I recently was issued a new laptop at work. This was a joyous occasion, as the new laptop is far superior to the old one. The only drawback is that the new laptop is wiped clean of all the saved passwords which my old laptop housed. I’ve been forced to scramble, scratch, and claw my way back into accounts which were once freely available to me.
I’m a humble man. These challenges, while frustrating, were met with a meek acceptance of my unimportance in the grander scheme of things. However, there is one step which every website has incorporated into their password reset process which I find demeaning and humiliating in the extreme.
The password judgment.
Yes, the password judgment. Used to be in the golden years any old password would do. “Password”, “Guest”, and “123456” ran joyously amok on the internet as confused old people and lazy young people used them alike. We trusted each other. There were hackers, sure, but I mean that we trusted that each one of us knew the dangers when we set a password that a drunk toddler had a decent chance of cracking.
But now… well now, it’s personal. I input my standard password choice and they call it, “weak”. I work a little harder, add a number or two, capitalize like a big boy should, and they call it, “fair”. The designation “fair” must have been dreamt up by Guccifer 2.0 himself to sow a lack of self-esteem into the very fabric of our American existence. “Weak” I’m okay with, I know I wasn’t even trying. “Fair”, well, this is after I’ve implemented the greatest cryptographic tools I know of, numbers and capitalization! I pour my heart and soul into this maze of figures, much like Ellen Page in Inception, and am rewarded with a snide remark that might as well say, “we know you’re trying, and we also know that you are feeble-minded and weak, so we will accept this limp-noodle attempt as a favor to you and your kind.”
Am I reading too much into this? I don’t think so. Could it be argued that they just needed to find enough words to make a scale large enough to provide a range of strengths? No, that is dumb and I will fight you.
So I’m calling you out internet. Take your dumb prescriptions elsewhere. Being American is about being able to make all the dumb mistakes I’ve come to know and love. I want to buy a drink that will make me drunk and raise my heart rate dangerously high (RIP Four Loko original recipe). I want to eat food that will stop my heart before I can fully experience each of the spices in the secret blend (RIP KFC original recipe). I want to smell like a man, regardless of the burn (RIP Aqua Velva original recipe).
But most importantly, I want to be able to access all my accounts with one startlingly simple password. That’s my America.