Silver Threads: Playing the password game
I can’t remember the rules that contestants followed on the popular TV show Password, but I can tell you that it was a heap more fun than the current password games I’m playing now.
Password aired from the early ‘60s to 1975 on ABC and CBS. It was revived by NBC, on which it became Super Password and Password Plus during the ‘80s, and then Million Dollar Password again on CBS until 2009.
In 2013, TV Guide ranked it number eight in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.
I think the idea behind Password was to find out what the password was, not to remember it. In this age of computers and heaps of passwords for this and that site, calling passwords back to mind is the challenge I’m facing. I know, writing it down somewhere would help a lot. But, you see, in the beginning of my use of a computer, there weren’t but one or two to be remembered.
Now I need to know these doors to information I’m seeking from at least eight or nine sources:
- From the bank with my personal account
- And the bank that serves my credit card
- The company that holds my medical insurance
- From Amazon, from which I buy books and movies and music
- And Road Scholar, with whom I’m taking a trip next year; I’ll pay for it online
- And any cruise line with which I register for a trip
I’ve dodged the need to remember the password to my computer, because I never log out, just shut down. But there’s a horrendously long and complicated password to the wi-fi in our house, which occasionally and infuriatingly stops connecting with my e-tablet.
Many more of these letter and number combinations could be collected if you signed onto every website that asks you to. Whether they just want your email address or — like Ancestry — some money for their services, I don’t know. But I’m steering clear.
The solution to remembering passwords, when you can’t remember why you went into the kitchen, is to write them down. And I have, but on various pieces of paper that I can’t always find. Younger folks will undoubtedly either call up the magic letters and numbers off the tops of their heads or easily recall where they recorded them.
But I can’t. So I’m making a very early New Years resolution and implementing it now: I’ll compose — in large type — a list of passwords I must use and put it on the bulletin board above my computer desk.
There’s only one catch to this: Do you think I’ll ever get loopy enough to fall for one of those poorly written notices informing me that “your account will be closed down within 24 hours unless you ‘click here’ and verify your information.”
I might wish I’d never printed that list of user IDs and passwords when I find out that phishing was the name of this game.
Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.