You join a forum with hundreds/thousands of members from all over the world. Some you hit it off with, some you don't. Some wind you up big time, others you respect, tolerate, ignore ... and then there are those you just instinctively like.
I always liked Post Captain. I always felt a bit of affinity with 'Mickey' as we knew him, and that is why, over the past days, from when we first heard the news of his premature passing, my thoughts have returned to him again and again.
Not just because we lived very close to each other - just a few miles apart along the same coastline. I live in a pleasant enough seaside town, but he lived in one of the places I love best on earth - Portsmouth - (well not Portsmouth as such, but specifically Portsmouth Naval Dockyard) - home not just to Nelson's Victory but to one of the finest exhibitions on earth - the Mary Rose. I love that place - the geography of it, the history of it - and just because of what it is and where it is.
But aside from the fact that he was a local, I liked Mickey for other reasons. His areas of interest, his understated tone, his quiet 'rep' where he would give me a bit of encouragement or a pat on the back even when probably, I'd come across on the forum as a right stroppy cow.
And last but not least, his very British humour. Mickey, although he wasn't an obvious joker, could make me laugh out loud sometimes and I realised very early on with him, that a fair few of those reading, wouldn't get the wit, the irony and the 'funny' about what he had written.
To my eternal regret I once went after Post Captain for a mistaken slight.
A poster had been turning up on various threads I was on and making (what I perceived as) digs and criticisms. I got the screen names muddled up and thought it was Post Captain. So when he turned up on another thread and (gently and politely) pulled me up on some errors I'd made, I responded like a harriden!
But he never responded back. He never scolded me, or had a go, or used his 'mod' powers. He realised immediately it was a case of mistaken identity on my part, ignored what I'd written, moved on and continued to encourage me when I posted subsequently.
None of us know who we are interracting with on the internet. You don't 'know' anyone. You don't know what they look like, how they laugh, how they walk and so on ... but you do get a 'sense' of them through their words, their modus operandi and their consistency.
With Mickey ... that sense for me, was always, that he was one of the good guys.