Passwords

I hate passwords. I hate programs that require passwords. I hate the idea that somebody else decided I cannot function in this world without a password. And I especially hate the apps that think I need to change my password every 90 days.

Here’s how it goes. Create an account. I don’t really want an account. I just want to buy something, or update a government form. But in order to get past the virtual bouncer at the door I have to sign up and log in. It drives me nuts.

Account created. Please enter your password. Okay. “Dog”. That’s stupid you idiot. That will never do. You have to have at least 17 characters, use at least one upper case letter, 6 numbers not in sequential order, no numbers or letters can be repeated, and be sure to use at least one symbol. *, <, %, !, {, =, or ^. But don’t dare try to use &, ), [, #, or @. These are off limits.

Who in the name of Thor made these rules. On good days I can barely remember my own address. How am I going to remember a password that looks like the serial number from hell. In fact, the ole’ Devil himself may be behind the whole conspiracy. Old fashioned sins are committed in the act of creating passwords.

The idea of passwords is bred out of promoting the shameless fear of being hacked. Once you create one password for one specific use, the rule makers tell you not to use it over and over. You must create more cryptic codes for everything you log into. Evidently, guys in dark rooms all over the world in some dank little village across the ocean are just waiting to hack my computer and steal my $137.42.

Some of you buy into this theory. It’s hard not to. You have a piece of paper sitting close by your computer with 63 passwords written on it. Some of them are scratched through because the bouncer guy made you create a new one. You rack your brain for a new sequence of gibberish. Submit. Sorry, that’s not good enough. Try again. Submit. Oh no you don’t. That one’s even more stupid than the first one. Try again. And by the time you finish, all you see are those little dots and you have no idea what you typed in.

When did our lives get this crazy? I get it. We sign up for all kinds of things that are designed to protect us. Like insurance. It’s a necessary evil we say. We pay out boat loads of money for protection that we seldom use. When you do need it, you’re thankful. But most of the time we are thinking, “If I had all the money I’ve paid out in premiums and never used, I’d own two beach houses and a cattle farm in Wyoming.”

I’m pretty simple minded, I guess. I just don’t get all worked up about passwords. If some sicko steals my identity, I’ll deal with it. I don’t bank online. I don’t “save” my credit card numbers on Google. I still write checks to pay bills. I use this old timey thing called an envelope and a stamp. I don’t even own a debit card.

I refuse to be paranoid about the perfect password. I refuse to obsess over keeping up with some obscure code to make me feel better about being safe. Call me careless if you want. I’m really sorry if you’ve been hacked and had your identity stolen. It must be awful. But I have to believe it’s not the end of the world. And I’m betting you had a really good password that had all the right squiggles and number sequences. The guy that broke in on your world is probably capable of breaking into the Pentagon. If passwords worked, all the hackers would find another job.

I have one password for everything. I worked really hard at getting all the right characters in place. Sometimes there’s a cap, sometimes not. That’s the only thing different I have to keep up with. The password police tell me that I have a really strong password. Which makes me feel safe when I use it. But just to prove to you how ridiculous I think all of this is I’m going to share it with you. You can look at all my stuff. I’m sure you can probably photo shop my pictures and make me fun of me on Instagram. I’ll no doubt be an easy target.

So, here goes. Write this down on that piece of paper with all your other private information. My password: ∙∙∙∙∙∙∙∙∙. Hey, I may be grouchy but I wasn’t born yesterday.

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