Life: Find Something To Laugh About

Jack R. Noel
3 min readSep 18, 2023

Jack R. Noel
September 18, 2023

Just this morning I went online to access my bank account. But I decided to be extra safe and turned on my VPN and used the “Private Window” feature on my Firefox Browser.

I then entered my “User Name” in the required Sign In box. But instead of the usual “enter password” which is normally the next and final step, I was presented with the “I am not a robot” checkbox. This is as you know now standard and mandatory to access your important accounts. (And who can live without access to the Internet these days?)

But then I was presented with a segmented image from which I was to select those that had “a bicycle.” Having cataracts made this a bit difficult given the poor image quality. So I checked about six boxes, which only caused another segmented image to appear with the need to identify “ buses.” Five checked boxes showing “buses” brought up another segmented image where I had to check all the segments with “crosswalks.” Five more checked boxes brought up another segmented image showing “traffic lights”, then another image with “motorcycles” and I thought I was done. But no, then came the image with “stairs.” The cycle just repeated: “bicycle,” “bus,” “crosswalk,” “traffic lights,” and “stairs.”

After completing four cycles, I was pissed off but thought I should be seeing my account information but no. I was presented with another blank box, this time for “your temporary PIN code number. That number was sent to my email account because I chose that option, not wanting to have to go dig out my “smart phone.” Guess what, I tried to log onto my email account and, you guessed it, I had to again give my (quite different) user name and 12-digit randomized password. And then of course I had to identify which boxes showed bicycles, buses, crosswalks, traffic lights, motorcycles, and stairs.

I was past being angry and had gotten to just being grateful that only one cycle of “I am not a robot” got me to my email inbox. Whooee! So there as promised was the email from my bank with the vital “PIN number” that would expire in… EXPIRED 3 MINUTES AGO.

Yes, back to my bank’s website where (thank you, God) they had a “resend” button I could click. Notice here that they already know what they have done by causing those PIN numbers to expire before you can enter the magic PIN number back at the bank’s website. “Resend” becomes another cold slap in the face. They might as well have put it, Resend, ’cause you’re a moron.

Go ahead, tell me that I don’t need VPN or a “Private Window” and therefore don’t need this level of aggravation to achieve my simple goal (4-minutes of access to my bank account so I can be sure I have enough credit balance to buy new ink cartridges for my printer). I am able to just allow any hacker in Russia or Qatar or China to take over my computer with ransomware which will require me to go rob the bank where I have “a convenient online account.”

At least I am satisfied to have found something in Life to laugh about.

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Jack R. Noel

Writer (non fiction/fiction), science buff, history buff and political commentator at large.