“Forgot Password”

Roger Clark
August 2023

To access my company email with the phone requires a password. So does my payroll. And Per Diem. Gmail. Social Security. Medicare. I even need a password to log into my passwords, which doesn’t faze the folks in IT at all. Clearly, they’ve never seen the irony. 

For years I got away with the same word, no matter which account it was for. Now I can’t even use the same concept. Now there needs to be at least eight characters, and one capital letter. Oh, and some upper case, some lower case. Then a symbol. Or a hyphen. And maybe an underscore, whatever that is! 

Just make sure it’s vague enough that no one else will get it, but memorable enough that I won’t forget it. Well now, that’s comforting. I remember when I was age five, but don’t know today where my pickup keys are. Yet unblinking eyes of the internet gods are watching, and they don’t like commonality. They don’t like sequence, and certainly will not tolerate passwords from the past. Especially the use of the word “Password” used as a password. I know. I tried. 

In fact, I’ve tried everything, from cars and trucks, to bottles and cans. I’ve tried the names of friends, family, streets, rivers, and rest areas. I’ve used calendars, menus, billboards, and even Chilton’s Motor Manual.  

No one outside my family remembers the dog’s name, a county we lived in, or who actually owned the boat I was born on, but no place on the internet will accept these passwords. All I want to do is record my per diem, or transfer some funds, but first I have to jump through the hoops of user names and passwords. I may remember one, but forget the other, and never know which was which.  

Where I’m at today, near the City Of Angels, per diem is $75. I’ve been here five days, but I have to access a software program, click on the appropriate protocol, key in the right page, and locate the calendar date. All this just to add up the numbers. To get in on the transaction, by the way, I need the password that has changed four times in that many weeks.  

I will succeed. I always do. But why can’t I do it with a #2 pencil or a five-dollar calculator? Why do I end up on a first-name basis with the entire IT department? 

There is a need for passwords, of course. If it was easy for me to see my money, I'd either celebrate, or faint. That’s why I work harder to find my money than I do to earn it.  

A truly dedicated hacker will eventually pick the lock on my checking account, but then be sorry he did. It’ll be like going to prison for robbing a 7-11 store. It might be a few hundred bucks but divided by five years behind bars. In my mind, the math thing just doesn’t work out. Passwords only complicate matters for the owners of accounts, not those hacking into them. Getting past the password is a burden to me. To the hacker, it’s just another hurdle to see if he can pick my pockets. The problem for both of us is that the gas gauge is on EMPTY. 

Many hackers hang around places like Starbucks to break into the files of unsuspecting customers. The good news for them is that most coffee customers ARE unsuspecting. The bad news is that after paying eight bucks for a cup of java, the customer is not only distracted, but broke. I oughta know!