The billowing trouser leg breached the 38th parallel. The patent pump touched down on the shingle of history. One short waddle for man. But, perhaps, one giant leap into the international bantersphere.
We cannot yet know the course on which the world was set, in that portentous moment under the April sun. The lamp of history never lights the path ahead. But the world is nonetheless a brighter place. A new star shines in the firmament. Two wide bottomed black puddings now bestride the narrow world. And the early indications are clear enough: Kim Jong-un is a massive banter lad.
That the North Korean leader should have so terrorised neighbours far and near with wild threats of annihilation, and then nipped over the border for a spot of peace-treaty signing is already troubling the mercury on the bants-o-meter, but it’s clear there’s so more to come.
What pulled history back from the tempest of war to the shallows of peace is already a contested matter. Was it eight years of pressure from Obama to apply meaningful economic sanctions to their out-of-control neighbour? Was it Donald Trump calling him “rocketman” on Twitter?
Was it that, in scenes Austin Powers didn’t even dare to dream up, his indoor nuclear testing facility now appears to have accidentally blown up the mountain inside which it was meant to be hidden?
These are questions to be pored over by the analysts in the coming months, ideally on live TV, as their wives struggle to keep the children bursting in before bedtime like championship wrestlers.
In the meantime, what can we know for certain?
Well first of all, if you’re prepared to overlook long years of reports of death camps and public execution by anti-aircraft tank, it’s clear that this, the latest and perhaps the last in line of despotic Kim Jongs likes a laugh almost as much as he likes a snack.
It had perhaps been imagined that it would peak with his dragging his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, back over to the dark side of the 38th parallel, for a handshake on his turf that was definitely not in the script, but the lols kept coming.
In what were among the very first words he had ever been heard to say in public, he apologised to the South Korean president for “interrupting your early morning sleep”. At first this was assumed to mean with the various nuclear bombs he has been detonating inside his nearby mountain, but the truth was more prosaic. It was merely that his renegade actions had forced Moon Jae In to have to convene his own National Security Council every time, to discuss the growing likelihood of their own annihilation.
Then there was the early morning jog, Kim Jong-style, which is to say, a short ride in a blacked out Mercedes, surrounded by 12 goons, jogging to keep up. At some point, someone may have to tell him, this is not how Keep Fit works.
And then, as if nothing in the past 65 years of war had happened, the two men were sitting at a picnic table, set atop what can only be described as turquoise peace decking, chatting like two old friends who’d just bumped into one another in the park.
It may be, in the coming months, the world suddenly doesn’t find it all quite so funny.
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