Dave’s Soapbox

…for what it’s worth

by David Mueller


I really don’t like passwords. I can’t imagine how many apps, songs, blogs, and YouTube videos I would not be missing if I could just remember my passwords.

Is anyone else like me? I just went online to join an international service organization in our community and they asked me for my password before I can enter. This is like the secret handshake from the old fraternity days or the new secret sign to get permission to enter an electronic gated community.

Now I understand some of this is my fault. I forget my keys and still don’t know the phone number of my wife of 38 years (anniversary is June 18). Give me credit for remembering 38. I remember such important numbers as my gun safe, my combination number to my gym locker in 6th grade, and my dog’s birthday. So I am not completely forgetful, senile, or borderline dementia.

However, I can’t get this password thing. Most passwords are 6 – 8 characters. This only allows for an estimated 198,405,987 chances of me getting it right. You say: “just use the same password or store it in your phone.” OK smarty… what if my regular password has 6 characters, case sensitive letters and numbers. Now we only have a one in a million chance to get this one right. Then when I try to sign on an internet site to change my password they show a series of letters and numbers that look like they are smeared on the wall by a third grader with grease paint. They are smashed together and one must guess what it is.


If I can’t tell the difference between k and K it kicks me out of this password quiz and I get another chance to guess a new password. The clock is ticking, I need my credit card which is on the other side of the house, and if I try ten times or I take more than two minutes, the screen turns blank and you have to start over right after you say words that can’t be repeated in front of your mother. All this time I really just want to buy a simple ticket for an upcoming event. This gatekeeper of a password then sends me to the part where I have to tell things about my life including blood type and neck size. And, by the way, they want to offer you a great deal on a credit card sponsored by the Wayward Password Disabled Americans Association; of course, it is a 401-C tax exempt organization if I remember my new password. I really just want a ticket. A real ticket that I can put into my billfold and read the date and seat number and hand it to someone at the door and keep it for a souvenir.

Music is a great thing to store in smart phones or other devices…. if you know the password. I have listened to the same 98 songs on my phone over the last 8 years. If it wasn’t for Pandora Radio, I would be carrying a cassette recorder. Pandora. They have been so nice as to not ask for my password every time.

I understand the need for security, but really. If someone can hack into the CIA and steal their stuff, why do I think that a 6, 7, 8, or even a 100 character password is going to stop them from getting my information? What’s next? Retinal scans on your Smart Phones instead of passwords. Is that the right eye or the left eye?

Thanks for listening.


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