My Official Birthday

My very first bank card, I received it longer than I care to remember ago. It would only operate in the bank’s own machines, and the PIN number they sent could not be changed. So I had to make sure I remembered it. As time has gone by, it is now a standard feature on all cards, to be able to change the PIN. But that first PIN number stuck, so every card since then has been christened with that same PIN.

It was the same with computers. I bought my first laptop back in 1992, and so began the era of needing personal passwords for things. My first password was based on the model of that very first computer, now fortunately long-since forgotten so even harder to guess. Of course, over the years, the password has become more complex, just by concatenating several other pieces of information to it. Unless you’re me, you’d be lucky indeed if you guessed it – the phrase chance in a million springs to mind, but more like a chance in a million million million million million.

Now, with the coming of the internet age, we log on to many web sites, so I have added a site-specific element to go even harder. So that I have many different passwords. The passwords themselves may all be different, but the rules for building up the password are the same (almost) every time.

And thus it was with other data, too. When I got a Facebook account, it wanted to know my date of birth. So I made one up. It was sufficiently close to the real birthdate that I didn’t get tripped by silly age-verification checks, but that’s where the resemblance ends. Entered it, then promptly forgot.

So at that time, it was just a random, one-off invention, but since Facebook, more and more sites ask for this information (Spotify did the other day, see my recent post) although it is none of their business, it is easier just to fill something in. And so I dreamed up another date, which is slightly more memorable, and which I now use consistently. My official birthday – actually it was the birthday of my friend in elementary school. It took a few years for me to adopt that rule universally, but I now give that DoB out for most everything, except for important things. And using some online service is definitely not important.

So, dear reader, that is why I have two dates of birth, my real date and my official date. But if you wish to send a card on my official birthdayrather than my real one, go right ahead 🙂.