I’m an analog guy living in a digital world; and without a doubt, my passwords – 55 dozen of them – are the bane of my existence. Remembering them requires major mental gymnastics, so I methodically file them away to keep what’s left of my sanity, which I’m within 2 millimeters of losing altogether. But I need another password to get into the file. It’s an easy-to-remember **********. It’s maddening.
Why are passwords necessary for almost every daily electronic activity? Passwords are certainly necessary for banking and retirement accounts and even for logging onto your computer at work – lest your boss logs onto it and discovers some of your hanky-panky. But why is a password necessary to record your commuting mileage to work? Is somebody going to break into your mileage record and take credit for your hard-driven miles?
If I could have one non-expiring password for everything, life would be wonderful. But no: the password formats vary, as well as the minimum number and type of characters; and all passwords expire.
I’ll share a recent frustrating experience I had while creating a password on a certain online retailer’s site. The instructions were as follows: “Create a 32-character minimum password. Use four lower-case Greek letters and use four Chinese characters. Use a minimum of one special character and eight numerals. The rest is up to you. For your protection and your peace of mind, you must update your password weekly. Happy shopping.”
What mind? Please! Why not specify a minimum of two font colors also? Creating a password like that would take a week, and by then the password’s expired. Who has time for all this password nonsense? That online retailer from password hell went out of business quicker than your electronic devices become obsolete, and that’s quicker than you can get the devices home from the gizmo store and out of the box.
From time to time – no, nearly every day – I have a password issue that drives me nuts. The passwords that I use only once a year are especially vexing. Even if a particular annual password is recorded in my password file, it will usually fail to work a year after it was created. Then when I’m answering the security questions under the button labeled “FORGOT YOUR PASSWORD?”, my entered answer to the birth-place question fails too. How? I know darn well where I was born: Atlanta. Maybe the answer that the computer is expecting is the planet Jupiter. Who knows?
By the way, I made up all that stuff about the online retailer; but given the way things are going, an online retailer’s password requirements like the ones described above isn’t so far-fetched. Additionally, illustrating an important point gives me an author’s license to fabricate anyway. Doesn’t it?
Here’s a tip on how to ease the monthly agony of updating a password. Normally, a one-month password can’t be duplicated in a 24-month period. So I update my passwords by using the upper-case letters of the English alphabet as a monthly password suffix, in this order: A to Z. That’s 26 letters. The passwords remain unchanged except for the suffix, and life is easier.
One day we’ll all need a password just to get out of bed or to get onto Georgia State Route 400, the other bane of my existence. Come to think of it, I wonder if Heaven requires a password for admission. If it does and if you strike out three times when entering the password at the Pearly Gate, do you go directly to the other place by default?