By Mike Ryan

A recent article concerning computer passwords was very disturbing to me. This article stated that the average computer user today has something like twelve, or was it twenty-two passwords on their accounts? I canít remember which it was, and therein lies my dilemma. I canít even remember figures from an article I read yesterday, yet I am expected to remember twelve to twenty-two passwords? The author says we should not use common passwords such as: birthdays, addresses, kids names or the like. You know, things that would be easy to remember. God forbid, someone gets into my Orbitz account and finds out about the deal they offered me on airline tickets. This is confidential information and the economy of the free world relies on it staying so. Hereís the clincher; the experts say you should never commit these passwords to paper. Yeah right. Who the heck are these people and what planet are they from?

            I still, to this day, canít even remember the names of the seven dwarfs, and I imagine most of you canít either. I know there was Dopey and Sleepy, and Sleezy and Dubya, right? I know H. Ross Perot was in there, but I canít remember his dwarf name. Most folks canít even remember the names of Santaís reindeer. Iím pretty good at this one. There is, of course Rudolph, then thereís Dashle and Nixon, along with Vomit and Stupid and Blunder and Vixen. Okay, Iím not as good as I thought, and that is precisely my point. There is no way a normal human being can remember, what was it, twelve or twenty-two passwords?

            Now some of theses websites have a new system for the feeble-brained among us. When you log on to their site, and forget your whatchamacallit, they will email it back to you. Please help me here. If they email it back to me, they obviously know itís me they are emailing it to, so why donít they just let me log on to begin with? I am so confused.



                    Hereís another tip these so-called experts give for keeping your passwords secret. They say we should mix in symbols like, @#$ or even %&* in between the letters of our passwords. Now, do they mean for us to use these as symbols, or do they mean to suggest the words these symbols represent? I have often typed in statements like, ď this computer is a #%$@^*/ piece of %#&@,Ē but the computer doesnít recognize what Iím trying to say. Iím sure most of you have used the ever popular ď&#%@  youĒ addressed to their PC, to no avail. Am I alone in this or what? Now I am even more confused.

I assume the purpose of all these top-secret passwords is to keep my personal and financial secrets, well, secret. I donít know where they get their information, but judging by the emails I receive daily, everyone out there knows I have sexual problems and need Viagra, want to refinance my mortgage, am looking for a new car, need quotes on airline tickets, am looking to make money stuffing envelopes at home, like to look at naked housewives, and want my penis enlarged. Now Iíll have you know, I do not need all this information. My car runs fine, and I am not looking for a new one.

I could use an email on memory enhancing vitamins, wait I think I got that one yesterday, I forgot. I also want to mention that I have an email address listed at the end of this column. If any of you have written to me and not received a response, I apologize. I canít log on to it, I forgot the @$&%*$% password.

 © Mike Ryan 2003

Mike Ryan Home Page

Editors interested in featuring 
Mike Ryan
  are encouraged 
to contact Gail McFarland at