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National Editorials & Columns

What’s the password?

We live in the era of the computer password. If you haven’t committed a plethora of passwords to your mental arsenal then you have either been living in a cave for the past two decades or you happen to be a grandpa or grandma with severe technological hindrances.

Passwords are a way of life in this era.

Want to check your email to see how much spam you received regarding genitalia enlargement, prescription pain pills or to learn your distant uncle (and African warlord) passed away and bequeathed his untold fortune to you? Need a password.

Want to hawk some of your meaningless wares that you believe are worth thousands on eBay? Need a password. Hankering for empty social media updates provided by people you barely know on Twitter? Need a password.

Can’t wait to learn the far-reaching political opinions of alleged friends on Facebook regarding gun control, abortion and global warming? Well, guess what, you need a password.

Passwords were once simple to remember, and the most commonly-used password has always been, ironically, password. These days, however, most major Internet services demand password requirements to lessen the chance that someone else will receive your emails involving male genitalia and discount drugs.

I had to create a password the other day that needed to consist of an upper case letter, a number and a strange symbol or character. Why? So I can forget my password right out of the gate? Why can’t my password be a normal password instead of a series of letters, numbers and characters that better resembles computer binary code? Yes having a secure password like, Gth46qW, is great, but good luck at remembering that.

Meanwhile, who can forget a password like “awesome”?

I can almost pretend to understand the case sensitive letters, and it’s an easy fix. Just capitalize the first letter of your normal password: Awesome. It’s the mandatory numbers and crazy characters that seem so senseless.

Take numbers for instance. A person only really has two choices. Either pick a number that can be easily predicted by others, such as your birth year, or choose an insane combination of numbers you will regrettably wind up forgetting.

Most Internet login services also require a symbol or character, too. Because that’s what a normal person will likely remember right, strange, arbitrary symbols and characters.

So at the end of the day I had a password that looked something like this: Awe$ome79. (I like the dollar sign because it provides the suggestion that I have or make a lot of money, which I don’t.)

Oh sure, it’s called a password but only in name. What it should really be called is a purposeless string of garbled letters, numbers and characters a normal person will not be able to commit to long or short term memory. Passwords that are so good that they even keep the user locked out.

It would be nice to have all of my computer passwords the same but technology prevents it. So I’m just not trying to remember “Awe$ome79”, but I also need to remember several other complicated passwords that are just as confusing and hard to recollect.

Forgetting a password is so aggravating, too. As if there aren’t enough real things in real life to remember or keep track of. Repeatedly typing in what you think your password is and getting an error message is the Internet equivalent of losing your car keys.

Well, it looks like it’s time to email this column off to my editor now.

I just hope I can remember my email password.

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