Next Week on Dr. Who: “The Daleks Versus”

The State of Florida benefits system was created by a time lord. Not only does their online enrollment system require the use of an outdated browser, but the password expires before you use it, and they want you to enter future dates to view current information. So when I say, time lord, I mean one of the bad ones, not Dr. Who. Maybe The Master. He was always trouble.

It took me a while to even get into their system. Since I’m a new state employee, I am registering for my benefits the first time. Of course, it’s all online. The paperwork I received in the mail includes only the instructions “use the website” and an ID number. I had to actually pull up an FAQ on the site to learn what my temporary password was. Which didn’t even work. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Before I talk about the password failing, let me tell you about the browser requirements. I attempted to enter the ID and the temporary password using Chrome like a normal person, only to receive a message that my browser was not supported. Sorry, Chrome. You’re too good for Florida. So, I tried again using Internet Explorer, which the FAQ states is supported. I again received a message that my browser is not supported. The hell? I read the FAQ again. There is an asterisk by IE version 11. Holy crap on a cracker. Apparently, only IE version 9 or older is supported. I had to go into my IE tools and set it to backwards compatibility. Also, apparently, I still have IE on my computer.

Finally, I found a browser old enough for Florida. I’m sure there’s an “average age” joke in here somewhere. I figured out what my temporary password was and entered all the info. The system spat back a line of text that said “your account has been locked” and gave a phone number for me to call. Good god, I had to call them on the phone after all of that. Perhaps my sophisticated browser made them think I was a hacker. The password had expired before it ever existed. It’s like I was never born. Or I was my own grandfather. Or something like that—temporal paradoxes are so confusing. The telephone operator unlocked my account and I was able to proceed.

Until I was randomly logged off by the system when I clicked next. Twice. Click “next” to proceed is a trick, apparently. Eventually I got back in, filled in a few blanks (I was hesitant to click buttons by then) and hit another wall. The aforementioned time lord had a good laugh, I’m sure. Jesus have mercy, I just want to see my current benefits. As of today. August 13. In the year 2015. The actual error message I received while trying to view my current plan said “Please enter a date after 12/31/9999”. Not only is that ridiculous (for so many reasons I can’t even count), it’s also impossible. The entry blank only has space for eight characters. January the first of Y10K is not a date I can physically type in. Also, I will not require health insurance in the year 10,000 because (as I learned from HG Wells) humans will have de-evolved and (assuming I’ve been reincarnated) I will be living in a cave. Or the planet will be gone. Probably the planet thing. Either way, I won’t be a Florida state employee anymore.

In summation, there are some perks of working for a large state university. Interactions with evil time lords making state-run websites dysfunctional are not among them.