Forgot Your Password?

Yes!!! And so has everyone else as the number of sites keeps growing along with the number of people using them as the number of “takens,” and “unavailables” keeps popping up along with the new and insulting “weak.”

What does that mean? And who gets to decide?

For 65 web-less years, I had managed to get by with just one password: “Ace Of Aces,” as a member of the Tracey Avenue Tigers, a secret society with a hideout constructed of cardboard boxes and an old mattress in my cousin Jerry’s basement. It was forgotten until recently when I reached back to a simpler time to register on a new website and was shocked to see “Ace of Aces” was taken; obviously Jerry had succumbed to torture and given it up.

I tried aceofaces1, also taken, and finally was accepted with aceofaces9. It was only a momentary victory because I realized that, along with countless others, it would be forgotten and I’d have go to Forgot Your Password Hell and try to remember the hint: my pet’s name, my favorite food, mother’s birthday, maiden name, or countless others I have accumulated to the point that I have no idea what hint goes with which password.

In the beginning, it was simple: I was “sillybilly,” which worked through five sites. On the sixth, it was taken. I immediately went to “sillybilly1.” Finally, at sillybilly4, it was accepted.

Then there was a period of “cute” ones: “bigbucks” for my bank, “clicker” for my cable service, and a few others I can’t begin to remember. I sailed along up to “sillybilly10” when I was confronted with a numbers-only site. I started with the year I was born…taken. I shouldn’t have been shocked given that 1,989,364 people were born in 1931. (That from a Census Bureau site, no password required.) I added the month… taken. Day, age, address…taken. Finally, my license plate: my accepted password was 193,109,091,303,683.

I never even tried to revisit the site.

I’m sure there is a website to find the average number of passwords needed to function in today’s cyber world, but I would need a password to get in, and, with 35, I’m already fighting for my web life. To help, I compiled a password-protected list of the date I made the list, but then I saw the movie Swordfish where John Travolta was a computer wiz who could break anyone’s passwords since everyone uses birthdays, pets and children’s names, so I created one that was so random that no one could figure out…which, of course, includes me.

Things are only going to get worse unless someone comes up with a solution and I think I have it. At birth, in addition to a name, every child should be given a password. It’s on a tape recorded by Bob Johnson, the voice on the tapes in the TV series Mission: Impossible. To get it, parents have to climb a mountain and memorize it before the tape self-destructs, leaving the parents as the sole possessor of the information. When the child is 13, an appropriate age to be using the Internet responsibly, the parents whisper the password into the child’s ear and immediately it is wiped from their memory. This is followed by dinner, dancing, and gifts. If the kid happens to be Jewish, to save money it can be added to the Bar Mitzvah ceremony.

About billpersky

Emmy Award winning writer, director and producer for such shows as the Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, Sid Caesar, Bill Cosby and Kate & Allie
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17 Responses to Forgot Your Password?

  1. dakotakate says:

    I happened upon in mid-April during a convoluted Web search for something else, laughed out loud at the “password” post, recalled a Bill Persky article that I’d chanced upon several years ago in USA Today (which I rarely read), and was able to find and re-read that article online. Thanks to Netflix, I can enjoy the timeless, brilliant writing of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” on demand. A quick visit to gives me a list of episodes including writers of each, where at a glance I can see that you penned some of the best. Yeah, technology can be weird, annoying, even degenerative—but I now appreciate more than when I used to only recognize “Persky & Denoff” as a team of great writers from the past. And — if I can visit this web site to enjoy new words from you, sir — then I’m in. Post away. I’ll send the masses. Or at least a few others.

  2. bill persky says:

    Thank you DakotaKate: I assume you name is kate and you live in Dakota, as the other options isn’t possible. What a treat to read such happy piece of mail. thanks for taking the time. I am still busy and have a book coming out soon, which I ill give you notice on; also will personally send any future ramblings….bill

  3. Anna says:

    Hi, Saw your book and glanced through it during a visit to St Mary’s College in IN, and have been (fruitlessly) looking for it since! The local MD libraries have no record of it (so much for their literary state), and not finding it elsewhere. Guess I should have bought it when I saw it at St. Mary’s, but… And I was so ready for a wonderful reading and hours of laughs!

  4. Will Hettinger says:

    It’s a thrill to read the current work of such an influential, prolific and hilarious writer. I’m so glad I found your website, Mr. Persky, and I truly hope you’ll update it more frequently. As one of the many writers who has benefitted immensely from studying your work, I am excited to see that you are still writing, and I can’t wait to read your book. Thank you for the entertainment and for the inspiration, Mr. Persky.
    Will Hettinger

    • Bill Persky says:

      Thanks Will….I actually have a book coming out in September and I will post a couple of the piece on the site…

  5. dakota kate says:

    Looking forward to your book this fall (next month?)!

  6. Patricia Wright says:

    You realize, of course, that in order to “like” you posting officially (which I most certaily do unofficially) I need to sign up with with, you guessed it, a password. Sigh . . . Here’s a tip for creating passwords that I’ve been using: substitute an exclamation point for an “i” or a “3” for an “E”.

  7. dakotakate says:

    Looking forward to your book (next month??)

  8. le0pard13 says:

    Don’t forget the movie ‘Sneakers’ for giving yourself password hesitancy ;-). That film has remained quite relevant 20 years later. As one who literally grew up with ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ as a companion, count me in as another who’ll be picking up ‘My Life Is A Situation Comedy’. Many thanks.

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