In the 9 to 5 daydream I call work, I deal with massive technological systems built to run a gigantic company of nearly 30,000 employees. Roughly 52 times on any given day, I enter a work-related password into a computer. If it is not the password to enter the program, it is the security password before the password to enter the program – not to mention the password to enter the computer itself. I must also deal with re-entering passwords due to timeouts and system issues. It has gotten so bad that certain characters on my keyboard are missing their labeling due to extensive “wear and tear.” I cannot escape password madness when I leave the office – bombarded with combinations when withdrawing money, purchasing items, unlocking phones and picking up my little cousin from school (due to the rise in child abduction, one must have a “secret” word to gain access to your own kid.)
I often wonder how much of my brain is taken up by entry codes. I might have figured out the meaning to life by now, had I not chosen to use the extra brain cells to constantly remind myself of my best friend’s last name in order to unlock my Facebook page on a daily basis.
Sometimes I wonder if we’ve gone too far, or if there’s a ceiling to what needs a password. I fearfully ponder a future where I will have to enter a code to get into my bed, or even my shower. What if, by way of brain aneurism or dementia, I forget the name of my favorite punk band from the ‘90s – the name I used to gain access to the bathroom, thus forcing me to stink for days ... The horror!
On a brighter note, I also think about things I would like to have locked with a password. When I lived in a college fraternity house, I could definitely have used some security on my fridge, especially the part containing the “Milwaukee’s Best.“ College kids will rob you blind for low-end alcoholic beverages. Or maybe a password-laden muzzle for those friends who verbally pontificate past your tolerance – that would be great. Or, more seriously, apply a keyword to the heart, but that would most likely be useless since we tend to give our hearts away too freely, without the recipient having any good credentials for granted access.
All gripes aside, I guess the overwhelming stampede of required passwords are here to stay, at least until we mimic “Minority Report” and start using the ocular pupils to identify ourselves to automated systems. Just think, if our eyes became the key to all of our information, identity theft would be a literally gruesome experience, but I would risk someone gouging out an eye just to get the awful numbers out of my head – and my dreams – once and for all.