Remember when the only people who had passwords were spies in trench coats with their collars turned up? Now, if you operate a computer at your job (and who doesn’t?), you need a password.

It is not enough that you have a password, it must be secure. This means that you can’t use the names of your wife, mistress, offspring or cocker spaniel; too easy for hackers to figure out. Your password has to be composed of a random jumble of letters and numerals, upper and lower case, totaling about 10 characters. No unauthorized person will ever be able to gain entry into your system.

The problem is that you can’t gain entry, either, because you can’t remember your password. Of necessity, you had to write down the password, but now you can’t find the slip of paper. The real problem is that since you had to write it down, the password is really no longer secure.

I have finally figured out the best way to construct a password that you and only you will remember is to use the secret events in your life that you’ve never shared with anyone. Rattle those skeletons in your closet and you’ll find an inexhaustible store of passwords. Or, turn to news stories you’d just as soon forget.

Some samples:

The1redteddythatfailed: commemorating the Valentine’s gift from Victoria’s Secret that your wife said made her feel cheap and trashy, and you made the mistake of replying that you liked cheap and trashy …

Bushtaxproposal#2: an excellent password because it is not yet reality, but be assured that it will remind you of the last one, where you blew the $90 rebate all in one shot to stimulate the economy.

Elwingador156: a tribute to another Philadelphia tradition where we substitute our absence in the real Super Bowl for barfing and broads at the Wing Bowl, and try to act happy about it.

Michigan20: the number of points a minority applicant gets added to his or her score when applying to that university.

Yale100: the number of points out of 100 that George W. Bush received as the son of a prominent alumnus when he was admitted to Yale.

TawanaBrawley#ton: a reminder of why Al Sharpton running for president is a sure sign that civilization is nearing an end.

Uninspectors0: the zero signifies the credibility of Hans Blix and his inspection team. (Are these the same guys who gave Stalin credit for running a nice, clean democracy?)

2Street: no, not that famous South Philly street, but the narrow margin of victory that put John Street in the mayor’s office.

Hard2believe: the analysis that says the same 2 percent will give him another term.

150,000t-shirts: the number of Eagles Super Bowl jerseys that were donated to a homeless shelter by a leading chain of sporting goods stores.

Dow200: the number of points the stock market drops every time the president comes up with another plan to boost the economy.

WhoRu: the question most asked of Democrats running for president.

1lbsopressata: Uncle Nunzio’s tonic for relieving the winter blues, washed down with a glass of homemade wine.