It was mid morning when I decided to log on to the Internet to see what was going on in the world and to check my E-mail.  The message, "Invalid Password" flashed on my screen followed by a window that allowed me to retype my password.  I don't type in my password when I log on. My password is stored.  I typed it in, and received the "Invalid Password" message again.  Hmmmm...  

I had been on the Internet the night before and had no problems.  I quit the Compuserve program and ran it again with the same results. My old password didn't work either. When in doubt, reboot, so I turned off my computer and started all over again–ending in the same scenario. $#@&%* I didn't have these problems before AOL bought Compuserve.

The "Invalid Password" message gave a 1-800 number to call so I called it.  After a long introduction message I was told by the message to press '1' if I had a touchtone phone. Do people still have phones that are not touchtone?  Pressing one got me to another message that requested I narrow down my problem. I pressed '2' this time, which was the correct number for someone having trouble connecting to Compuserve.  The third message inquired as to whether I had a PC or a Macintosh computer. I selected '2' for Macintosh.

The fourth message apologized for the fact that all of their customer service representatives were currently handling other customers.  I'm not surprised.  It was the middle of the night in India where all their customer service representatives were probably sleeping.  Instead of telling me to hold for the next available customer service representative, it suggested I use Compuserve's on line help.  Since my problem was the inability to connect to the Internet, I didn't appreciate that advice. Then my phone call was automatically terminated after telling me to call back later.  I've been calling back for hours.  I guess they are not up yet in India.

With efforts at getting help looking rather hopeless, I decided to do more investigation. I have a backup hard drive, so I booted from it and tried Compuserve with the same unpleasant results.  My last hope was to connect to the Internet through my office. Unfortunately my office was in New Jersey and I was on vacation in Colorado, so that meant a long-distance phone call.  I was able to connected to the Internet through work. Using Internet Explorer I went to Compuserve's web mail page where my password was rejected once more.  This time they provided a link I could click if I had forgotten my password. I clicked it and was prompted for my user/screen name.  I entered that and was told they would E-mail me my password in a few minutes.  Duuuu...   If I can't log on to check my E-mail, what good would that do?  Idiots.

A day earlier my telephone service had been reactivated with Qwest. It had been on vacation hold. This morning the phone rang and it was a recorded message from Qwest saying that I had recently activated my service and that if my phone was not working, to give them a call at their 1-800 number. Perhaps Qwest and AOL have merged into one gigantic bureaucracy run by overpaid executives and managed by idiots. Or perhaps there is a new virus out that is called the Idiot Worm. 

Followup: I discovered a way to get quick help. When it asks if you have a touch tone phone, say NO. Then you get immediate help. It turns out that someone had reported my email address as SPAM, and my account was frozen by Compuserve. But that's all history now since I left Compuserve for AOL followed by Hotmail and them Gmail.