Remember that fun gameshow back in the 1960s called Password? It was hosted by Allen Ludden, who died some 40 years before his wife Betty White. The gist of the show was that a celebrity and a regular person (though Us Magazine shows us monthly pictures of famous people like Kelly Clarkson grocery shopping without makeup to indicate THEY’RE JUST LIKE US) would face off, giving each other one-word clues to guess the secret word. It was a fun chance to play along if you covered your ears when the announcer whispered the word to the viewing audience. Sometimes the wrong answers were hilarious.
Or maybe as a young boy or girl, you were a member of a secret club with your neighborhood friends. In order to be admitted to the clubhouse (which was probably a corner of your yard set apart by your little brother’s blocks), you had to know the secret password. It didn’t matter if you played with that person every day of the week. No password, no admittance.
Back in those days, the word password didn’t instill a cold dread into your very soul whenever you heard it. It didn’t cause shortness of breath and a frantic search for that piece of paper upon which you wrote your most recent password to get onto the Wells Fargo website.
Bill and I have been in a fierce password frenzy for the past two weeks. It seemed like every single password we ever created had taken on a life of its own, and fled the country. It started with a simple problem, but then our technology world began to crumble like a line of dominoes. A line that had no end.
Bill tried to check his email one day, and for reasons I can’t explain, it required him to put in his password. Alas, he didn’t know his password and it wasn’t written down anywhere. So he and I began the process of getting him a new password. He hit the forgot my password button. Google told him they would send a verification code to his cell phone. He got the code, and input the numbers. Then they proudly explained that they had a two-step verification process, and they would send the next code to his email. You know, that email that we couldn’t get into because he didn’t remember the password.
Of course, during that week, he forgot several more passwords (because that’s what we old people do), and it seemed that all of them wanted to send his verification code to his gmail account. Once in a while, they would allow him access if he could answer several questions like what is your favorite type of short pasta or what was the name of your best friend’s dog when you were 5 years old. (To be honest, he has a lot better chance of remembering the dog’s name than he does any password.)
At one point, he looked at me with the saddest brown basset hound eyes…..
….and asked, “Isn’t there some way that I can get into programs and apps without a password required?”
The answer, of course, is no. I’m not sure we can even blame this necessity to have everything in our life password-protected on 9/11. I’m blaming it on the Russians and the Chinese. Dang Commies.
For one full week, we worked on trying to figure out how to retrieve that code. I won’t go into details, but we were finally successful, and he is now back being able to read his important emails from Best Buy and Cigars Plus. It’s not the content people; it’s a matter of principle.
And I’m being recruited as tech support by Google.