13 de Agosto 2021


image from http://www.franticstamper.com

Numbers come to mind as a topic because I literally wasted yesterday swamped in numbers! It’s not as if I were doing anything mathematical, but I was stuck in the internet world of codes and passwords, which today are not even a constant. Every month seems to bring the demand for a change in numbers and letters and special characters. Yikes!

Years ago, while waiting for buy a book in a Jerusalem bookstore, I overheard a staff conversation about numbers. I forget the details, but it had something to do with customer codes and codes attached to certain books. It was a dreary conversation until one staff member said, “I kind of feel uncomfortable making a number so important.” She was thinking, of course, of the Holocaust when Jews and some other segments of society were branded with numbers. At the moment, it seemed a sensitive, yet practical response to numbers in a way that I have never considered. That is until now, when I am immersed in Holocaust research.

The flurry of numbers yesterday involved flight cancellations, hotel changes, etc. I now have two flight cancellations awaiting review and refunding by Copa Airlines. Attached to each application for a refund are several numbers: case number; E-ticket-number; Personal identity number; landline and mobile phone numbers; credit card number; Order number (includes letters); record locator number (includes letters); hotel and airline fidelity program numbers; “etc., etc., etc.,” as the King of Siam said to quickly end the frustration of a list.

God forbid if any one of these numbers is incorrectly entered. This can be a problem too when some websites don’t permit you to see what you are typing. I know online security is extremely important, but not when you are in a bad mood! I was even blocked from a CVS website because I was apparently typing with such speed that I was suspected of being a computer!

And this brings me to the frustration of required usernames and passcodes to sign into your registered sites. I feel so decrepit when I can’t even make my password entries match when signing in. Then, if you try too often to sign in, the site blocks you and makes you go back to a link where you have to change your password. This process takes time because you have to try to be creative with numbers, letters (small and capital), special characters. I’m guessing that ampersands, pound marks and exclamation points have never been used so often as in these early years of the 21st Century.

The worst thing about numbers is that they are always right.

Published by Thomas

Retired from active priestly ministry in the Catholic Church; former Benedictine monk; francophile; Holocaust researcher; Delta One Million Miler; Ex-Patriated American to the Republic of Panama

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