It happened to me again. Nervous tension sets in. Beads of sweat form on my forehead. My leg gets jimmy and bouncy.
It’s the dreaded password update. And I’m all out of ideas.
The thing is, I got locked out of my computer at work because I wasn’t paying attention while talking with our editor Wanda and hit the wrong key when signing in. And the computer won’t let you make a second attempt because - in all its wisdom - it thinks you are a hacker. Or worse yet, an idiot. And who is this ‘administrator’ it keeps yakking about? There’s no forgiveness with the cyber world. It’s a continuous battle between me and all those 1s and 0s.
They say your password should be hard to guess but easy to remember, but my troubles start when I can’t remember something that was easy to remember for me two years ago.
I hate to keep bringing this up, but there has to be a better way to protect your information than with passwords. Oh wait, now they have a laptop device that uses your fingerprint to open your stuff. And also facial recognition.
Next thing you know they’re going to want a sample of your blood to compare your DNA. That’s when I’ll lay in a supply of beef jerky, head for the hills and hide in a cave, and if somebody wants to come see me they’ll have to know the correct password. And it will have to include numbers, upper and lower case letters and a symbol. And it should be eight characters long. And bring more beef jerky.
Long story short, I finally was able to get into my computer at the newspaper office, but not without a password-free tête-à-tête with the aforementioned administrator at the home office.
And hey, I learned that you can’t use beefstew as a password. It’s not stroganoff.
We’re enter the Lenten season next week. It begins a little later this year because back in 325 AD the Church established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the full moon after the vernal equinox. Now, all you have to do is count 40 days backward - not including Sundays - and there you have Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season. Since Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting, we want to make sure we have enough food to see us through, so the day before anything goes.
Hence, Fat Tuesday. Hence, Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras was thought up by some people in Mobile, Alabama long before there were college spring breaks, risque behavior, and general debauchery. During my New Orleans period, I knew some people who wanted to start Mardi Gras on New Year’s Day, but for me, it was the music and to get into the spirit of things I’m putting together a mixtape of Mardi Gras classics. They’re all on Spotify I believe, and they go great with crawfish etouffee and muffulettas.
Check these out: All On a Mardi Gras Day by The Wild Magnolias, Allen Toussaint’s Whirlaway; Meet De Boys On the Battlefront by The Wild Tchoupitoulas; The Meters’ They All Ask'd For You; Iko Iko by Dr. John; Percy Mayfield’s Louisiana; Do Watcha’ Wanna’ by The New Birth Brass Band; Fats Domino’s Mardi Gras In New Orleans; Big Chief by Professor Longhair. And you can’t do it right without Louis Armstrong’s When the Saints Come Marching In.
Giving up something for Lent is kind of like making a New Year's resolution, except that after the required 46 days you can move on. So, after April 21 you can proceed to dig into your stash of marshmallow Easter bunnies with nary a guilty conscience.
I've heard that giving up chocolate is one of the most common Lenten penances, but there are others that could possibly pose more of a challenge. Things like what my father used to moralize about to us when we were little; the Seven Deadly Sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. Sloth, now, was something I wasn't sure about but did know it had nothing to do with the slow-moving mammal. Rather, if I recall correctly, it had something to do with me getting ready for school on time.
On the other hand, right along with the seven deadly sins, my father taught us the Seven Heavenly Virtues; chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.
I've honestly tried to adhere to most of the latter seven, but must admit to having trouble with the seven former - especially my years as a young man in the Air Force - but I suppose it's never too late to revisit my weaknesses.
All joking aside, the Lenten season is a good interlude for self-improvement, whether it's spiritual, mental or physical, because when you sacrifice one thing, you gain something else, in one way or another.
That’s what it’s all about.