Edge of the World

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The Edge of the World is the most dangerous spot on Earth. It is located at 91°N, 181°W, and is clearly marked with a barbed wire fence and signs in fifty languages (including Klingon) reading HEY WHOA WHOA, TURN AROUND AND GO BACK, DUMBASS. For the benefit of the illiterate, cute little cherubim blowing wind serve as a tipoff.

Topography, Flora and Fauna[edit]

The world's Edge is, as might be expected, straight and flat, except for the odd serrated bit here and there. International law prohibits using the serrated portions to cut paper, foil, cloth, or one's wrists.

Organisms are scarce along the Edge of the World. Contrary to myth, here be no dragons. However, there is a fully-staffed Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and Habad House.

So What's Beyond the Edge?[edit]

No known person has both sailed off the Edge of the World and returned to tell of it (except Chuck Norris). Nevertheless, satellite photographs suggest the presence of lost umbrellas; the long-rumored Third Darren from Bewitched; chaotic ectoplasm biding its time until the day it overthrows order and reason; Andrew Ridgely of Wham! and that sock you can't seem to find.

Discovery and Exploration[edit]

Before 1492, most people erroneously believed that the world was spherical. In August of that year, Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain with four ships: the Santa Maria, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Cucaracha. The latter ship, due to a combination of storms, pirates and a navigator who'd cheated on his qualifying exam, sailed disastrously off course. According to nearby fishing vessels, the ship appeared to be heading due North, due West and, inexplicably, due Down. The last known communication from the Cucaracha was, "WHEEEEE!" No splash was heard. Columbus dutifully recorded this incident in his log. However, Ferdinand and Isabella, feeling that their Inquisitors had more than enough heresies to hunt, ordered all mention of the Edge, and the very existence of the Cucaracha, stricken from the record.

Nevertheless, throughout Europe rumours persisted of the "Really Really Northwest Passage," the initial name for the Edge of the World. In 1509, Italian explorer and gadabout Amigo Vermicelli set out to find this fabled spot, hoping it would be a much-needed passage to Disneyland. He was never heard from again, although six months after his voyage a lifejacket identified as Vermicelli's was found floating in roughly the same area where the Cucaracha had last been seen. The popular sixteenth-century website Snopes.com classified this and similar accounts as mere "hamlet legends," but the explorer community knew better.

It was not until 1750 that the existence of the Edge of the World became established fact. That year, U2's lead guitarist, then known as La Belle Dame Sans Merci despite being male, established the precise latitude and longitude where the Cucaracha and Vermicelli had vanished and sailed there. He carefully anchored his ship to the ocean floor using Rosie O'Donnell. Then, with the words "Be vewy vewy quiet; we're hunting edges," he cast a bowling ball into the mist just ahead of him. The world's most sophisticated microphones failed to detect any hint of a splash. Mr. Sans Merci had proved beyond a doubt that the world was indeed flat. He returned in triumph to Ireland, where King Bono II honoured him with the new name, "The Edge."

The next two centuries saw bitter international conflicts over territorial rights to the Edge of the World, as well as the emergence of the Earth's most popular spot to commit suicide. No one on this side of the Edge knows whether the jumpers did in fact die, or merely found themselves depressed and lost. At any event, in 1950 the Treaty of Versace ended the Two Hundred Years' War over territorial claims by stating that all nations involved had been very naughty and therefore no one could own the Edge of the World, so there. In addition, the Treaty called for a barbed wire fence, signage, and cute cherubim in order to prevent conquest, suicides, or conquest by suicide. Today, experts urge curious explorers and tourists to visit the Edge of Your Seat instead.