Saturday, June 14, 2003

BTAF’s guide to the apostrophe
For most of the last few years I’ve been a technical writer. I rode the tech boom to stratospheric heights and back down into the ground. Now I’m an independent contractor (read: office temp). While writing documentation for software, I discovered that most computer geeks can’t write their way out of a pay toilet*. Frequently, my job consisted primarily of translating engineer into English. As might be expected, I became the worse sort of grammar snob. I’ve gotten over a lot of that. But I still carry one relic of those days with me. When I was still well paid, I had a cartoon in my cubicle that I often sent to the punctuation impaired. I’m happy to say, the author is in the process of printing up full-color, suitable for framing posters of “Bob’s Quick Guide to the Apostrophe, You Idiots.” Quick, go out in a buying frenzy and buy copies for everyone you know. It may be the greatest public service you perform this year.

* I took this line from Harlan Ellison. Unfortunately, when I moved down to the Northwest I lost most of my Ellison books so I can’t tell you which book it was in. Of course, even if they were all still with me, I would be too lazy to look it up. This way I have a convenient excuse. Funny how life works out.

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