Remember when we did not have to remember a million passwords?
The first piece of datum that I had to remember was probably my name. I distinctly remember not knowing how to spell my last name. I was in nursery school, and the task at hand was to draw a picture of your family members – evidently with arms coming of their heads – and sign it on the back. The drawing was no problem but I had to ask my teacher how to spell my last name. I would have been embarrassed were it not for that little “accident” the previous week.
In Kindergarten a phone number was added to the name. It was only seven digits and I used it frequently over the ensuing years to get my parents to pick me up from people’s houses. Add my birthday and the channels for Nickelodeon, MTV, and whatever channel showed “Growing Pains” and you’ve rounded my mental database for elementary school.
When I got to middle school a locker combination was added to the set. I entered this number with such frequency that after a while I did not even see the numbers anymore, and entered the combination by feeling the clicks like a bat or one of those insects that sees through receptors in its knees.
Then in college everything changed. I was given an email account and asked to choose a password and my life since then has been one giant coveyor belt of passwords. A password for Windows accounts for home, and work, and for my co-workers when they are away from their desks. Email passwords for the online account I use and the account to which I send all my online purchase receipts and emails from charities. And…I think that’s…is that it?
No. There’s all those websites that I join not because I need to apply for a “free” registration just to look at-I mean research-a few things. Because there’s a word limit and there might be children reading this, I won’t list the websites here. But trust me, there are a lot.
And these sites all give the same direction: Choose a password that contains at least one capital and lowercase letter, one number, one symbol, is more than eight characters long, and is not like any other password that you have used in the past. In the beginning I used to be able to keep from the different passwords. But after password number sixty-seven I started getting confused. And I don’t remember the security questions either, because I always made the hint very cryptic to fool the team of hackers that I knew were gathered in a cave in Siberia, thousands of miles beneath the frozen tundra, wearing thick rimmed glasses and looking like showers were not an important part of their lives. Looks like the joke is on me.
Perhaps some day I will surmount this obstacle. Perhaps one day scientists will be able to increase intelligence by pumping fat into people’s brains. And perhaps this technique will enable me to memorize thousands of passwords and the names of all the Kardashians.
But in the process, will I forget that who that boy was…that little boy standing in front of his house, who loved his family, who loved life, and who had arms coming out of his ears?