The Apple Impasse

Among the number of Apple product users (I would give you the precise figure if Google didn't require a password), I wonder how many billions have been as frustrated as I am over Apple's password requirements. I do know my wife is one of them, since she has been on the phone with a equally frustrated Apple technician for the past four hours trying to restore a password on her iMac, iPhone, iPad, iTunes and iCloud.

This Apple password business makes an application for Obamacare look like a waltz in the sun. And am I wrong to believe it's a relatively new phenomenon? Yes, I know you always needed a password to open your computer, and then, of course, you always needed others to look into your bank balance, retirement pension, cable television company, hospital accounts, newspapers, and so forth. Now you need one just to get permission to blow your nose.

I appreciate the need for a password. It protects you against all forms of fraud, scams, jams, hacking, hijacking, and fast tracking. What I don't understand is why a passport suddenly and without any warning turns a cold shoulder on you, or why it is so nerve-wracking to establish a new one.

Take my wife, She awoke this morning to discover that she couldn't access her computer. The passport was invalid. "Forgot your password?" the computer asked her. "No," she tried to answer, without any success, "The passport forgot me."

It should have been easy to establish a new one. But after following all the procedures with increasing impatience, she finally decided to call an Apple technician. (She's still on the phone as you read this.) Let me tell you about the frustrations that led up to that decision. First, she waited for the email that would tell her how to create a new password. Then she followed the easy instruction: Enter Apple ID. Then she answered the following questions: Mother's maiden name; best friend in high school; name of her date at the senior prom. And finally, she was asked to identify some extremely squiggly numbers and letters that anyone without astigmatism could not possibly interpret correctly. (It reminds one of Mel Brooks's "Two Thousand Year Old Man" who, when told that Shakespeare was a great writer, testily replied, "He was a terrible writer -- his i's looked like j's, his q's looked like p's. His handwriting was terrible.")

When, by some miracle, my wife got past this verbal obstacle, she was answered to enter a new password. Sounds encouraging, no? Forget about it. Her password was rejected because it didn't have sufficient numbers or capital letters. The next one looked too much like another she had used in the past year. And the next one was considered too accessible to hackers. That was when, suppressing an impulse to defenestrate her computer, she called up Apple, which took her through even more complicated procedures regarding the serial number of her computer, the General category of her System Preferences, the extent of her Options and Data, and the date of her sister's first menstrual period.

Aha, she's back! Success! She has finally broken through her Apple Impasse and established an Apple Password. It is "Iam123PissedoffAshell."