Remember the television word game, Password? I bet it has been a long time since you’ve thought about that one. I believe the way it worked was that people played in teams and one partner would give clues to try and help the other partner guess the word at hand.
I would watch that show every morning during summer vacation and marvel at the stupidity of the people giving and receiving the clues, always confident that, were I only given the opportunity of participating, I would display my marvelous word skills and win loads of money or refrigerators or whatever the prizes were back then.
Yes, the young do know everything. Such a pity they don’t get out of the house and assume responsibility for their own upkeep while they do.
Now that I am older — and considerably less smart — I realize that I probably wouldn’t have done very well at the televised version of the Password game, and the primary evidence that I would not have lies in the fact that I cannot even remember the passwords required to navigate the electronic minefield that is daily life in the 21st century.
When I was growing up in Porterdale the only passwords with which I was familiar were the ones on that television game show. Now I am inundated with them, and they all require a different combination of letters, numbers, caps, lower case and special figures — like exclamation points or dollar signs.
All day long, from wake up time until bedtime, I cannot function without remembering dozens of combinations of letters and numerals that are called passwords but are seldom words at all.
Every morning I wake up and stumble to the kitchen — to paraphrase Dolly Parton — to pour myself a “cup of ambition” and start my day. I turn the coffee pot on and head out the front door to get the newspaper, which I still read first thing every morning.
As soon as I open the door I have to run back to the kitchen because I have forgotten to disarm the alarm system. In Porterdale we didn’t even have a key to our house. Now I have an alarm system that notifies would-be thieves, the police and the whole world if a door or window is disturbed. They call it progress.
Still groggy with sleep I stand at the keypad trying to remember just the right combination of letters in just the right order that will assure me that the entire neighborhood will not be awakened and that I will not receive a call from the system administrator wanting yet another password to assure that I am indeed the idiot who set off his own alarm system.
Most mornings it is about a 50-50 proposition that I will get it right.
Some days it is raining. On those days I often opt for the convenience of reading my newspaper online. Not, of course, until I can log on to my account — with the correct password.
Want to check your mail? Got to have a password. Want to watch a movie on Netflix? Got to have a password.
I have passwords for my bank account so I can make sure no one has stolen my identity. Actually, I sometimes wish they would because then, perhaps, they would have to accept some responsibility for all these bills I have accumulated.
I have a password for my email account and a password for my Paypal account and a password to buy something on Amazon or bid on something on E-Bay or to get scalped for tickets on Stubhub. I have passwords for services that I didn’t even know I had and never use — but once in a blue moon, when I need access to those services, I’d better be able to figure out the upper case, lower case, number, special character sequence or I am dead meat.
I dropped my phone last week and shattered the face. I don’t mean that I put a little crack across the face, I mean the whole thing was shattered. I had to take a trip to the iPhone store, which is something that really puts me out of my comfort zone. I haven’t understood electronic communication since Randy Layson and I quit trying to talk to one another through soup cans connected by string.
Purchasing a new phone turned out to be a relatively painless experience, until it was time to transfer my data from my old phone to my new phone. You guessed it. Had to have a password.
I once knew the password for my phone — three years ago when I bought it. You wouldn’t believe the number of sports legends, birthdays and significant key words I went through before stumbling across the combination that opened my phone.
Or maybe you would, because you have the same issues I have. Welcome to the modern world. Ain’t life grand.
And I think it was Allen Ludden that hosted the old Password show, but am not certain. I knew you’d been trying to think of his name the entire column, just like I had. Now that I have remembered, I think I’ll make him my next new password.