CAPTCHA…I Wanna Punch Ya!

Have you ever tried to fill out an online form so you could enter a contest to win a coupon for dog food… or tried to buy tickets to see the local spoken word revival of the Broadway hit CATS…and been stopped cold in the process at some point by a series of incredibly fuzzy letters and numbers that look like they were regurgitated by a fun house mirror?

Then, not only did you have to try to look at these without experiencing vertigo, you were also instructed to replicate them in a tiny box to prove yourself human?

If so, you have grappled with my nemesis: CAPTCHA.

CAPTCHA is a program that was ostensibly created so companies could be sure that their online order forms or registrations were being filled out by real, live human beings and not robots.

I don’t buy that for one second, though. CAPTCHA was obviously created by some angry malcontent sitting in his parents’ basement trying to monetize his attempt at revenge on humanity.

Still don’t believe me? Examine this excerpt from the official CAPTCHA homepage:

CAPTCHA is a program that generates impossible sequences of numbers and letters to make people prove they are human.  CAPTCHA’s ability to frustrate is universal, thus working across all countries and formats. The genius of CAPTCHA is that most don’t even have actual solutions! Robots operate with logic and will move right along.  Actual people are quite stupid and persistent. They will keep trying and trying to prove their humanity long after the computers have cut their losses and moved on to wreak havoc on other non-CAPTCHA protected websites. Click here for our affordable pricing guide!


There is nothing I hate more than encountering a CAPTCHA when I am in a high pressure situation. If you are trying to buy tickets to a hot show, they only allow you to secure them in your check out cart for 4 to 5 minutes before releasing them to the next customer.

Time is of the essence! The last thing I want to see as I’m finishing up my order for front row seats to The Susan Boyle Christmas Experience is a damn CAPTCHA staring me in the face.

It always starts for me, as with so many other things, with denial.


Attempt #1

Lisa: Hey! This looks like an easy one! It’s not even blurry!

Lisa: Okay, no problem….7…6…2…N…C…6…j…5…2

Lisa: Oh, SHOOT. That wasn’t right. Okay, no problem. Let’s see the next one. I’ll get my glasses. That will totally help.


Attempt #2

Lisa: Oh, hell. One of those divided ones. This one is a bit more challenging. That’s okay. I can do it. 2…3…is that an “h” or an “r” with a “j”? hmmm…h…A…C…T…U? 

Lisa: DAMN IT!

After two tries I usually hold my face *THIS* close to the computer screen and squint my eyes because that is obviously helpful.


Attempt #3

Lisa: Is there a “1” before that “7”? I just can’t tell!   Okay….1…7….0…2…k…D…g…is that an “o” or a button?…O…I swear that is an upside down “t” but that can’t be right…I…R

Okay, this is the point where it gets serious. You’ve already messed up three attempts. You can literally feel the Susan Boyle Christmas Experience slipping through your fingers.


Attempt #4

Lisa: OHMYGOD…You’ve got to be kidding me.

Because what else can you say when faced with something that’s blurrier than the Vaseline’d lens they used to shoot Joan Crawford in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”. 

When I get one like this (and after I stop screaming), I just skip that CAPTCHA without even guessing and move on to the next one.


Attempt #5

Now, when you are totally desperate and you see something like that on your computer screen, you might think, “This is a good time to click the audio button and just transcribe what the voice tells me.”

Hahahahahaha. Oh, Lawd. If you think that, you’ve obviously never clicked the audio button, my friend. Not only is the CAPTCHA robot voice the stuff of nightmares, it’s also conveniently unintelligible.

CAPTCHA robot voice: Niiiiiiinerfivineineinenine…fiiivevennnvefiiiiivefive Bleepblotwinningdliblahblahpingerererebloop

Lisa: Seriously, what the hell? Am I supposed to put 95…or 99995555 or 99555 or what? How does “bloop” translate to a letter of the alphabet?

But the good news is that you don’t have to worry about it any more. By the time you are on your 5th attempt the tickets have been taken from your cart and given to some other fan of light contemporary adult holiday music. You are left with nothing. (Nothing except the strong desire to throw your laptop across the room.)

It can’t just be me, right? Everyone else can’t be effortlessly zipping through these things when they’re entering the Hidden Valley Ranch Online Sweepstakes or subscribing to the Quiznos Online Monthly Newsletter, can they?

If you’d like to leave a comment or give your secret to decoding the demonic CAPTCHA, do not fear:





CAPTCHA…I Wanna Punch Ya! — 138 Comments

  1. Hahahah…this had me laughing for a lot longer than it should. Probably because I relate so much 🙁

    What gets me most is they say they do it to prove me human…like there’s a robot somewhere in a dingy apartment trying to buy 1D tickets, which I won’t take even if they’re free, and they just can’t let it happen? Oh, please.

    I have yet to find a way to decode them before I detonate, but if I do, you’ll be the first to know.

    • Bwahaha! I love that so much, “Just let that happen, people!”.
      Xae, we’ll keep each other in the loop if we ever figure these things out.

    • There has to be, Kim! I know I am making hand gestures that no robot could copy when I’m trying to do a CAPTCHA… so maybe that could work somehow?

  2. I absolutely HATE CAPTCHA!!!!!! It makes me feel like the biggest idiot on the planet. The worst is when I write a long comment on a blog and forget to copy it and then get the captcha wrong and it erases my comment. I end up moving on because I can’t handle the stress of it all. There only about 5 blogs I read that still have the captcha because I love the blogs so much but God, how I wish everyone would do away with it! This post does a great job of expressing how I feel about the whole thing.

    • I know exactly what you mean, AnnMarie. It’s happened more than once that I’ve actually typed out a comment only to abandon it because I just couldn’t get the CAPTCHA after a try or two. It’s beyond irritating! Some days my CAPTCHA mojo is just lower than others.

  3. omgawd omgawd, I’m crying here. I am laughing so hard I cannot breathe.

    Why, you ask?


    omg – this is totally pee in your pants hilarious. I love you. (Too much too soon?)

    • I know the desperation you felt all too well as you took the plunge and hit the audio button—and then had the monotone robotic nightmare voice blabbing nonsense at you.
      You think someone has thrown you a life vest, but it turns out it’s a lead dentist’s apron.

      Love you too, Andrea!! 🙂 I don’t want to live in a world where two women can’t bond over a hatred and fear of creepy robot voices!

  4. I think with each passing day they are purposely making CAPTCHAS more and more difficult to read. I’m starting to think it’s a ploy to get us all off the interwebs…

    • Oh, you KNOW they are Bev. And they are just laughing and laughing that we all need so many tries to get one right. They are sickos.
      I’m not leaving the interwebs without a fight! (Unless they start playing that creepy audio voice as psychological warfare because that thing scares me to death)

  5. I’m so with you. I have tried leaving comments on some bloggers sites that have this feature and get so frustrated that I just log out of that site. I love interacting with bloggers I enjoy. In every major blogging group they tell you to get rid of this.

    • I can see why. I do visit a few blogs regularly who have CAPTCHA and it just makes commenting so much harder–and like you, I love leaving comments for bloggers and interacting with blogs I love! Things that impede you interacting with your fans can’t be good!!

    • We have a spam plug in thingy and it just swoops our spam into a folder that we only have to deal with once every so often to empty. Easy peasy! 😀

    • One good thing…think of how overjoyed we will be when–out of nowhere one day–we actually get a CAPTCHA on the first try!! Bells will ring, music will play, and balloons will fall on our heads in triumph! But until then, we just have to be annoyed.

    • You are definitely not alone, Tess! I can’t EVER get them. At first I thought it was just my old, stupid eyes until I had my 12 year old come over to try to help me decode one. He couldn’t figure it out either and he’s WAY more computer savvy than I am. HA!

  6. I didn’t know it was called CAPTCHA, that’s interesting. And funny (you’re a good writer). This dose of reality is really a good thing.

    • Thanks, Bill!
      My husband didn’t know that’s what they were called either. When I told him what I was writing about he gave me a blank look like I was crazy (but he does that a lot) until I explained what they were—then he joined in the hate train.

  7. OMG, yes!! I hate these things. All of a sudden every curse word I have ever learned comes out of my mouth and I call in my husband for reinforcements for fear of throwing the computer on the floor.

    • I’m so glad you have someone to call for reinforcements. I generally call my son–but he isn’t much better than I am at these stupid things.

      You know, it might actually be better if they gave us more than one try at each picture. Sometimes I can’t tell just ONE letter and if I guess wrong, I’d probably be right if I had one more crack at it. (But they’ve already moved on to another picture by then.)
      I’m sure they do that because they enjoy seeing us suffer.

  8. I am SO with you! Captcha is the WORST! I can’t even read it most of the time and get so frustrated. I have never needed it – my spam filter catches everything. I have given up some blogs that have it enabled. I have to *really* like you to go through all of that!

    • Our spam filter does just fine, too.

      You make a good point! For all of those people who do use CAPTCHA…now they know how much we really love them to stick it out and comment!! 🙂 (That’s at least one positive thing about it!!)

  9. Oh yes oh yes oh YES!!! I have to click on refresh over and over again, and I don’t even give it a try unless I have a fair amount of confidence I can get the damn thing right!!! Seeing as I never comment on my site…oh I pray I don’t have this on my blog!!! Do I? Maybe I do. Oh dear Lord! Lisa- please let me know if I do!!! I think I remember seeing “are you a spammer?” question somewhere…can’t remember now. Geesh. Either way- Captcha SUCKS.

    • They really are the worst, aren’t they??!!

      YOU ARE IN THE CLEAR COMPLETELY, CHRIS!! You definitely don’t have CAPTCHA. What you have is a little box right under the “post comment” button that says “check here if you are not a robot” or something equally as nice. You click it and VIOLA! Your comment posts! If you forget to click the box then it reminds you, but it is easy peasy! The Mom Cafe is a CAPTCHA FREE ZONE! Yay!

  10. Good column, Lisa! I did not know that it was called CAPTCHA. It used to be actual words so you had a chance. I haven’t seen any as crazy as those, though. Like we need more stress hanging on the the tickets we have been hitting refresh 18 times a 9:59 to get.

    • Thanks, John!
      If they were still actual words we’d have a MUCH better chance of getting them right. They can’t have that! We would not be tortured and stressed enough!
      I’m sure the CAPTCHA creator is sitting in a basement on his pile of money right now cackling and blurring up even more scrambled letter combinations as I sit here. That bastard!!

    • I can totally understand her reasoning! My problem is that I never remember exactly which ones use it. So, by the time the stupid CAPTCHA shows up in my face, I’ve already typed out a comment and I’d like it to be seen!! Ugh.

  11. Agree, Agree, Agree! And you had such a great way of expressing your (our) feelings!
    A few days ago, my daughter and I filled out this very long form and then I sent her to bed. I finally got to the end of the form … and then messed up the code and it cleared the form …. AAAAAHHHHHHH

    • Oh, man. I would have lost it!!!
      So you could go back and redo the entire thing, and then you’d STILL have another CAPTCHA again at the end waiting to clear out your form if you missed it another time!! ARRGGHHH!!!

  12. I have taken pictures of the impossible Captchas and posted them on Instagram and Twitter, asking what the hell is this because I CAN’T FECKING MAKE IT OUT.

    Captcha hates me.

    (Oh I told a favorite blogger of mine – I love you but I hate Captcha. Can you PLEASE disable it? She told me she’d forgotten she’d even had it and she disable it at last!)

    • First of all I love that you post CAPTCHAs on the internet. That is hysterical. I’m totally going to do that next time!!

      Secondly, I love that you were proactive and just came right out and asked your blogger friend to take it off…AND SHE DID!! We should all learn from your example! 🙂

  13. I’m with you on this one! I cringe when I try and leave a blog comment and that little box pops up :-/

    Nothing worse than writing a heartfelt comment and struggling to post it because you can’t figure out what those letters and numbers are.

    Thank you for a good laugh!

    • Exactly! You compose a nice response and you are so happy to be interacting with the writer…and then you can’t get it to post thanks to distorted squiggles!!! Ugh!

    • That’s a good way to do it!
      I’m too stubborn. Once I’ve filled out a form or written a comment, I am absolutely determined to get past the CAPTCHA on principle alone!

  14. Nothing frustrates me more than having put all the best of me in a comment and I find out at the end the dreaded CAPTCHA stuff! More than one comment has been eaten and more often than not I abandon my attempt to comment. There ARE other ways to prove that we are human and not a robot. Please, kill CAPTCHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I lvoe your pic, the inventor must have been a people hater for sure!

    • I’m with you, Fenny…KILL CAPTCHA!!
      Our CAPTCHA rage alone should be proof enough of our humanity, right?

      (and you know every time we misinterpret one of his blurry blobs, the inventor pats himself on the back and snorts out a Mwahahaha!)

  15. This is so funny! I hate captcha! Why people choose to put this on their blogs or sites is such a mystery to me. I get so mad when I take the time to attempt to type the stupid character only to confirm I can’t freakin’ see them!

    • I have a better chance of reading the smallest line on the eye chart at the ophthalmologist without my glasses than I do of getting a CAPTCHA right on the first try. I don’t need confirmation of this at the end of a long form or when I’m trying to buy something!!

  16. Great post, funny but true! I hate captcha! Sooooo annoying particularly if your using your mobile! I see it on a lot of blogs and never know whether to say to they about it or not. It puts many people commenting on blogs etc. I still do if I have time to go through dreaded process but I know many people will just skip that blog.

    • Oh, my. I didn’t even THINK about trying to do a CAPTCHA on my phone! That adds a whole new level of misery because now you’re trying to do it all on a mini screen! AAAAHHH! That’s as much of a nightmare as the robot voice!! Torture!!

  17. I HATE CAPTCHA too! I was laughing out loud at this post, cause I have had experiences just like that one!!! Oh I hate it. And it is very discouraging on blogs too… TURN IT OFF!!!

    • You know, Alexa, it strikes me that we’ve yet to hear from one person who loves CAPTCHA!
      Do these people exist? Are there folks who can prove they are human easier than the rest of us? If so, what kind of corrective eye wear are they sporting?

    • Oh, yes! The countdown clock adds that extra flurry of panic that makes the entire thing even MORE enjoyable! Thanks for stopping by!

  18. I laughed so hard when you mentioned the audio thing because I’ve never
    had to resort to using it but I’ve always seen it as my last hope, for if I really can’t get it.
    When I first started my blog, CAPTCHA was on it by default. I never had a single comment, not even one. Someone finally clued me in and told it it was optional… as soon as I removed it, the comments started rolling in. Well, maybe trickling is the better word, but still. For me, I love the community/connecting with other bloggers and comments are a part of that. CAPTCHA was totally a hurdle keeping me from connecting with readers. And I’ve still never had a spam comment…

    • Robin, it will be a sad day if you ever have to count on the audio voice to save you! (although you should totally click on it once so you can see how insane it really is).
      I’m so glad you took the CAPTCHA off your site–and that you’re still spam free! 🙂

  19. This is the funniest post on CAPTCHA I have ever read! I totally agree that it must have been created by some dank teenage world of warcraft fan wanting to punish all of humanity!
    I find them so impossible to read these days I have started using a CAPTCHA bypass browser extension program called RUMOLA to fill them all in for me. Its absolutely excellent! A little guy with bulging eyes and a pen pops up next to the CAPTCHA box and then, hey presto, its magically filled in for you! No idea how it works but it really has made the internet a more appealing place!

    • Thanks, Allycat. We’re on to the creator of these things now.

      And I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH for the name of the CAPTCHA solver. I am now crossing all of my crossables that there is a RUMOLA extension for Chrome because if there is you have just made my life!! (and on a Monday to boot!!)

  20. This is hilarious!!! You are SOOOO right. It always come right down to it – I follow the rules … type in my data … and then WHAMO – what the hell??? Of course I am super stressed and under the “timing” pressure of the whole thing. By the time I am told that my number of tries is up – because only a ROBOT could be SO dumb – I am spent and empty handed – what a rob!!!!

    • We rule followers always get robbed, Dana!!! I used to think it was just my old stupid eyes and brain that just couldn’t get stupid CAPTCHAs while everyone else did just fine—but NOT TRUE. NOBODY can get these stupid things!!! Ridiculous!

  21. I couldn’t possibly add one more thing to any of the comments already shared, other than a few chosen words that would make even a truck driver blush.

    Too, too, too funny!!!

    • Hahahaha! They are so evil. I can’t give up a few of the blogs that I read that still have them. I just try to tell myself that the rage they engender keeps me from becoming too mellow in my old age.

  22. CAPTCHA sucks donkey balls. Seriously. I have written lovely, heartfelt comments to bloggers who I know would really appreciate my response and when I’m foiled by the feckin’ CAPTCHA, I leave the site.

    Especially when the comment is moderated after the stupid code is entered. Really??? Really??? You’re that afraid that someone will leave a trolly comment that you have two layers of securicrap? Get ovah youself.

    • Oh, man. I’ve never been CAPTCHA’d then moderated. So first I have to prove I’m human…then I have to be checked to be sure I’m not a troll. Harsh.

  23. Oh God, I hate Captcha! Thank you so much for this post. It always amazes me when I go to a blog and there might be one comment on the entire site, but yet Captcha is turned on!! If you only have one comment, maybe you need some spam comments!

    Loved this!!

  24. Perfect post. It makes me feel stupid. I hate it. I can read. I can type. But it never likes what I enter. Btw, I have lost concert tickets on Ticketmaster because of it. Frustrating.

    • GAH!!! You poor thing! CAPTCHAS are bad enough when they pop up while we’re surfing the interwebs. But it’s totally obnoxious to shove blurry and distorted characters up in our grill and then start a countdown clock we’ve got to beat or our tickets are dust.

  25. So funny! I never knew this thing had a name, but I’ve spent countless minutes of my life, trying and failing, to prove I’m not an online robot. Great post.

    • YES! And they should be made to work CAPTCHA’s all day long. But that would never work because it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

  26. AMEN!!!!! I seriously I HATE captcha with a Passion! honestly if I come across a blog with Captcha…even if i wanted to comment; I just pass it by I hate it that much. It is devil spawn! If a blog has Captcha they are asking to kill themselves socially!

    I mean seriously! You hit is on the nail> how the heck are you suppose to read some of those letters…or were they numbers? Maybe a symbol that doesn’t even exist on the keyboard?

    And the voice is even worse! I’ve been there…done that.

    • I don’t know how they live with themselves. They are evil.

      I am entirely sure that they make one of the audio recordings then go laugh themselves silly. Sickos.

    • Oh, I hate that. And if I give it a whirl and get it wrong (because I always get the first one wrong), it blanks out my comment. I can never recreate what I wrote the first time because now I’m seething. Grrrr.

    • If those people exist, I have not met them. We sure haven’t had any CAPTCHA defenders chime in here! Are you out there CAPTCHA lovers? Nope….nothing.

  27. Brilliant! Hard to choose my favorite part of your writing, but my favorite part of the CAPTCHA site is where, seconds after acknowledging that their purpose is frustration, they offer to show you a price list. If I wanted to pay for my frustration I’d play golf, thanks.

    • You’ve actually gotten them on the FIRST TRY???!!!! Even if it’s rare, I think you must be a genius. I bow down. If that happened to me, I’d probably whoop so loud my family would come running.

  28. I used to think Captcha was a pain. Then they brought in that fuzzy picture of numbers that you cannot see even with your glasses. Now it’s a giant pain in the arse and I despise it.

    • I could not agree more, Vanessa. I wonder what ridiculous out of focus thing they will add next. I’d hazard a guess here, but I don’t want to give them any ideas!

  29. Oh yeah. I hear ya on this one! I hate when bloggers have it in order to leave a comment. As a blogger myself, I turned off Captcha as soon as I knew it was there. Honestly, I rarely comment on posts that require me to decode a captcha, If you are a blogger with Captcha, I highly suggest you break up with it and just get a better spam filter. I promise you will get more comments.

    • I know! Is it possible they just forget they have it on there? Sometimes I wonder because I know there are features and plug ins I’ve forgotten about on the blog until something goes wrong reminding me they exist. (or maybe that’s just me) Maybe we should tell them…but we’d have to make it past a CAPTCHA to do it!

    • Hahahaha. REALLY???!!! Those cagey bastards!! They make you prove you are human to permanently delete your Facebook account just so you never can! Evil genius at work there.

  30. I am with you! As soon as I found out how annoying it was, I found out how to take it off my blog. I can’t stand trying to leave someone a comment and finding it there, taunting me. Especially the Yeah Write entries where I really do try to comment on all. I hate to skip. But non-Yeah Write and with Captcha? See ya. No comment for you!

    • Taunting us! That’s exactly it. I usually keep trying to leave a comment (if I already typed it up and it didn’t get zeroed out by my failed CAPTCHA attempts) because I am totally stubborn. But maybe that’s why I’m getting frown lines.

  31. I was shouting “AMEN!!!” through every line of this. Literally. I think I scared my kids. I took a 6-month break from blogging and when I came back, the CAPTCHA curse was worse than ever. I am only 34 and I can hardly read CAPTCHA. At first I thought my LASIK eye surgery had started to fail, but then I realized CAPTCHA had just upped its game from when I was last in the blogosphere. It is the freakin’ devil, and I’m on the verge of boycotting blogs that use it. The worst part is how you don’t know it’s there until you’ve written your long, insightful comment and are ready to move to the next blog in the 150-blog hop, and that’s when you’re held hostage for the next 10-20 minutes screwing around with CAPTCHA. And the concert tickets? Don’t even get me started. Will someone please kill CAPTCHA!! I’ll take the spam any day.

    • See!!! It made you think your eye surgery was failing! That’s totally evil!!
      You nailed it! The problem is that you just don’t know until you’ve gotten excited about the tickets or written a heartfelt comment on a blog…then…BAM!! UGH, it’s the worst!!

  32. Too funny! I feel your pain! I give CAPTCHA 2 chances, and I’m done. I often wonder why bloggers utilize this feature? I have skipped commenting on blogs I like because I got tired of trying to get past this gate. Hmm. Great post!

    • Two chances, then you are out! I think that’s a very reasonable plan. It would work for me if I wasn’t so stubborn. Once I begin a battle with CAPTCHA I cannot back down…even if it leaves me rocking in a corner sobbing.

  33. I hate this program with every fiber of my being. I don’t even know how many times I’ve gone to comment on a blog and finally have to give up because of not being able to pass the Captcha. Thank you for doing your part to rid the world of it. Stopping by from Finding the Funny. Great post!

  34. I found myself in a face off a couple days ago when I finally got up the gumption up to submit an article to the Huffington Post…I was locked in the bathroom, away from the kids and I knew my nerve was about to fail me when the CAPTCHA got me all tripped up. I kept trying the same one over and over and each failed attempt reset some of the fields for the submission and I had to keep refilling them. I panicked and started to think it was a sign that I shouldn’t send in my work. I busted out of the bath all sweaty and shaky and set the computer in front of my husband who calmly clicked the little reset button until it flashed a comprehensible CAPTCHA. *Hand slap to the forehead.*
    Found you on “Finding the Funny”. Great piece!

    • Oh, Carisa!
      CAPTCHA tried to kill your dream. It’s truly evil!! I’m so glad your husband was there to knock it into submission. Ugh!!

    • BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! You know, I never thought about it that way until just this minute. Maybe that’s my problem, too! Robot humanoids unite!

  35. I’m with you–hate it! I’ve left sites without being able to leave a comment because I couldn’t crack the code. Ugh. I like Akismet to filter spam.

    • That’s what we use too, Marcy! We’ve never had trouble at all!! It’s way better than frustrating people who are trying to talk to you!!

  36. Thanks for the chuckle this morning! I can’t stand Captcha either! Half the time I get it wrong on the first try and have to try again. Who can read those fuzzy smushed together letters?!

  37. Some capcha’s don’t recognize anything I write. Since it’s at least as likely that I got it wrong, it often takes several tries before I realize this. My neighbors are generally aware when this happens. …and my cats are no longer in the room by the time I move on.

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