My computer and I have a very good working relationship, sometimes I even adore it, but like all good relationships there is that defining moment when one discovers that the other squeezes the toothpaste from the wrong end. For me that moment occurred as the computer demanded that I select a password. Not just one password, mind you, for the computer's operating system, but a password for every portal I wanted to enter within the world-wide web.
At first I just went to my "go to" word, a one-size, fits-all word that I would remember forever. But lately a little block comes up that reads "weak," or "medium," or the illusive "strong." I'm beginning to believe my computer thinks my choice of password is an Olympic event! Four point five, seven point two, this computer is judging my selection performance! How do I know, really, if this is a biased Russian or Korean judge or even a Cupertino judge? Maybe I like weak passwords because they are easy to remember. Or maybe I just enjoy being hacked because it is counter productive. But no, the computer cautions password protocol "must have at least eight characters, two of which must be numerals."
That is where my problem begins – remembering numbers, or senseless characters with numbers that aren't sequential, or combinations that don't have anything to do with anything that might trigger a memory, or that can’t be so obvious that they might be guessed – because these make the strongest passwords. There are even password-protected sites that have a list of banned passwords, but the list in no way resembles George Carlin's infamous list. A password like 1234ABCD is banned, but interestingly enough, an "expletive-deleted" word or combination of "expletive-deleted" words is strong. Computers apparently appreciate middle-school humor.
There are so many sites with so many passwords that I couldn't keep them straight and my brain turned into the dreaded spinning beach ball of death. My attempts at every combination of words, numbers and letters only resulted in getting me locked out of several sites.
Finally, I did the unforgivable in network security, I wrote all the information down. Red lights flashed, annoying buzzers went off, "Break in Security" "Break in Security" sounded throughout the house. Yes, the evidence was there; on a neatly typed piece of paper appeared numerous site names, user names and passwords. Fearing grave repercussions, and there are always grave repercussions when security is breached, I needed to find a place to hide the paper. It would need to be secreted away to a place that only I would know how to access. Its location could not be predictable or in plain sight, it needed to be someplace esoteric enough that it would remain safe under the ultimate disaster conditions – a zombie invasion! I found that place and it remains there to this day. Now, I just need to remember where that is.