Friday, December 22, 2006


So…what’s your password? Or to re-phrase it: what are your passwords? It’s a good question for lots of people these days especially when a large portion of bills are paid through Internet on-line banking. Factor in those pesky e-mail passwords and there’s a lot of data to remember.

Logically, the easiest solution would be to use the same password for everything but that would be too simple. Given the plethora of scams around these days many of us create different passwords to ensure that nobody can access our private business. Not even us. Neither are they written down anywhere as a protection measure in case somebody breaks into the house and just happens upon them. This means having to rely strictly on memory. Not a good idea.

Depending on the nature of the subject there’s that lengthy period of guessing while attempting to narrow down the word through word association. For example, electricity equals light, which in turn may or could be ‘power.’ After a lengthy period of ‘guess-the-word,’ the term “incorrect password” takes on a new meaning. It’s akin to swatting a pesky fly in the dark.

Having to request a new password is an admission that we’re victims of the aging process and the various e-mail providers and sites requiring passwords want to help us out. “Lost your password?” or “can’t remember your password?” or “re-set your password?” are some of the more common and helpful phrases. Can’t speak for others but there’s something defeatist bordering on taunting in having to send back an electronic message that we need a memory jogger - again.

According to WikiHow ( a sub-section of Wikipedia, there are certain steps that can be taken to improve our memories. One of their suggestions, which is already part of my lifestyle is to keep the brain active by developing memory skills like crossword puzzles. As a regular fan of the New York Times crossword puzzle I'm a whiz at solving the grid on Mondays and Tuesdays, sometimes on Wednesdays and some Thursdays but on Fridays - forgetaboutit! But then I have the Internet to help fill in the blanks and I don't even need a password! Other suggestions include regular exercise, healthy diet and to repeat things to ourselves that we want to remember. This could prove to be embarassing when meeting an old friend who could be addressed by an old password instead of their proper name.

"Why hello there, theatre-lover thespian. Long time no see!" a person could blurt out.

It couldn't be an accident that car manufacturers have included a button on the key pad to enable owners to find their car and there is an increasing amount of electronic gadgets on the market to help baby boomers remember things. Okay. I will admit to using it. It's easier than going through an entire parking lot checking the license plates!

Meanwhile, my New Year's resolution is to remember my passwords, whatever they are.

Some sites worth visiting with memory tips:

e-how (offers 20 quick ideas that successful people use)

How To Keep Your Mind Sharp

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