by Greg Gargs Allard

How many times have you hit the button that says something along the lines of “Forgot your password?” I don’t know about you but it seems the older I have become the more accounts I have accumulated that are protected by various user names, passwords and PIN numbers. And because of the danger of unscrupulous persons (who probably would look like everyday people if you saw them in person) wanting to get deep in my business for their nefarious purposes, I have to remember a variable mountain of information, which to be honest with you seems more like an avalanche sometimes.

First there’s my ATM card, of course – everyone needs one of those nowadays, and with that as a matter of duh-ness comes the online banking accounts. Then come my credit cards, one by one and sometimes two-by-two (you know – two Capital One cards, two Citibank cards and two types of American Express). At one point of my life, I had something like 19 of those but I wised up and got rid of some. And not the reason why most people do – more like I had too many freakin’ passwords to remember. Then there’s my cable company, my social media accounts, a list of email accounts, Triple AAA account, hotel reward accounts etc, etc. I’d even have an AARP account if it didn’t remind me of the sorry fact that I am eligible for one of those too, having turned 50 last year.

And forget about remembering all the various passwords and fingerprints and elbow prints that you have to endure, I can’t even fucking remember all the accounts I have that need such codes in order to be accessed. So, how does a man like me, with more memories already than he can fit into his limited brain, remember all this shit? Well, one way is to have the same damn password for for every account.

The “experts” advise against that, of course, and with good reason. What would Johnny Hacker appreciate more than cracking all my codes with just one password this Christmas season? I think if I was a thief of such ilk I would have to try the one password theory the more the older a potential victim was, because as you get older, you know, after your brain only has cracks and crevices of vacancy left, as soon as you push something new into it, something else falls out – and you never know how important that stuff is that’s falling out.

Now, I’d write it all down but the experts advise against that too because what if somebody found it all? Might as well take Steve Martin’s advice and include your phone number so when they found the master list the crook could call you up and say, “Gargs Allard – thank you very much.” Actually, they would probably text you a “thank you” while driving.

When I was growing up,  life was not that complicated.  We didn’t have all these various accounts that could be accessed online with all these secret combinations.  Nor, of course, did we have all of the technology of today.  Let’s see, if I drifted back to when I was about 8, to the year 1972, for example, what could I remember about then?  I may be exaggerating but I swear that simple calculators were the size of toaster ovens and cost about $500.  There were no video games- not even in the arcades.  Pinball machines were the thing.  Cable TV did not really exist until a few years later.  Goal posts in the NFL were at the goal line and there was no such thing as overtime.  There were no fax machines, or mobile phones.  No VCRs or DVD players.  No cruise control or even microwave ovens on my block that I recall.  We didn’t get ours until around 1976 and it was considered newfangled and space-age.   Still, somehow we thought things were really advanced with trash compacters and window air conditioning and whatever other new thing had recently been obtained in our household or that of a friend. It was cutting edge shit, my friend, you know, stuff like Hamilton Beach hamburger makers.
I remember when it was a big thing to get a hotel room with a phone and a color TV in it.  Woo-hoo! Or should I say motel room?
As kids, it seemed we had more freedom also.  Before I turned 10, I would regularly disappear with my brother and friends all day and come back around nine at night with not even a phone call in between.  My parents had no idea where we were but that seemed to be the norm back then.  If some kid’s parents expected them to call, we thought they were very strict.  Sometimes we would drive for miles on our bikes and no one would bat an eye.
These days, either it has become a more dangerous world or there is just more media attention in that regard.  Whatever the case, parents are far more protective of their children than they used to be.  While I think there’s good reason for that, I also think that kids growing up today do not experience that same sort of adventure and freedom that kids of my generation experienced. Of course, they didn’t have a slew of passwords to protect.
Back to how life has become so complicated with all this password shite. Now Apple has a keychain thing where you can type all that info in and protect it with a fingerprint. Now, I will admit that I’m afraid to use my fingerprint to access anything valuable because a bad guy might come along, decide to cut my finger off and put it in his pocket just in case he needed to get to my credit card or my paypal account to pick up some bread and milk that his wife called him about on his way home from his day job of screwing people over.


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