It’s been too long. When was the last time we got together? Was it two months ago when I signed up for that 30-day free trial software that required my password contain two seldom-used punctuation marks, a capital vowel, and a prime number? Good times. It feels like just yesterday. Do you remember when it took me three tries to retype you correctly in the confirmation box? I thought I’d never to be able to finish creating my account. That’s what I love about you—you always keep me guessing.
I know I promised that we were going to spend more time together, but it’s complicated. I think you know I’m still seeing my main password, but you have to believe me when I say that password means nothing to me, now. The only thing keeping us together is a sordid history of increasingly embarrassing AOL Instant Messenger accounts. Try to understand the position that puts me in; that password knows that my Internet moniker was once “RockSteady713” and, more troublingly, “le defibrillator.” Do you know what irreparable damage could be done to my reputation if that information leaked?
Look, I want you to know that when I update that password at work, I just change a number. That’s it. That’s how little I care about that password. But you. You’re the special one, with your nonsensical combination of symbols, numbers, and upper- and lowercase letters. Do you know how many times I’ve clicked, “Forgot my password,” and entered my mother’s middle name and the city I was born for you? I wouldn’t do that for any old password.
You know I want you to be a bigger part of my life, but that’s easier said than done. I’ve been with my main password for years now, since before passwords had strength requirements. I tell you this in the utmost confidence, but my main password is pretty insecure, especially compared to you. I won’t deny that you’re endowed with a more impressive length. I’m not the only one who thinks your character number is impressive–several websites have voiced their approval. Six characters used to be enough, but not anymore. How do you think it makes my usual password feel that it would take hackers decades to crack you while my long-term password could be compromised after three attempts at combining my birth date and dog’s name? You should be flattered. You’re the real catch here.
Every time we meet again you accuse me of using you — that I only want to be together when my main password doesn’t satisfy the requirements, but that’s just not true. It means a lot that you always come through for me when adding a capital letter and an exclamation point to my usual password isn’t enough. But don’t you see that what we have wouldn’t be as special if I used you for my email, my Netflix account, and my MyPanera Rewards? Our spontaneous meetings would be less serendipitous, growing duller and duller until I finally store you in my browser like a box of baking soda in the back of the refrigerator. I don’t want that to be us. What we have is too good to be sabotaged by routine.
For you, I did something I’ve never done before. You may not believe this, but I have you written in notebook that I keep in my desk. You’re right there next to my paperclips and post-its in a place of prominence my main password has never occupied. From time to time I open that little notebook and look fondly upon you when I have one last try before I’m locked out of an account. It’s in these precious moments that you mean the most to me.
That brings me to why we’re here today: I need you. I need you more than I’ve ever needed you before. I’m creating an account somewhere to receive free shipping once, and the password requirements are too demanding for my main password. You’re my only hope, alternate password. I know you don’t think you can trust me, but I’m going to change. What if I put you on my online banking login? That would be a big step for us! I know it’s about time I keep my promises make more time for you, but what do you say? Can we make this work again, at least this once until I can opt-out and never use this account again?