I was signing into some website and it asked for my password. I admit I am one of those complete and troublesome idiots who can never remember any of the 1,271 passwords for my 1,271 most important websites.
Over the years, I have entrusted to one website or another every piece of data that comprises my life. But I also constructed a series of clever passwords no one can ever break.
When I tried to log onto that website, they demanded I identify myself with my secret password. I quickly typed in 1234abcd. (Hackers never expect something so simple. Maybe 1234 or even abcd but never together.)
But that website’s chief of security (a retired nun from Ashtabula) texted me they had no record of my name ever being connected to that password. Ever. And ever. Amen.
Okay, I thought. I got the site confused with another. It happens. I am not perfect. Let he who is without gas get a horse.
Anyway, I quickly typed in abcd1234.
Me: How about ab12cd34
Me: How about: Openupyouchiselheadedcommunisttoepickingdickweed
Website: Sorry. That password has already been taken.
Me: Look. Do you have even the slightest idea who you are trucking with?
Website: Your password should include at least one number, one upper case letter, one lower case letter, one thank you letter to your grandmother for your lovely birthday socks and something that is neither a number nor a letter. How about a rune? Something in Elvish or Pig Latin for example, or, if pressed for time (or pants) a simple semicolon would be okay. Surprise us.
At this point I felt frustrated the way Biblical Job was frustrated when the locusts and the frogs and the armadillos fell out of the sky. (Job 16: 2-4 Then Job answered and said ‘Really? Armadillos? Come on, man!’)
It was the worst possible moment to find myself humiliated. Although, the more I thought about it, there actually was no good time to be humiliated. Hmm. I felt chagrined not knowing that. I checked and, to my continuing humiliation, I found my chagrin tank empty. I badly needed a nap. But I sucked it up and clicked on the humiliation button that taunted “Forgot your password, hee hee?”
I was taken immediately to the page of the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects that. The tone on this exchange of texts was spare and intimidating. Almost Jesuit.
Website: Why did you forget your password? Do you think we have nothing to do all day but think up new passwords for you?
Website: You want a new password? First, prove you’re not a robot.
Me: Wait. What’s wrong with robots? Some of my best friends are robots. In fact, my only friend is a robot.
Website: We don’t allow robots to set foot on our website. They get grease on the virtual carpeting and think they know everything. Plus they need constant oiling. So we need proof you’re human. At the very least an elf.
Me: What kind of proof? How about my American Bowling Congress membership card? Show me a robot who has one of those.
Website. Hold on, nimrod. Congress is full of robots. Everyone knows that.
Me: I believe you’re thinking of the U.S. Congress. A common mistake.
Later, I spoke to Minoochin my number-crunching robot neighbor. He had me buy a software password vault. You enter all your passwords and lock them away with one single password. Only you know it, so only you can sign in. The key, of course: don’t forget that one password.
So, I came up with a doozy. In fact, it’s
The Minooch warned me again to give my new password to no one.
“You give away your belt,” he said, “and your pants fall down.”
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2020, all rights reserved.