Dear Kim Jong-Un:

May I call you “Un”? I know your family name is Kim, but I feel kinda funny referring to a guy as “Kim.” You are a guy, right?

Well, these days you never know, especially in the decadent West, and I know you answer to the title “Dear Leader,” which is not considered particularly macho in these parts.

Which brings up the main point of this letter. You’ve got to start thinking about your image, Un. And the image you’re projecting is not that of a valiant knight wielding his invincible sword in behalf of an adoring lady. It isn’t even the image of a Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Those aren’t windmills you’re tilting at, Good Buddy. They’re bombs and bullets with brains, and they know how to find you, even if you try to hide in a tub of kimchee. Since your granddaddy’s forces caught the U.S. with its tanks and anti-tank weapons on the other side of the Pacific, the Americans have come up with an airplane called the Warthog, which can zap any tank that pokes its turret above a knoll. Ask Saddam Hussein’s survivors.

And anyhow, your granddaddy’s boys got smeared all over the North Korean landscape until Douglas MacArthur couldn’t find anywhere to advance other than China. Your daddy and granddaddy might not have told you, but those were Chinese that sent the UN forces retreating southward. And anyway, they stopped at the 38th parallel, which is where your granddaddy was when he launched his effort to take the whole peninsula. So all that blood and effort went for naught, except to leave your country flat and impoverished.

Speaking of Saddam Hussein, he at least had swagger. I never saw a guy who could swagger as he did. He swaggered right down to the point where the noose tightened around his neck and left him swinging limp.

You don’t swagger, Un. Those pictures of you peering through binoculars do not evoke the image of a commander launching a lethal force against an enemy. It evokes the image of Michael Dukakis in a steel helmet poking his head out of a tank. Somebody took his picture when he stuck his head out, and it just about decapitated his presidential campaign, with a little help from a criminal named Willie Horton.

You need something besides binoculars, Un. I would point to General MacArthur, who made effective use of a corncob pipe, but I don’t think you want to remind your people of him. Anyway, a corncob pipe wouldn’t make you look military; it would make you look like a kid who would be asked for his ID at a Handy Pantry if he tried to buy something to smoke.

I saw that video your PR people have put out. It shows beautiful pictures of your scenic homeland and not-so-beautiful pictures of your young men looking like kids playing soldier. They played your theme song, “Onwards Toward the Final Victory,” and it occurred to me that you haven’t won your first victory yet. Your granddaddy’s dreams of conquest peaked at Pusan, hit the skids at Inchon and ended in an inglorious stalemate at Panmunjon.

Your late daddy had his own theme song: “There Is No Motherland Without You.” Having watched you in office since your daddy passed into communist Valhalla, folks are inclined to believe there was a lot of truth to that ditty.

Maybe you should find an Asian Rossini to compose “The Barber of Pyongyang.” You really ought to look for a good barber, Un. That haircut you wear is the most uncool topper I’ve seen since an upstart hairdresser experimented on Donald Trump. Maybe you should take a cue from the King of Siam and go for the Yul Brynner look, but I’m afraid you’d look more like a young Danny DeVito.

I’d recommend that you find yourself a curvaceous chick to hang on your arm, but you’ve already tried that. Ri Sol-Ju is a shining example of pulchritudinous femininity. But nobody who looks at a picture of the two of you together will believe you won her honestly. You would do better to try to lure Lucy Liu away from Sherlock Holmes. She’s a lady with intriguing looks more in keeping with the image of the first lady of a small Asian country.

And for your information, Un, you do have a small country. You call it the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is a big laugh. They used to say that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, Roman nor an empire. Well, your country is neither democratic, nor the people’s nor a Republic.

And you’re not big. Your daddy and granddaddy may not have told you, but the United States has 50 states, and 32 of them are bigger than your country. Think of that before you deliver on your threat to launch your missile attack. Your country fits the description applied to my native state 153 years ago: too small to be a country, too large to be an insane asylum.

I have to admit that your family has managed to make North Korea significantly different from the Republic of Korea, otherwise known as South Korea.

For one thing, though it is smaller (about the size of Indiana), South Korea has twice the population of North Korea. Its people, on average, live six or seven years longer than your people do, and are five times more likely to survive childhood. They produce 15 times the wealth per person as your people do, turning out their Hyundais and Kias and selling them around the world.

Which makes me wonder why you don’t invite them to take over your country, Un. Do you think your people are happy? They’re Un-happy, Good Buddy.

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Gene Owens is a retired newspaper editor and columnist who graduated from Graniteville High School and now lives in Anderson.