Apoplexy and Canoeing in the Digital Age

I’m all for preventative medicine. That’s why I’m planning a canoe trip next week to Chamberlain Lake. I can actually feel the thoughts of floating on the lake in my canoe lowering my blood boiling threshold, therefore diminishing my chances of a debilitating apoplexy event. Imagine the benefits to health of a real life canoe trip.

I’ve been spending lots of time in front of  a computer recently, and that’s not a healthy thing. Long ago, when my mother was raising four young children, from time to time she would speculate on dying from apoplexy induced by us. It was a strange sounding word, apoplexy, a Greek word with gruesome implications,  so far as we could tell. The possibilities certainly impressed us. I know of three people who died of apoplexy. Copernicus, who failed to integrate canoeing into his theory of the solar system, a grandfather as he was walking home from work, and Charles II,  an English king who expired while straining himself on the throne. You know the kind of throne I mean. I don’t know if canoeing would have saved these men. I think it’s likely, but at the time canoeing was not an option, especially for Copernicus and Charles II,  who lived on the wrong continent.

I can specifically attribute increased levels of stress to maintaining on line accounts and their passwords. ( I’m not going to speak here of the thousands of dollars spent on notebooks whose motherboards died prematurely of apoplexy, nor of the rage inducing turtle like pace of our internet connection). Take an example of an episode that happened this week. I wanted to log into one of my blogs I hadn’t used in a while. If you neglect these sites they forget who you are and wont’ let you in. I had to Google log in help just to figure out how to enter my site. Then I needed a password. I have a little book filled with passwords, so I looked it up and found several for that site, some crossed out, some not. I tried a likely looking one, and after a second the log in box jiggled back and forth, saying no, that’s not right. Since I’ve been known to make typos, and you can’t tell what you’re typing anyway because only black dots come up on the screen, I tried again, and the thing wiggled back and forth again. So I tried a password from the top of the page, maybe the most recent, with more confidence now, having eliminated a choice, therefore increasing the odds of getting it right. Again the jiggle wiggle. Then comes the message I’ve exceeded allowable attempts, try again in a few minutes.

It’s times like these I remember a friend who had two children. He also had a vein of Luddite in his body and a TV, and tried to reconcile the contradiction by setting limits on the kids’ viewing hours. Lo and behold the kids broke the rules, more than once, so my friend fixed them by getting out his shotgun and shooting the television while they were in the act of watching. I’ve always admired his willingness to bear arms, though I believe those kids experienced a few issues in their teens, whether from too much TV, or lack of it, I’m not sure. I do have a shotgun, kept on hand for partridge hunting, which I’ve never used it for, or for putting electronics out of their misery. I admit I’ve considered the shotgun option, but realize there are fewer consequences to conjuring up a canoe trip. Yes, I have heard of a password management program, but have hesitated going there. You probably need a password.

Meanwhile though, I’m back for another attempt, after doing some online shopping and botching the credit card entry. It’s just too many numbers in a row to get right. Pretty soon my inbox is filling with new passwords. As I type the new one, or mistype it, I get the jiggle, and realize I never did know the new password because I made an invisible typo setting the new password.  “Forget your password? Type your email address here.”  Well yes, I have screamed out loud, very loud, at the computer,  momentarily forgetting the existence of canoes and Chamberlain Lake, and other eligible bodies of water, and straining my vocal chords, already compromised by a former pack a day habit. I feel the presence of apoplexy like I feel the edge of a cliff. It’s times like this when it’s a healthy idea to keep perspective. And that’s where canoeing comes in.