ANNE C. HEYMEN: Everything is too complicated

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I can face another year of Password Hades. Today’s world has revolved into one big bunch of secret words.


Just to get into my computer to check things out, I had to type my secret word. I’ve told my email that I don’t want to type my password each time, so it’s supposed to have it permanently listed. Sometimes that happens, sometimes not. When it’s a “not” time, I hold my breath and hit something — I’m not sure what — and my email pops up.

Password Hades has gotten so bad that I’ve had to keep a notebook of my passwords. Now I know that’s a no-no, but since I have the retention of a banana I have no idea how I’d remember everything. First, there’s the password for my pass to use on toll roads in the state; there’s the passwords for my charge cards, for ordering calendars each Christmas, for department stores. Actually there are about four pages of passwords, and each time I have to enter a new password the directions say “don’t write this down!” They also suggest don’t use obvious things like your birthday or your pets’ names.


Furthermore the suggestion is to combine words with numbers. And many times when one creates a password, an insulting reply will flash across the screen: “Weak!”


Well, maybe to you, oh great computer, but my mind can comprehend a very limited amount, and then everything turns to mush. Sometimes I’ll say I can’t remember something because of my age. There is so much up there it’s like a giant computer going through a variety of possibilities until it hits on the right answer. That’s why when someone asks me a question, I’ll tell them I’ll get back to them about 2 a.m. when the answer comes to me in a dream.

Not only are there passwords to get into my computer, but I also have a password for my cell phone.

And if that wasn’t enough, I also have a numerical password to get into my car if the punch on my keyring isn’t convenient.

How did this all happen?

Even my TV provider is in on the password game. A robot-like voice will ask me for my password, and I’ll usually answer in a questioning voice something that I think it should be. Believe me, a big sigh of relief results when the robot-like sounding voice says “thank you.”

One of the keys, it is said, to living a full life is keeping one’s mind active. I don’t know about you, but I think this password business is just a little over the top. If you agree, you might want to give me a call. But if it’s on my cell phone, give me a minute or six until I remember what the password is to get into that phone. If you call on the landline that’s a good thing. I realize I’m living in the Stone Age with a land line, but hey there’s no password for that — yet!

Anne C. Heymen was associated with The St. Augustine Record for 49 years in total before retiring in February 2014 as features editor. Her column runs in The Record on alternate Saturdays.