A tourist asks me what my greatest fear is. I reply that I live in dread of being sued for damages. At least being eaten by a predator is over fairly quickly. These legal disputes can drag on for ever while rapacious lawyers feed on your liquid assets like leeches. Thankfully, no one would waste time pressing a suit against me in the
This ugly business of suing people first came to my notice in
Libel is less of a worry in
“Watch where yer goin’ yer big hairy baboon!” he snarled.
“Are you addressing me or your wife?” I asked in reply, seeking clarity on the facts before commenting on his outburst.
This perfectly straightforward question caused him to swing his fist wildly at me. Fortunately, I managed to intercept the blow with my head, which caused him to drop to his knees and bleat like an injured moose, clutching his hand in agony. It turned out that he’d broken several bones, but he could hardly blame me for that. Or so I thought. A month later, when we were giving a show in
The ringmaster wanted to take legal advice, but I argued strongly against it. I told him to leave the matter in my hands and let me bear the consequences. All I did was return the letter to sender after writing the following sentence at the bottom with a fountain pen:
The demands made in this communication are frivolous and without merit.
I never found out what the denouement was, because we left the country a week later. As a precaution, however, I arranged for all my
These wretched lawsuits seem to get sillier and sillier. The latest one that made me want to thump my chest was a claim for $6 million by an exhibitionist street performer who calls himself “The Naked Cowboy”. He alleges trademark infringement by a maker of confectionaries that used the nude cowpoke motif in an advertisement. This is preposterous. If a man can copyright stripping off his clothes and putting on a cowboy hat, the law is an ass with carrot up its backside. How I wish someone would find an old photo of Wyatt Earp in the buff to prove that this bare-bodied busker was not the originator of his cockamamie modus operandi. The living descendants of Mr Earp could then sue Billy the Nekkid for the very transgression he accuses others of. “Let every poisonous snake enjoy a dose of its own venom,” as we say in the jungle.