"Don't read the comments," was my colleague's advice when my first blog post appeared online.
I didn't listen, I read them anyway. I figure you can't call yourself a real blogger until someone has abused you. I'm rather proud, however, that my first troll, one Doug from Maryland, is a better quality troll than most.
Doug can spell. The man can punctuate like a pro and -- this was the kicker, I almost swooned -- he knows when to use an apostrophe.
I know, right? He's a keeper. Troll me anytime, baby.
Many people are apostrophe challenged. Once this affliction was confined to produce specials (banana's, $2.99kg), corporate logos and school newsletters and my rage stayed under control, mostly.
In the past five or so years it has crept into places that should know better. Social media is a cringeworthy pastime for any word geek but you can hardly blame people who aren't professionals for posts that sound like English is their second language when media organisations aren't much better.
These days any sort of combination of letters and apostrophes is the go. One recent online news story used an apostrophe three different ways with regard to the couple concerned. It was, as my old Granddad, who was fond of gambling, would have said, like the writer wanted a bob each way.
He or she would have gone home broke from that race because it was wrong every time. The writer wasn't even close. It was like he or she knew there should have been an apostrophe somewhere in there, so fired a few at the story in random, machine gun style in the hope they'd hit something.
"No-one care's," a particularly droll colleague said as we spent a happy few minutes over coffee in the work cafe bemoaning the state of online news.
Well, I care. In my brief and disturbing foray into internet dating I listed "must know how to use an apostrophe" under Things You Are Picky About on the profile bit. (This was after a couple of horrific hours spent reading profiles that said things like "I no what I want" and "kid's OK". Can you see why I only lasted five days?)
Some people think a six pack of abs is sexy. Me, I'm all about the literacy. Hey, don't judge me. If men can have a list (and they did) that specified the jean size, hair colour and number of kids they'd tolerate in a date, I can ask for a modicum of intelligence, I reckon.
It's the sexiest curve of all, that elusive little apostrophe. It's like Parseltongue, a rarely granted ability.
Beer goggles, pfffftt. Nothing will make a person attractive to me faster than a correctly punctuated text or email.
I said resignedly to someone that my preference for people with a few smarts marked me as a dinosaur, past my use-by date. She smiled and told me about her teenage daughter who asks of every attractive male "yes, but can he do long division?" I may adopt her.
Do you care? Am I the only one? Send me your comments but please, for the love of God, use spelling and grammar check first. I'm begging you.