No, you don’t. And we all know why. You had your chance to be a major Hanseatic trading city back in the 1300s. You had salt (salt!), fox pelts, the whole show. So what happened?

Oh sure, of course, the Black Death and all the rest of it. Well, boo-hoo. We’ve all got our problems. “Them’s the breaks,” as the schismatic Popes were known to say. And they should know.

In short, while you were massaging your pestilent buboes and lamenting to all and sundry, Stralsund, that little wisp of a medieval island town on Germany’s Baltic coast, was making it happen. Copied the facade of their new town hall straight from the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland. Just look at it. That takes some cojones, am I right? Right.

(Note: This slightly off-color recasting of medieval Baltic history was inspired by Barbara Tuchman’s classic book,  A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century).

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