It was hui vs doey, adult vs child, watch every word that you say vs say what the hell you want - it was the world teetering closer to the edge, it was the threat of the nuclear clock nudging a little closer towards midnight.
The 90 minutes of the US Presidential nominee debate fairly flew by; it was exhilarating to watch, a horror movie disguised as reality TV.
Hillary Clinton won but only inasmuch as she represented something that resembled common sense. She was calm, serene. She talked about her dad as an honest drudge who did things with squeegees. She studied her notes and barely said an um or an ah. She gave the impression that she knew what she was doing and the best way to go about it was efficiently.
In short, she was disappointing. There is always something insufferably smug about Clinton; no amount of political spin and consultation can suppress her innate belief that the Oval office is her manifest destiny. She seldom stirs the blood or comes out with a statement of genuine intent.
She seldom says anything anyone ever remembers.
Donald Trump lost but only in the respect that he barely made a lick of sense. He raved, he blustered, he went off topic and never returned. He wandered in and out of coherence.
He said: "I'm gonna cut taxes bigly, and Hilary's gonna raise taxes bigly!" He said: "You was totally out of control!"
He said: "Mexico!" He invoked that evil place nine times in the first 20 minutes, conjuring up images of illegal immigrants swimming across the Rio Grande armed to the teeth.
They would be made US citizens in no time and bring America to its knees: "We have gangs roaming the street! Many are illegal immigrants."
He said: "China!" The Chinese, he said, were raiding America's "piggybank" - again and again, Trump reached for infantilism, the language of the nursery. He said, three times, twice about specific things and once about nothing, "It's a beautiful thing."
She stood for talk, and the need to form meaningful relationships with Muslim nations so they combine intelligence networks to defeat Isis; he stood for action, and said: "We've got to knock the hell out of Isis!"
He said, many times: "Believe me!" He said, "I think my biggest asset is my temperament. I have a winning temperament." He said, "Hillary has experience, but it's bad experience!"
Clinton goaded him about unpaid taxes; she accused him of owing the federal government $650 million. He said, "That's really not a lot of money."
He said, he said, he said. He said crazy-assed things, he was in that strange, vivid zone known of The Donald, where he could say anything and it didn't matter if they were gaffes or whatever because he had the courage of his convictions, which is always the first requirement of the truly mad. He instructed the American people to keep politicians out of politics, because what had that ever achieved? The US, he said, was a mess. It needed liberating. Now was the hour. The nuclear clock maybe nudged just that little bit closer to midnight.