I had a major scare this week when I realized that I’d run out of things to be annoyed about. And when I run out of things to be annoyed about, I run out of things to complain about. And that means – no more fuel for posts!
Luckily, I remembered that I had created a list of things that annoy me as back up, just in case I ever reach that stage where I actually become a more agreeable person (I never thought that day would come). And as I double-clicked on the document (subtly named ‘Stuff that Annoys Me’), I realized that it was password-protected.
Now, I cannot even begin to imagine why I would password-protect a document about “annoying stuff”. I made this list six months ago (I was just a child then), and I really don’t know what I was thinking. Perhaps I was afraid that this list would become public and then annoying people would use it against me. But it’s more likely that I just did it to feel important. I do lots of things just to feel important.
Whatever the reason, I now had to recall the password that I used to protect an insignificant little document several months ago. And I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember what it was. I hadn’t the slightest clue. All I could do was guess. So I did. I typed in the usual suspects – my most common passwords. Of course, they didn’t work. My mother came in for some helpful input – “It must be ‘chocolate’,” she said. For reasons I cannot fathom, she has this long-held, unshakeable belief that all my passwords are ‘chocolate’. And soon enough, this was a fun family activity: “Try ‘document’!” “It must be ‘humptydumpty’, no spaces!” “I’m telling you, I’m sure it’s ‘12345thisismypassword’!”
At some point I gave up, because I realized that I really didn’t need to open the document. I’d already found something new to be annoyed about. No, not family (although you’re pretty close). It’s passwords.
Passwords are those frustrating little keys that can let you unlock any door in the world. The only difference is that keys are actual, material things, whereas passwords are simply these mysterious character formations that float around silently in the darkest recesses of your memory, disappearing at will every time you see the word ‘login’.
I have passwords to five different websites. That’s not much, I know. But those are the most important ones – the ones I can’t afford to forget. And yet, I simply cannot remember which password goes with which login ID. Every time I access one of these websites I have to put in every single combination of password and login ID – that’s 25 different combinations, if my mathematics serves me correctly (which it doesn’t, most of the time). It takes me an eternity to actually log in to WordPress – longer than it takes me to write a post. In fact, I spend most of my day struggling to do what is essentially a make-it-or-break-it game of ‘match the following’.
What’s worse is those websites that need you to have a password with more than eight characters, alphabets, numbers, non-numeric and non-alphabetic characters, letters in caps, letters not in caps, letters in sombreros, the secret of life, the universe and everything etc. You get something that ends up looking like oaiwh01HU;&. How in the world are you supposed to remember a password like that? My mother’s way is to note all these passwords in a little book she bought solely for this. This, however, seems to defeat the entire purpose. What if someone just took the book? They’d have access to all the passwords, wouldn’t they? It’s like keeping your house-keys on the Welcome mat on your doorstep.
To solve this problem, I decided to create a structure for my passwords. It would start with my first name, then my year of birth, and then an emoticon chosen at random. That plan didn’t really work because I kept forgetting which emoticon I used for each website. I had to spend a wasteful amount of time wondering whether I used the annoyed face (:/) for WordPress or for Facebook.
Then I decided that I would use a variation of my mother’s idea. I would write all my passwords down in a book, but in Caeser Shift cipher code. I put the plan into action immediately. I initially failed to recognize the flaw, however – the amount of time it takes me to actually convert he password from the code to the original form. Now, majority of my day was filled with thoughts on the lines of ‘Does A become X? Or is that B?’ This, combined with algebra, resulted in some very unfortunate consequences indeed.
And now, however, I’ve hit upon the perfect idea. I’ve saved all my passwords in a Word document, and I’ve password-protected that, so that now there’s only one password that I need to remember. And what is that password?
I shan’t tell you, but I’ll give you a hint:
As long as I have the helpful input of my mother, I’ll never forget it.
P.S. If you’re a hacker, please ignore the sentence above.