Every so often, I am reminded with breathtaking clarity that the world in which I live is not the world in which I grew up.
Today I was setting up an e-mail account on my cell phone. This was my first clue that we are no longer in the time of my kidhood, also known as the Jurassic Era.
Seriously, or as close to seriously as I can get, a phone was a phone and it was attached to the wall, either hanging there (in the kitchen) or by a cord (which you could not unplug under penalty of arrest by the Phone Cops). And all it was for was talking. No camera. No programs. No snaps, no apps.
I know, I know. It’s difficult to imagine life under such hardships.
Actually, the phone was also for listening if you were on a party line like we were and living down the road from Bernice. She considered it her duty to monitor the lines for hours at a time to make sure nobody was using bad language or, for that matter, enjoying a private conversation. Maybe Bernice was an undercover Phone Cop. As detectives go she would have given Dick Tracy a run for his money.
So anyway, back to the cell phone.
There I was, typing (if you can call it that) an impossibly complicated series of letters and numbers into my phone so I could be further annoyed by a constant stream of email, when it dawned on me that I have way too many things in my life which require a password.
Once again, let us return to those kidhood days and the numbers Right-Left-Right 32-6-24, the locker combination of my junior year (honest) in high school and, back then, the only thing I had to memorize in order to gain access to something. Not that I ever used it. The only thing in my locker was textbooks and I had zero interest in gaining access to them.
Nowadays, of course, you have to have a password for everything from getting your email to getting money from a bank machine. You need one password to buy something online, and another one to sell. You need a password to check your credit card account and another to see if you have enough money to pay it off. You need one to enter your garage when you lose your remote control, and another to call someone to tell them you can’t remember the garage password. Simply put, you need about 26 passwords just to get through a day.
And only an idiot would use the same password for all 26 accounts, as I learned when some miscreant became Mike Redmond for a day and wreaked a jaw-dropping amount of havoc on my credit.
So here I sit with yet another password to memorize for email on a phone that already does more stuff than I can use in two lifetimes, and I am left to wonder whatever happened to good old 32-6-24 and to wish I could remember my 21st Century passwords as easily. Especially the one that allows me to get back into the garage.