Backstories in Code
Ian Urbina

The relationship implodes; it’s over. There’s anger, frustration, disappointment. Was it me? Did I not meet her needs? Or was it how she could always set me off in a defensive rage with but a shard of accusation in her tone?

But it’s done now. I need to move on. Now’s a time to end the bad habits I picked up and form new ones. I feel like a failure. Like a loser. Got to rebuild my wilting confidence. I’ve gotta start reminding myself who I am and move towards the me I want to become. Everyday. I won’t wallow in this shit.

My password! She knows my fucking password.

How could I be so stupid, so naive? I’m exposed! Vulnerable! I’ve got to change it to something else — something safe. Something strong. Holy shit — I type this stupid thing a dozen times a day! My password will be my mantra!





I open Users & Groups in my System Preferences. Then I go to Google, to Facebook, to Twitter, to Flickr. I know you’re not supposed to use the same password on every site, but this is a good one; this is for me.

One by one, I confirm the change.

Days pass. My spirits lift.

I head back to the gym. Harder. I return to meditating. Better. My confidence returns. Faster. I sign on with a personal trainer. Stronger.

This story was written in response to Ian Urbina’s piece in the New York Times “Your Passwords Revealed” and his more recent “Backstories in Code”. Although fictional, it is inspired by real events that took place several years ago.

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