February 11, 2010
Carl and Evan were camped out on the couch waiting for the Blazers’ opening tipoff. Carl muted the TV as the phone jangled its intercom ring. He answered.
“Hi, hon—what? Are you kidding? Who remembers their house number when they were five years old?”
A minute later Audrey came into the room with a pad and pencil. “What about the old license plate for the Jeep?”
“Don’t you know? If you can’t remember it, I certainly can’t. Which is why I don’t mess around with my password.”
“Which is why it’s so easy to hack.”
“Right, Evan? Isn’t that right?”
All Evan heard was his name. “What?”
Audrey sank into a chair and pushed her foot against Carl’s knee. “Tell him your password.”
“It’s a secret.”
“It’s not a secret. Forty million people know your password.”
Evan was interested now. “Oh, mom. The only possible way for that many people to know his password is if they had the same—” he looked at his mom—“the same—” then, “Dad! Please say it’s not 123ABC.”
“It is not 123ABC.” Carl felt Audrey’s eyes boring into him. “Look, ABC123 has worked just fine up until now. A, I don’t have to write it down like somebody else in the room who can’t remember her fancy symbolology—”
“Nice one, dad.”
“—thanks; B, anybody who broke into my world-wide vault would be very disappointed; and C, I have a little trick to remember my password on the off-chance I should ever suffer a severe blow to the head.”
Audrey smirked. “Yes?”
“Well, you just heard the ABC part, and the 123 part… rhymes.”
“Furthermore, as head of the household, I overrule your groaning.”
Carl heard himself say it, and he knew he could not unsay it. This was a street he never traveled down. “I mean headhold. Half the head of the household. Halfhead.” He squirmed back into into the couch cushions as Audrey squared her shoulders toward him.
“Which half?” she asked.
“The… left half. The logical—” and he swallowed the rest of that thought. “Uhhh—I’m right-handed, so my dominant side is left. Right?”
Audrey grabbed a cushion and whacked him. “Notice which hand I’m using.”
Evan left the room. He knew the game would be on hold for quite some time.
It only took ten minutes for Carl to agree on a new password, but it took the rest of the evening, during which they watched six episodes of “Fawlty Towers,” to hack into their personal vaults of memories and expectations, modern roles and ancient wheels.
Carl went into the garage before midnight and found the old Jeep license plate nailed to a stud.
“8RLV771… 8RLV771… 8RLV771….”
©2010 Pam Wells