A generation attacked by numbers

Published 11:50 am Friday, June 5, 2015

My generation is being attacked by numbers.

The numbers are out to get us. Think back to all of the numbers you have had to learn over your lifetime.

As a toddler one of the first numbers asked of you was “how old are you?” You may have known or knew how many fingers to hold up but that was just the beginning of the journey into the land of numbers.

Next came your address and then a telephone number. Telephone numbers were simple and then became longer. The numbers had to be relearned when they were changed to a two-letter prefix in front of the numbers and then changed back again. Along with the change then came an added area code.

Even with our address a zip code was added. Speaking of house numbers, they have changed also over the years. First it was a rural route number. Route 1 or Route 2 was pretty easy, but then came the three-digit house number and then the five-digit number.

Next into our memory bank was our social security number. I remember when that was the only number you needed to know. Ha! When people began stealing those numbers then we had to learn a whole new set of numbers especially when we started receiving social security and insurance benefits.

But that was not the end of the numbers game. Next was a bank number for our bank account and then an ATM pin number. Pin numbers seemed to multiply, more pin numbers were needed for other financial reasons such as debit cards, credit cards, etc.

When we go to the doctor’s or dentist office or for any kind of medical test or treatment the first question they ask is our birth date, day, month and year. Our name comes next. Are you a name or a number?

Now we have a bank account number, a credit card number, a telephone number, address number and it goes on.

In addition to this we must remember the number of children we have and their birth dates and then grandchildren and their dates. Oh my! This does become mindboggling.

If you have a computer you must remember a password in which a number is required somewhere.

Hackers have just made that more difficult in recent years. They tell us we should change our passwords every month. That’s not going to happen in my lifetime.

This week I read a report that you should not use the same password for each account. You need something different for each site that you log on to. The average American has 25 accounts requiring a password.

As we senior citizens age we have trouble remembering where we put our keys or what the date is or why we walked into a room. How can we be expected to remember all of these passwords and numbers?

You probably say, don’t use the electronics that require passwords. Every day more and more transactions require a computer, cell phone, iPad or some kind of device just to get everyday information. They all require passwords or numbers.

A new identification system is being proposed using your thumbprint, or eye ball. Help! Just give me a bar code imbedded on my arm. Then I only have to flash my wrist and I’m done. If that is too public I have other body parts that could be used. Just saying.


Jo-Ann Boepple works at the Edwardsburg Area History Museum.