The problem with passwords

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If my brain was a hard drive, there wouldn't be much disk space left. But sadly, my noggin isn't full of valuable information like how to eat McDonald's regularly without gaining weight.

No, my mental storage is close to capacity with freakin' passwords.

There's one for my cellphone and another for my work phone, as well as for voice mails at home, on my mobile and at work. Then there's my work email, my yahoo, my gmail, and my Sympatico account. And Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google+, YouTube, Expedia, Air Miles, online banking, my debit card There's even one to unlock adult content on my TV. Of course, I never use that. Anyway, I won't keep listing the various things in my life that require passwords because you might think I'm bragging when I hit 47 million.

Nothing would be further from the truth, though.

I wouldn't be boasting, but actually lamenting a simpler time when the only password I needed got me into a neighbour's garage, where my buddy and a bunch of girls were playing spin the bottle.

If memory serves me correctly and it often doesn't the password to get in on the action was "Grease," as in "Grease is the word, it's the word that you've heard, it's got groove it's got meaning." Sadly, times are a little more complicated than when the prime objectives were saving enough money for the "Grease" soundtrack and stealing smooches behind the spin of a bottle.

My passwords have neither groove nor meaning.

They have between four and eight characters, and remembering them is more complicated than trying to understand St. John's snowclearing.

My capacity for passwords reached a boiling point on a recent Sunday.

I popped into the office to finish a story being published in print and online the next day.

You can imagine my frustration when I drew a total blank on the login for my work computer.

I entered a password that was absolutely correct over, and over, and over, and over again. With no luck, I tried at least 75,000 other combinations, and my head exploded into 75,000,000 different pieces.

All the Black Horses and the Old Speckled Hen helped put Stumped Stevie together again.

OK, I never had to resort to beer on a Sunday. Instead, I picked up the computer and DDT'ed it to the newsroom's industrial carpet in a move made famous by Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

OK, OK, I fess up. I didn't go all World Wrestling Entertainment and smash the computer to smithereens. It was tethered to the desk with all these wires. I actually grabbed a pen and wrote the story on a note book.

Not a notebook computer, but an actual notebook, coiled with lined paper!

That was liberating and enjoyable, as thoughts flowed from a small cranial creek of creativity that's being threatened by password storage. Once the article was finis, it needed to be keyed in.

For that to happen, I had to remember the @#$%! password.

About to try, try again, I noticed a little green light shining from the keyboard. ARRGGGHHH!

It wasn't the password after all, but Mr. Caps Lock, arch enemy of password users everywhere.

"Lock off," I cussed while promptly shutting him down.

I was rotted at my stupidity, which I'm blaming on all these blasted passwords. It's time do something about it. I'm emailing someone important who can address the problem of password proliferation as soon as I remember how to get into one of my personal accounts.

Steve Bartlett also liked eating sour cream and onion-flavoured corn snacks as a teen. The girls hated playing spin the bottle with him after he ate those. He stays logged in to sbartlett@thetelegram.com, and his Twitter account, SteveBartlett_

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