Meg Duncan: Password protected

Meg Duncan is a columnist for the Courier-Post
Posted: May. 31, 2019 4:02 pm

Hitting enter and sitting back in my computer chair, the cursor buzzed.

Incorrect username or password.

Listing every screwed up version of my name I could think of and scouring my brain for passwords of past and present, I finally got it.

And by got it, I mean I got locked out of my Paypal account.

Sorry beautiful, polka dotted swimsuit that I am pretty sure will look on me exactly the way it looks on the model.

I mean she’s probably around a size 5 while I teeter between a 12 and 18 - so I think it’s safe to go ahead and order without first trying it on.

Except now I can’t because I’m in Amazon jail.

Not that I am complaining about getting locked out. I am grateful that in a world of internet crooks, Paypal and my banking apps are extremely protective.

I wouldn’t want anyone to hack into our account and go hog wild at McDonalds or the Dollar Tree. If they caught us on payday before the bill collectors, they could probably book a night at the Super 8 and find an Olive Garden.

Either way, these sites are doing their jobs by making access to my money a challenge. The problem is, they are generally protecting me from myself. Because instead of just writing down my passwords, I always think that this will be the one I miraculously remember.

Yahoo! email doesn’t even bother with that anymore. One day when I tried to reset my password, I got a prompt to enter my phone number so they could just text me a code every time I login.

And thanks Yahoo! for finally saying what we both know is true.

"We have no faith that you will ever remember your password. Not ever."

And they are right. Whether it’s been two weeks or two hours. I cannot tell you that magic combination of capital and non-capital letters, numbers, and symbols that will grant me permission to see if it is a Red Box and pizza night, or a Red Box and pbj night.

Also, I can rarely answer the security questions correctly. I have no idea where I was at in life back when I set up that account.

My favorite pet might have been the dog if she hadn’t recently gone on the floor or strung chicken packages around the living room - and even then, I can’t remember if I used her middle name.

I also couldn’t answer correctly if they asked me why I just walked into the kitchen. So, there’s that. Maybe the system is faulty. Maybe my brain is faulty.

I don’t know.

What I do know, is that this frustrating world of online convenience isn’t all that convenient.

Honestly, I’m not mentally equipped to prove I’m not a robot by staring at six fuzzy pictures. Who am I to say what is or isn’t a storefront? And it seems to me a robot would be the best one to decipher that combination of letters and numbers with a crooked line going through the center.

A cookbook doesn’t require some special code just to get the cheesecake recipe I saved last week. I open it up right to the spot with a dried up ice cream splotch on it (because I like to look at pictures of food while eating food.)

Then again, I don’t want to go back to mailing my bills. It’s been noted that I have a procrastination problem in that area (I’m looking at you Netflix and that copy of Home Alone 2 still sitting on my TV stand).

This is definitely a first world problem.

While I whine about not having access to my funds, someone else prays to feed and shelter their children. While I roll at my eyes because the gas pump is pressuring me to buy lottery tickets again, someone else just wishes they had a car to put gas in.

This is the world we live in now and I guess I will just have to deal with modern inconveniences.

As for Paypal - my current status is locked out.

And relooking at that polka dotted swimsuit I was considering, maybe Amazon jail is where I belong.


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