With a capital “N”

The subject for today, ladies and gentlemen, is passwords. I’ve grown quite a list over the years, and as long as I have my trusty planner in hand, I’m good. That’s where I keep my log of who’s who, and who I am on each site I frequent. I can see changes in pets, addresses, vacation sites, and a few other patterns when I look at my login history.

Have you had a password rejected because it’s not secure enough? I love to see the little gauge showing that my selected password is strong. I get miffed when my choice is rebuffed as weak, and even more miffed if I have to change it or add to it. I particularly hate having to put numbers or characters in my passwords. At work, there’s this really annoying requirement that you change your password every couple of months, and you can’t just bounce between the same two words, switiching back and forth. There are also layers of passwords. There’s the login combination to get into the system initially, then to get into some specific programs, there’s another login required, another user id and password to remember. Did I mention this is annoying?

Like a lot of people, I recycle my choices. If you ever crack one of my accounts open, you’ll have the key to about 95% of my logins. But that’s just a risk I’ll have to take. At least I’m down to four or five combinations. If I can’t remember what I used, there’s a good chance I’ll figure it out before I get locked out for multiple failed attempts.

My husband calls to me from the living room. I’m deep in kitchen world, mixing up banana bread. He needs to know my password for a website. I tell him it’s one of our pet names. I wait. I know what comes next. “Is that with a capital ‘N’?” Yes. The answer is yes. Unless a site won’t allow capitals, I always use them if I’m creating a password from a name.

I know what comes next. Why do I make it hard on myself? Who uses capitals in passwords? Sorry, can’t help it. It’s like writing an email and not using punctuation. I have these things built into my head, and they won’t leave me alone. If I type a name, it’s going to be capitalized. You’d think by now he would know that. Hey, I figure if I’m one of the few people using capitals, it adds to my online security.

Well, security can be over-rated. I don’t always have my planner with me, and if my login is too secure, I’ll have to go through the whole “forgot my password” game…log in, admit that I lost or forgot or gave away this VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION, and then wait to get the reset link emailed. And then reset myself, which I already know is going to be a variation on the theme I’ve had established for some years now…so really, do we have to go through all of that? Can’t we just all click a button in the registration process that swears us to absolute best behavior when browsing internet sites? Really, is there anyone out there so bored with their own life that they need to see my buying history or my bank account? (Neither is interesting, trust me on this.)

But no, even though credit card companies promise to make it easy on the customer if ever someone illegally lifts someone else’s card number and goes on a spending spree, we’re still scared. So we all have passords, logins, etc., etc., etc., to protect us online. Problem is, sometimes I’m the one that’s kept out, inconvenienced, irritated, frustrated, and finally, embarrassed if I have to acknowledge to another human being out there in support world that I can’t remember my password, or, even more shocking, was careless with it!

At work, there’s a little reminder message that pops up when I’m in a secure program. It reminds me to NEVER share my login information with anyone. As if! Someone is waiting to haul me to JAIL if I do that. I work in a hospital, and patient records are right up there with sacred writings. I might give up my personal information with the right persuasion. But you’re not going to pry the work goods out of me.

Passwords…private, deeply personal, a reflection of what’s important to us…or what we can remember from day to day…humorous, playful, random, repetitive, bizarre…well, mine begin with capitals, whatever else they may be. Just remember that, if you’re every trying to crack my code.