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Not Actual Validation

July 14, 2017

I know why it says it, but I still like to hear it. It’s not even sincere, but there’s just something about positive validation that makes me feel better. . .even when it’s a credit card machine that is validating me.

It’s stupid. I was buying something today and I paid with a debit card. I haven’t actually had a credit card for nearly 10 years. I think there might be one in my name still, but I’ve long since lost the card somewhere in one of the “junk” drawers in my house.

A debit card gives you all the same protections as a credit card. The difference, of course, is that you can’t run up a big bill on a debit card. You can only spend the money you have in the bank.

Several years ago, my family went through a really tough time financially. I ended up $80,000 in debt without a job and my family living in my brother-in-law’s horse barn. That was kind of a low point. We didn’t declare bankruptcy, but it was close. We eventually paid off all the debts. I drive an old car with a lot of miles, but it’s paid for. We owe for the house, but that’s it. It’s a wonderful feeling of freedom.

So, that’s why I use a debit card. The worry with a debit card is that someone will find out your PIN. Even with the new chip cards, the PIN is still a weak link, security wise. Many stores offer little shields around the keypad to help you hide the numbers from prying eyes. I’ve found a foolproof way of hiding my PIN.

When you go to enter your PIN, put your first three fingers across the keys like this.

Now, when you need to push a button, just depress whichever finger is over that key. Slide your hand up and down for the other numbers. I defy you to watch me enter my PIN and be able to capture my PIN. 

Being a good father, I was explaining this technique to my 17 year old son.

Yeah, I know I already do this.

Really? Where did you learn that?

I watched you enter your PIN one time and realized I couldn’t tell what numbers you were typing.

Oh. . .wait a minute. . .

After you enter your PIN, the reader goes out and checks your bank account and transfers to the money. And that is the point at which I always smile. Oh sure, I’m happy that I have money in my account, but the part that makes me smile is when the machine announces that it is okay with my life choices. I feel unjustifiably validated when the card reader announces that I’m


Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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