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Password, Please

There are four words which, if you are a human who interacts with any sort of technology, encounters on a daily basis.

Enter your password, please.

Whether it’s your PIN number, email, phone, or social network, chances are you’ve got at least one. You probably have more than one, unless you use the same password for everything, which is a lesson you learn not to do after you’ve been hacked/had your identity stolen. I sure hope you do.

Most places now require a password of a certain length, sometimes case-sensitive, sometimes with multiple cases or numbers or special characters. The special characters ones are the worst. Those can be hard to create and remember, like PIMP100% or TWOGRLS&1CUP, or FR@PP$BUX3…you get the picture. At the University of Houston, they require these, and require to change your passwords every three weeks, which was a major pain in the butt. Every time I’d log-in, I’d invariably enter something like YP39*$!M before realizing that that was my password for October, of last year, and then have to try a zillion combinations before having to reset my password to something like BW^))7Z7…and remembering five seconds later that my current password was YP39*S!M (S, not a dollar sign).

Good times.

Also, most times you’re warned against or forbidden from using phrases like your name, “password,” “12345678” or “00000.” Which invariably leads to making it something like your middle name or favorite color and date of birth, which is also kind of easy for your friend to solve if he knows you and when you were born, or has a document with that information and knows you well enough. On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t be friends with that person anymore, since they’re trying to gain access to your bank account or Facebook or whatever.

I’ve come up with a foolproof plan to help you create unique passwords, and remember them every time, and all you need is a book and your computer.

First, the book. Grab the closest book to you, open to a random page, point to a word, and type that in. If it’s a word like “in,” “you,” or “the,” try again; no one’s judging you. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to use PNG Women Writers: An Anthology, because it’s been sitting here on the couch since last night when I cited it in my English paper/blog entry, which are both of equal importance. And let’s see…okay, after two tries of getting the word “environment” (too long) and “no” (too short), I got “infested” on page 194. “Infested” is a good word; it’s got a decent number of letters, and is unusual enough that you will remember it rather than an arbitrary combination of letters.

Then, look at the bottom right of your computer screen. You have two numbers to choose from. Right now it’s 4:58 PM CDT, so I could go with that, or 3/15, which is the date. On second thought, I could even pick the page number I just used.

And right there, you’ve got three possible passwords, “Infested458,” “Infested315” or “Infested194.” Easy enough to remember, yet not obvious enough that someone could crack it by taking shots in the dark. I do it with pretty much all my passwords, and I’ve never once been hacked.

So there you have it, a foolproof password method. BRB for now – I’m going to check all the sites I’m subscribed to to check if any one of my passwords is indeed Infested458, in which case we’ve got a problem. 

But first, here’s what you get first if you Google image search that password:

If that doesn’t make you remember your new password, I don’t know what will.

Oh, and happy Purim everyone.

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Lids

Today, I woke up and got a cup of iced coffee before heading to campus.

Then, I went to campus, and having barely taken a sip, I left it on the floor of the classroom where I took my final exam, and then ten minutes later when I realized that I didn’t have it anymore, I went back to get it and there was already another class in there taking a final.

So I went and got another iced coffee.

At most coffee places, the cup sizes vary. The same can be said of a lingerie shop. Unlike Victoria’s Secret, however, to transport the goods more easily, a lid is helpful, whether the beverage is hot or cold. At good places – and Starbucks – the baristas give you a cup with a lid already on it. Just grab a straw and you’re good to go. However, life isn’t always this cut and dry. A good number of times you order a cup of coffee, you get just the cup and the drink inside it, leaving you to face…

THE LID TRAY.

Sitting among the pitchers of half-and-half and the multiple varieties of sugar packets, are a tray of carefully factory-formed circles that threaten you with a look. These…are the lids. In most cafes, the lids come in different sizes. This may seem like a simple task, but you will choose the wrong one every time. You reach for it, put it on…and it’s too small. Or too big. No amount of stretching or wishing can change its size. No amount of spatial imagining can allow you to pick the correct one. As you admit to your failure, you have two options to rectify the situation.

  1. Put it back. No one saw you, and your hand barely touched the thing, which only came in contact with that and the lip of the cup. Nobody will ever know the difference, you’ll take another and continue with your life. But wait…did a drop of your drink get on it that may not be identical to the next person’s drink? Did it touch any liquid residue on the counter? Did you attempt to put it on the cup but had unknowingly taken a sip at the register, therefore potentially transferring your germs? Fear not: there’s another option.
  2. Dispose of it. Toss that thing in the trash. It’s dirty. In fact, it never existed. But wait…it did, and since it’s plastic, it’s probably not recyclable and will be another piece of some out-of-state landfill that is plaguing our planet and slowly obliterating our ozone layer, thereby endangering the air we breather and that your children will breathe.

You only have two options. Both are equally painful, but it’s like a bandage – just rip it off and deal with it, because crying in front of sugar and stirrers is not the thing to do in public these days. Besides, they didn’t ruin your life – their artificially created, non-biodegradable friends did.

So, in conclusion, there is none. You will always fail.

Oh well, at least you have an iced coffee to cheer you up.

Until you leave it in someone else’s kitchen later that day, and then realize that you’ve been drinking from your waterbottle and you didn’t buy a coffee at all.