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Land-locked on November 11, 2012.

On Thursday this week, while I was busy noshing upon my biggest jar of pickled moose synapse, the evening news announced a massive disaster in Ungabuganda, a country no one cared about and fewer had even heard of. Not even the barefoot and pantsless peasants of Ungabuganda cared a single whit about news from the tiny, land-locked country, it turned out, as the only evidence of the natural disaster came from outside sources that heard the explosion and saw the ensuing fireball from miles away.

Naturally, I too had never heard of Ungabuganda. Scurrying to my bookshelf I fetched my hardbound copy of Wikipedia—the free encyclopedia that even an epileptic suffering a grand mal seizure can edit—and looked up the exotic-sounding nation-state. Naturally, Wikipedia had an entry on it, and it was full of text. Intriguingly, some of the text was even factual.

According to Wikipedia, the tiny, water-logged nation of Ungabuganda had been founded early in the nineteenth century, but no one was sure exactly when—nor did anyone really care about that, either. It was a year that virtually no one had ever heard of, reportedly between 1824 and 1827. Historians had a vague notion that this year had in fact taken place, but physical evidence was spotty and scarce, and certainly no one outside the academic community was aware of it at all. Most chronologies just skipped over it in the interest of brevity.

Regardless of the confusion over when it all happened, how Ungabuganda became an independent nation-state was quite well known: Just as the United States celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, the Soviet Union marks its revolutionary foundations on November 7, etc., Ungabuganda’s thousands of pantsless peasants gather together on June 16 in order to celebrate the day that their forefathers revolted and kicked the last of the British out of their tiny, land-locked nation and then cobbled together their very own constitution out of twigs, sticks, and mule manure (the country’s biggest export). All four fathers being quite illiterate, the Ungabugandan constitution was notably concise: It consisted solely of four Xs crudely carved into the manure (with the twigs) and the face print of one sans-culotte who had had a few too many tots of grog celebrating his country’s newfound independence.

Omitted from the official history of course is that the “last of the British” were nothing more than three hapless tourists who had wandered together into Ungabungabugandabunga, the capital hamlet, that they were in truth the only Britons to ever set foot in Ungabuganda, and that the British Empire had never in its long history even heard of the tiny, malaria-ridden country. It was long rumored that when King George III was once asked by a certain Lord Bute if he had ever considered extending his reign over the obscure tribe of the Ungabugandō, His Majesty had responded with such an extended bout of mirth and merry laughter that he thenceforth and forevermore was suspected of being slightly mad.

The rest, they say, is history.

I closed Wikipedia, sated with knowledge. Knowing is half the battle, after all, and knowing that fact fills in another half of half of the battle. Naturally I knew all of that too, and thus I asymptotically approached 100% of the battle (although I knew I would never get there). I shuddered as memories of the ship Zeno’s Paradox and her clutch of Silesian Shipping Gnomes popped into my addlepated little mind. My stomach rumbled unpleasantly: I pondered if perhaps I shouldn’t be eating this entire jar of pickled moose synapse, glass jar and all. But then, emitting my most plosive and dismissive bilabial trill, I plunged my hand deep within the jar and pulled out another handful of spongy, pinkish-white moose synapse. Stomach be damned, I had some moose synapse and glass to eat!

As I turned back to my boob tube, the frippant news anchor was explaining that Ungabungabugandabunga, the capital—to call it a hamlet would be to overestimate its size and importance, for it was really nothing but a large and steaming manure heap along the single mud road that bisected Ungabuganda—had been completely destroyed in the disaster. The free encyclopedia had claimed that the only positive thing that could ever be said about Ungabungabugandabunga was the directness of its name: Anyone who spoke Ungabugandanese (and there were none) would immediately know from its name that the spot was nothing but a “steaming stink-pile on road” and thus know to avoid it entirely.

Fortunately, Ungabungabugandabunga was gone now, so it no longer needed to be avoided. I considered editing the Wikipedia entry to remove all references to the place, but I knew that the teeming hordes of Wikipedia deletionists would surely beat me to it.

Back on my boob-ridden tube, the reporter was explaining that, amazingly, no one had been hurt or killed when disaster struck Ungabungabugandabunga, as no one actually lived there. The only casualty had been the flatulent mule that had caused the disaster itself. But I didn’t care anymore, as I had moved on to bigger and better things: My second jar of pickled moose synapse!

[Feetnote: And don’t forget now, kiddies: Eleven, eleven… eleven!]