Oh crap. I’ve forgotten my password. A random group of words, numbers and symbols stand between me and a document full of stories I wrote a year ago. The drafts were clumsy, rambling and a tragedy of English grammar, but they were going to polish up and be absolute crackers, I’m sure. But they are all doomed due to my absent-mindedness.
At first I didn’t panic. The ‘password incorrect – try again’ message that popped up didn’t worry me. I use the same password for pretty much everything, including bank accounts, Twitter and Tinder (which I tried once, got scared and forget about), but no, that wasn’t it. It must have been a variation on My Beloved Password. By adding an extra # or $ I was sure I’d crack the code and be crafting my precious drafts in no time.
Password incorrect – try again. Try again. Try with a capital. Try with a spelling mistake. Try again. Try again. No, that wasn’t it. Bollocks. Had I decided to change my password to something completely new on that fateful day? I cast my mind back to one year ago, like a detective returning to the scene of a crime in the desperate hope a clue has miraculously appeared.
So, one year ago I was sitting at the same table, in front of the same laptop. No revelations there. I recall
David Bowie had recently died and I was working my way through his albums again. Maybe in a moment of misguided inspiration, I’d changed my password to RIPStarmanFuckImSoSad in tribute?
I had not.
Maybe I’d written the password down somewhere. Although the web is heavy with articles by tech boffins warning against jotting down those precious codes, for those of us who suffer from password amnesia, it can be the difference between leading a relatively normal life and never being able to access our bank accounts again. Or ever tweet again, which is marginally worse. I scurried through my collection of old notebooks and a pile of sticky post-it notes, but not even a hint of the rogue password was discovered.
In desperation, I googled ‘how to break Word document passwords’. I felt like a friendless teenage hacker attempting international cyber fraud. Google rewarded my treachery with a string of forum posts from other innocent password amnesiacs (or were they???) also locked out of their work, and who had resorted to creeping about the darker alleys of the internet for help.
The news wasn’t good. It can’t be done. It’s a password, that’s the fucking point. People password-protect their work so it can’t be accessed. If a thief stole my laptop, googled ‘how to break Word document passwords’ and was sifting through my word-salad drafts within the hour I’d be apoplectic.
Mark my words, one day I will remember that elusive bastard of a password. Perhaps I will awake at 3am after the cryptic code magically appears to me in a dream. Or I’ll remember it five minutes after I’ve deleted the file forever. The world will be culturally poorer as my wonderful stories remain imprisoned inside that damned file. At least I can tell that to myself… if I’m honest can’t bloody remember if they were any good or not.
And I saved this draft without a fucking password.