Before I knew that I wanted to be a solicitor, in fact, before I even knew what a solicitor was, I thought I was destined to be a writer.

I’ve never regretted my decision (ok, there are days when I wonder) but I’ve never forgotten my first love.

You could say that my job does involve a lot of writing, and certainly some of the things I’m asked to read (like witness statements and explanations put forward by other parties) could easily be described as fiction.  Nevertheless, there are still days when I think about writing a book, and my career and travels have certainly given me plenty of material.

As I don’t know if I’ll ever get round to fulfilling this ambition, and as it would be a crime (sorry!) for all my stories to be wasted, I thought I’d share one with you.  Not only did it make me laugh, but it is also a good example of how easy it is for things to be misinterpreted, not to mention how important it is to never believe what you hear or read.

I have been told that there was a news story in the American press last December which was causing a bit of a stir.  The story went that there was evidence of great support for the Taliban in Karachi, because stick-on Taliban like beards were being sold at traffic lights.  A woman from Karachi, living in the US, was extremely concerned when she heard this story, but refused to believe it (knowing the people well) and decided to call a friend in Karachi to ask them if it was true.  It turned out that the beards in question were the usual Santa Claus beards popular at the time of year, and nothing to do with the Taliban!

I’m not sure what is more entertaining – the idea that the journalist couldn’t tell the difference between a Taliban beard (which is usually black) and a Santa beard (always white), or the idea that he/she was so desperate for a story that they overlooked that obvious discrepancy!  Well, if all else fails, I can always try my hand at writing press articles – and apparently I don’t need to worry about whether what I’m writing is true.

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