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TALES FOR OUR TIMES

         Once upon a time, a man was playing a round of golf with friends when he hit a drive into the rough, behind a tree. When, for his next shot, he tried a tricky six iron through the branches of the tree, he made the mistake of hitting the ball straight at the trunk, from which it bounced back, hitting him on the forehead and knocking him out.
         When he came round, there was a man leaning over him he had not seen before.
         ‘You don't know me,’ he said, ‘but I am a lawyer. I was playing on the adjacent fairway and I saw everything that happened. I think the golf club was entirely to blame for the incident, for putting the tree there, and we can sue them for a great deal of money for your injury, because compensation is where it's at it these days.’
         ‘But I'm fine!’ said the golfer. ‘I was just briefly knocked out, that's all!’
         ‘Don't say terrible things like that!’ said the lawyer. ‘You have been injured and we have a case. That's all that matters.’
         The golfer let himself be talked into suing his own golf club, but the case dragged on for months and didn't seem to get anywhere. Then another lawyer came to see the golfer.
         ‘Your case is being handled very incompetently,’ he said. ‘You should have won by now. So why not sue your lawyer for incompetence?’
         ‘I didn't know you could,’ said the golfer.
         ‘Leave it to me,’ said the lawyer.
         So the golfer found himself involved in two law cases, both of which dragged on and on, and although he won them both eventually, he lost so much money on the legal fees that he could no longer afford his old life style. His marriage broke up. He lost his job. He even had to give up his membership of the golf club.
         One day he was walking past the golf course where he had once been a member, when he was amazed, on looking in, to see both his ex-lawyers playing a round together, laughing and joking.
         ‘You traitors!’ shouted the ex-golfer. ‘You were in league all along, weren't you?’
         Unfortunately, both lawyers then sued him for libel, and he lost both cases.       
         MORAL: If trapped in the rough behind a tree, chip safely sideways out on to the fairway.
     


Tales for our times

         Once upon a time an old man called Len Passover, who had spent all his life in Devon taking wonderful photographs of birds, tried to get them published.
         ‘They are wonderful photos,’ said the publisher, "but nobody has heard of you, so we can only get them published if someone really famous writes the foreword."
         So the old man wrote to the duke who was married to the queen of his country, and was known to be keen on wildlife, and asked him to write a foreword. And as the duke needed some good PR, he said yes. But he felt he was not up to doing the foreword, as he did not know the birds of Devon very well, only those of Norfolk, and asked his chief speechwriter to do it.
         ‘What I know about birds would not keep a midge alive for 24 hours,’ said the speechwriter.
         ‘Just do it!’ said the duke. ‘That's what you're paid for!’
         But the speechwriter went to the deputy speechwriter and told him to do it. And the deputy speechwriter, who knew nothing about birds, or Norfolk, or Devon, went to the man who ran the royal ducal estates in the country and knew lots about birds, and told him to do it.
         ‘I may know a lot about birds,’ thought the countryman, ‘but I know damn all about writing. What on earth shall I do . . . I know - I'll get in touch with my old friend in Devon, what's his name, Passover! Haven't seen him for years! He knew all about birds AND he was a dab hand with the pen!
         And that is how it came to pass that old Len Passover found himself writing the Duke's foreword to his own book.
         MORAL. If you want something done properly, do it yourself, but be prepared for someone in the Royal Family to get all the credit.

The Independent
Mon Mar 29 04

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