Having The Numbers Of Things On My Mind

by Curt Kovener

In the beginning, it was pretty simple. I had a birth date which hasn’t changed, a birth weight which has continued to grow as I grow out, and a birth length which today is a long way from my original 19” height (or is it horizontal since it was a while before I could stand?)
Soon after those numbers were joined by digits exclusively assigned to me by the Social Security Administration.
During my early years only a few numbers were important enough for commitment to memory, such as my home address and phone number, later I had to memorize my home five digit zip code which has now expanded (like my waist) to nine digits.
As a youngster, I had only to remember a few four digit phone numbers. SWift 3 (the predecessor to 793) was the Crothersville prefix. To call a Seymour or Austin number required an operator and a long distance toll. My Dad didn’t mind me dialing 0 and talking to the operator but he let us all know that there better not be any long distance phone calls on his phone bill.
Now, I do not have to remember phone numbers as those that I call frequently are in my cell phone contact list. The rest of you may go to voicemail to let me know what you wanted.
Computers have further complicated the numbers complexity by introducing an alphanumerical jungle of e-mail addresses and websites.
Then there is the matter of passwords which must be a combination of upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and characters which must be unique to me, easily remembered by me but not so easy that others can guess what they are. Then there are PIN numbers, meaning Personal Identity Number, that must be remembered.
My bank, insurance, investment websites periodically lock me out of the information I seek until I can repeatedly prove I am who I am. And then pick yet another new password to try to remember but not one I have used in the past six months.
I have followed the lead of my not-so high tech lawyer and accountant. They use the novel idea of a very low tech little black book to write down all needed passwords.
And I try not to misplace that #$%^& little book because the number of the numbers I must know is numbing.