Tilted Windmills: Lost in a sea of names and numbers
by Mike McLellan
Aug 17, 2012 | 4061 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When those who are called Baby Boomers were young, they only had three numbers to remember: their phone number, address and the combination of their gym locker.

Today, the world is filled with numbers that must be remembered. For Boomers it is even worse.

To begin with, there is your Social Security number, which everyone wants, but you are not supposed to give out. For those older than 65, it is also your Medicare number.

Then there are your PIN numbers. These, of course, are your personal identification numbers. You have one at the bank for each account and credit card. The goal is to reset each one so you can remember them. However, each place has a different requirement for the number of digits, the addition of letters, and the complexity of capitalization.

There are those important numbers that you do not use regularly, such as frequent flyer miles, stock accounts, and your eBay buyer’s number.

Add to these your passwords for all your accounts on the Internet, and you face a monumental task.

How do you remember all of these codes, especially if your brain is shrinking from the aging process?

The answer is simple. You need to find one all-purpose system for generating passwords and numerical codes so you can remember them.

But of course, the answer is also complex, because there are so any variables.

The easy thing to do is to write them on list and carry them with you. This, however, is a bad idea, as anyone who finds your wallet can access more than its meager contents.

The second best-known way is to type them into a document on your computer and to email them to yourself. When needed, you go into your email and look up the code. But beware of hackers.

Another way to deal with this is to always admit that you have no idea what your code is and bow to a request for a security question.

Now, I know my mother’s maiden name, as it is the same as my uncle’s last name. However, the bank asked me to name my favorite teacher, my favorite movie and the name of my date to the prom. These, some of which are fleeting, also change. For a long time, my favorite movie was “Casablanca,” and then I watched “Avatar,” and that became my favorite. The bank doesn’t know that.

Today, I have three phone numbers, and when asked for one of them I have to go through the list.

Finally — in this sea of codes, pins and passwords — I do not even know my name. This is funny at the bank. At least to me.

You see, my real name is not Mike or Michael. I have a different first name, and sometimes reduce it to a single letter (like J. Edgar Hoover did). People will ask me how I am listed in their records, and I have to try as many as four names before I hit on it.

The bank tellers do not seem accustomed to someone saying, “I don’t know my name, but let’s try…”

And my wife wonders why I cannot remember the date for our wedding anniversary.

• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or emailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.
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