Never in my wildest dreams, did I ever think I'd face an identity crisis. While it's true that for my entire life, I've had a nickname that has nothing to do with my legal name, I always knew who I was. When I became a teenager, the time arose for me to apply for my social security number. Yes, I'm that old - nowadays, a child is given a number upon birth. Back when I was born, that didn't happen. You “applied” for your number, usually at the age 16. You needed one so you could work, and the government collect their taxes. Being like most people, with forms and applications of every kind to fill out, it was easier to remember my number than to always retrieve it from my wallet. Things were simpler then. Only a few businesses owned computers and even they were limited. As technology expanded, computers became more popular. Before too long, many people were buying computers for their homes to keep track of whatever they needed to be kept track of. Then, the unthinkable, unimaginable, science-fiction-like tool began filtering in, not just for businesses, but homes as well. I'm talking about the Internet! When I was a kid, not even the most imaginative sci-fi movie maker entertained thoughts of the Internet. Now, most everyone who owns a computer wants an online service provider. Yes, there are still a few who prefer staying off-line. You can join clubs, do research, receive, and send mail, do online banking and a whole lot more to make our every day lives easier. The only problem is that almost everything you do online, requires a username and password. Maybe it isn't so much of a problem, but it can get complicated. Since these sites don't intertwine with each other, most often you can use the same username and password. At least, then, you can remember them, but some computer geek began designing problems that required more letters to your username and password. So, if you wanted to use mydog, suddenly, you'd need to write, mydoggy - or something similar. In many cases, four or five lettered words or names aren't acceptable. To make matters worse, some sites want you to include a number or two. In that case, you could write my1doggie. Or maybe, doggie1pet? There are a few people, like me, who prefer is using a variation of their names. Tom might turn out to be tommyboy. Angela could be angiebaby. That's fine until you get beyond the username. Now, add your password. Tommyboy might use loverboy as his password. At least until he signs onto a site that requires a number. Tommyboy might now be loverboy1. Does that mean he's the first lover boy or the only one? Hmm! Good question! What about those crazy sites that want you to put the number somewhere IN the letters? Suddenly, loverboy1, might turn out to be lover1boy. I registered with a site today that wanted eight characters - didn't matter the amount of numbers or letters as long as I used a full eight characters. Oh, yes, there was a stipulation! No two alike characters were allowed to be near each other. So, if tommyboy were to sign on to that site, tommyboy would have to have his name to tomyboyme or just use a completely different username. Can you imagine the dilemma my friend has? Her name is Lorraine. She likes to sign on using her first name and last initial, which is E. Her password is - or used to be - the last four digits of her phone number. So, how would she sign on with (user) Lorrainee, (password) 7111? Somehow, I don't think that would work! Before the Internet became popular, I never had a problem remembering who I am. My name was familiar to me as, well, my name! Now, every time I attempt to log on to an Internet site, I must first grab my small spiral notebook, look up the site's name, then find out what name I used when I registered. When I think that the Internet is supposed to make life easier, and more often than not, it does, my first thought after attempting to log on is, “What were they thinking?” In today's society, we have Internet Hackers who are determined to steal our identities or whatever else they can get their keyboards on. The Internet is no longer as safe as it once was, even with the use of our usernames and passwords. Don't misunderstand. I'm not really complaining too much about the Internet and its security, which now has become a nightmare, but as we get older, our memories begin to slip a bit. We aren't quite as sharp as we once had been nor do we remember as much as we once did. I realize that all these precautions in logging on the Internet are for our own protection. No one wants to be a victim of Identity Theft. On the other hand, though, I don't want to be a victim of my own Identity Crisis - which is something I feel I face every time I turn on my computer.

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