I have more than fifty, maybe even one hundred different so-called “accounts”–linkedin, huffington post, twitter, cable, phone, internet, website administrator, google, yahoo–the list has become a ten-page typewritten list of account names, numbers, passwords, and pin numbers.
I can’t remember any of them.
And each time I call a company for either customer support or account management information, I sound like a thief.
“And may we have your pin number to verify your account?” they ask.
And I stammer over three or four that spring to mind. Sometimes I have to make them wait and go look it up.
But they tell you–very urgently–never, ever to repeat a password. Make each one unique. Make each one impossible to guess. Fill them with numbers, letters and symbols for which most of us don’t even have names, like “ampersands” (&).
I don’t know how much better I’d be at this if I were 25. I can’t imagine it would be all that much easier. But I do know I’m not alone in the sandy-haired set.
One woman at the grocery store had to input a password to get access to the cashier so she could scan our food order. She stood there mesmerized. She was probably a little older than I am. But her face became utterly blank.
Finally, she turned to me, chagrined, “I can’t remember my number,” then locked the system back up and went to get her boss. It became a 15-minute process.
This leaves us with a bit of a problem. Do we carry around lists of passwords? That would make having a password rather foolish since anyone could just grab it out of our pockets or off our computers.
Do we have a separate system under a single password, in which all our other passwords are available? Sounds like an idea, but it still leaves us one password away from identity theft.
My husband had a great idea.
“Why not just have one password for the whole lot of ‘em?”
I thought that was the best idea I’d heard all day.