It was quite the triumphant story the other day when embattled twenty two year-old college student Otto Warmbier’s nightmarish, agonizing ordeal had at long last come to a happy end. It seems the precocious young lad had committed a bit of a boo-boo in legendarily lenient North Korea, and was then sentenced to 15 years of hard labor planting apple trees (American racism?) for actions deemed, “crimes against the state.” Thankfully though, some great news finally arrived last week. After only seventeen months, Mr. Warmbier was “Otto-matically” coming back home to American soil. The bad news? He came back a carrot.
Not since Homer Simpson convinced three nerds to help him steal a rival school’s beloved pig mascot has a college prank cause as much uproar as the one perpetrated by court jester wannabe Warmbier. In the great tradition of classic college pranks, from Blutarsky to the Blue Devils lacrosse team, there’s a new standard-bearer for what has to be forever known as the stupidest of them all: the harrowing tale of the Otto-cratic ruler.
First came the bright idea to skedaddle to North Korea in the first place. I guess a flight to Afghanistan was booked. So instead this Warmbier schmuck joined some Chinese tour company specializing in bringing Americans to North Korea, called “Sacrificial Lamb World Tours”, and he was on his merry way to the happiest place on earth. North Korea’s such a well-known barrel of laughs the citizens are literally dying to get out.
Only this budding prankster wasn’t just traveling to bask in the joy of endless propaganda, nationwide curfews, and traditional North Korean sight-seeing like antiaircraft gun executions. No, no. Rodney from “Back to School” Jr. had some rather serious business at hand. Evidently a church chum had proposed the rather mischievous misdeed of Warmbier collecting a little souvenir from the deadliest country on earth. “Just make sure it’s something that could get you thrown in prison forever,” the friend added helpfully. The illustrious prize for the simple act of risking his life was a car supposedly valued at ten grand, but since he’s from Ohio it was probably just a souped-up tractor. With such an obviously fair quid pro quo at hand, the two bumpkins shook hands and it was a deal.
Flash forward a few weeks and the aspiring comedian and travel agent found himself in the middle of some rice paddy with no electricity for five lovely days. The night before he left the slanty-eyed hellhole he made a fatal error in judgement however. As a going away present to the tour, a rare state dinner was organized for the foreigners with North Korean emperor Kim Jong-un himself rumored to be in attendance. Having sampled some dog-fried rice, Warmbier was exiting the men’s room when he bumped into a short, dumpy bathroom attendant. Before he could politely say, “Get the fuck out of my way you little chink cocksucker,” Warmbier realized with a shock that this bathroom jockey was in fact, a noticeably irritated Kim Jong-un.
Startled, and wanting to quickly smooth the awkward situation over, funnyman Warmbier decided some good old-fashioned American humor would do the trick. He smiled and poked Jong-un in the chest indicating an imaginary stain. As the ruthless dictator looked down to investigate, overcome with curiosity, he received a swift nose-flicking with international implications. Thoroughly unamused, Jong-un ordered several thousand tiny gooks to swarm the towering American with frenzied karate chops and kicks until he was subdued. Then they dragged his Dennis the Menace-ass to the chink clink. Apparently this is what Jong-un considers getting the last laugh.
Obviously the global community unanimously considered the incident, dubbed “Flick-gate”, nothing but pure hilarity, but had to pretend to be outraged nonetheless.
Seventeen months passed.
Then last week, the luckiest family on earth received a miraculous phone call from a strange number with that Chinese scribbly writing for an area code that went something like this:
“Hello, Mr. Warmbier? I have some great news for you and your family sir, your little sonny boy is finally coming home. What’s that? How is he? Umm, you’re breaking up (click).”
Next thing you know a turnip shows up at some Ohio airport, and thanks to the compassionate North Korean government the Warmbier family is reunited once again. Whoopsie doodle. Did North Korea forget to mention that little coma tidbit of information? According to them, Wamrbier was on “Otto-pilot” shortly after his initial custody, as he immediately slipped into a coma. North Korean officials claim they would have informed his family of his dire medical condition earlier, but they only had sixteen and-a-half months. Sudden tragedies are always the hardest to cope with.
The U.S. state department rigorously pressed the North Korean government for answers, citing their “you break it you bought it” policy of hostage negotiations, and it appears they have partially solved the riddle. According to North Korean officials, Warmbier’s coma can be traced to the combination of botulism and sleeping pills. That, plus the nine-hour chokehold they put him in. I guess we’ll never tell what had the greatest impact.
The only thing the Warmbier family can do now is take comas and make lemonade.
The doctors have helped. Otto has received top-notch medical care since arriving back in the U.S., and his doctors have been very forthcoming with family and friends, although the complex medical jargon can be understandably confusing to a laymen.
“I told them he was a retard,” Warmbier’s head physician, Dr. Indian Guy recalled. “Then I pointed to a potted plant in the corner and said they might as well take that home and call it Otto. Finally after beating around the bush I gave it to them straight. I threw them out of my office.”
Before also throwing reporters out of his office, Indian Guy had some final comforting words for the Warmbiers.
“Their son may have extensive and irreversible brain damage, which is indeed a bit of a bummer,” Indian Guy chuckled. “But considering that chinky National Lampoon’s vacation he went on, he wasn’t too bright to begin with.”