago or a … ?????

Maureen Burns, a Greenville resident, is a professional speaker and author. Her e-mail address is maureenburns@maureenburns.com.

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