So. Nuclear war, it now becomes clear, will not be triggered by anything as inspirational to post-Armageddon film-makers as an archduke getting himself shot. Or a bunch of uniformed yobs goose-stepping down a quiet, hitherto peaceful country lane. No, nuclear war will, I am now confident, be triggered by a ‘my willy’s bigger than yours’ contest, conducted entirely by two pouting, posturing men with dodgy haircuts, at opposite ends of the world. Which, now I come to think about it, is pretty much what has triggered any and all wars thus far, but stick with me on this.
How appropriate that Kim Jon Un’s ill-fated missile carried the title KN-08. (It also goes by the name of Rodong-C and Hwasong-13, according to Wikipedia, but they’re not nearly interesting enough). If, like me, you’ve ever indulged in a game of ‘guess which plonker owns that numberplate’, you’ll know that spells KNOB.
I hear the thing wasn’t long enough to include the prefix 816. Much less 6R34T 816.
Mr Trump, we already know, borrowing from an earlier presidential warmonger, referred to his own <ahem> far more explosive missile as the ‘Mother of all bombs’. MOAB for short. Uncharacteristically modest of him not to give his weapon its full title: C411 TH4T 4 KN08? MY KN08S 81663R TH4N URS!
Where there’s a will…
We finally got round to sorting out our wills this week – last year’s nuptials having rendered all previous versions null and void – and it’s proved something of a brain twister, even without kids counting on their inheritance and bereaved four-legged friends to re-home.
Two hours of assessing probabilities, sticking pins in the undrawn maps of our future lives, confronting the sort of worse-case scenarios I spend a great deal of time trying to ignore. And the Crown (as it is referred to), will happily stick its big fat fingers in the pie at any point along the way, given a chink in the will.
How long will either of us live? Who will outlive whom? Will either of us need care? What happens if we die together, flattened by the wheels of that mythical bus or suffocated under the weight of the same vengeful avalanche? What happens if we leave it all to family members, but we forgot to change the will and they’ve already died? And their offspring too. What if Deadly Don’s magnificent KN-08 succeeds in proving, once and for all, that he truly did have the biggest, best and most explosive KN-08 of them all? No need for a will then, I guess.
Do we know each other’s passwords? What with so many things swirling around in the cloud now, this is a growing concern for executors, we were told. No password, no access to whatever assets might be stored up there.
And who gets the sea kayak?
As an aside, there was much confusion with my declared use of the term Ms, as opposed to Mrs. ‘The legal department will query that,’ said Richard, our adviser, making copious notes in the margin by way of heading off any such queries at the pass. Why it should be queried these days is a mystery. Further investigation suggests it’s quite common for both married and unmarried women to choose Ms as their pre-nominal. Just as many use Mrs even after divorce. No query about my continued use of my maiden name, however.
Two hours on, we were done. Not an experience we want to revisit too regularly but needs must. I assume that all my married friends – and the unmarried ones too, come to that – will have far more sense than us and have up-to-date wills quietly filed away. If not, I recommend you get cracking. While we all still have ‘worldly goods’ to bequeath.
The tale of the killer hamster
Meanwhile, as the world trembles at the knees of a North Korean nutjob who, frankly, puts me in mind of a particularly evil cartoon hamster, a lesson in karma from a young beautician friend.
I can’t now quite remember how we got onto the subject but somewhere along the way, she told me she had a killer hamster. Not from North Korea this one. No, this one was – would you believe it – from Syria.
Let down by the estranged father of her 5-year-old boy, who was supposed to be looking after their son for the weekend, she had no option but to take the lad into work with her. That, or let down regular clients. He played happily in the salon throughout the day, entertained by his i-pad, a variety of games and a toy plane, under the watchful eye of his mum and her colleagues.
Appointments cleared, the pair headed home.
‘Mummy,’ says the youngster. ‘I’ve been a good boy today, haven’t I?’
‘Yes, sweetheart. You have.’
‘Can I have a hamster?’
So, off they went to the pet shop, emerging some time later armed with suitable bedding and food, a hamster house fit for a king and a large black and white Syrian hamster, chosen – I should add – because it came ready-dressed in the colours of the young man’s favourite football team, Newcastle United. The devil, as they say, is in the detail. Especially when you’re five years old.
From the start, however, things did not go well.
‘Before we’d even got him through the door,’ says my young friend, ‘he’d chewed his way through the box we were carrying him in. I had to put him inside the bigger box which the house came in, while I built that. But he started chewing his way out of that one as well. He bit me too, as I lifted him.
‘Then he bit me again – even with gloves on. Every time we tried to pet him or lift him, he just bit us.’
Hence the ‘killer hamster’ handle.
Did she have pets herself then, as a child?
‘Oh yes. Hamsters. The thing was, though, I didn’t realise they hibernated. I kept thinking they were dead. Every time one ‘died’, I’d put it in a Tupperware box and bury it in the garden with a little funeral.’
‘You basically buried them alive!?’
‘Well there you are,’ I said. ‘It’s karma! For all those hamsters you buried alive.’
Well it made us chuckle anyway, but is there a message here, I wonder, for those with their fingers carelessly poised over nuclear buttons – if they could just pause a moment with their willy-waving?
Deadly Don, I suspect, might frame this as an allegorical tale, warning of the danger of taking refugees from war-torn countries into your home. For they will surely bite the hand that feeds them.
I prefer a different view.
Beware choosing your friends – indeed your enemies – by the colour of their skin, much less their football strip.
Never underestimate a hamster – especially one with dodgy hair. For it could be a ‘killer’.
And always make sure your hamster is truly dead before committing it to the earth in a Tupperware coffin. It might just come back to bite you.