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Believeland Version 5.0: Glad Tidings From the Future 

As the 22nd century dawns in a swirl of climate chaos, mass migrations, and the rise of the white-girl retro-twerk, there's one indisputable fact that all Americans can agree on: Cleveland is the place to be! While other parts of the country suffer through extreme weather events and the total submersion of centuries-old cities, here on America's North Coast, the party is just getting started. Decades ago, the likes of Art Modell, LeBron James, and college-educated locals fled Cleveland at their first opportunity -- but now, their great-grandchildren just can't wait to get their hands on old family estates! So grab your brown-and-orange Starter jacket and hop on the Goodtime XXIII*, because this tour of Lake Erie's finest is ready to ship out.

We begin in Cleveland’s historic heart, smack dab in the center of it all. Formerly known as “Ohio City,” this region of row houses and ethnic eats has adopted the nickname “Little Brooklyn” in honor of the place so many of its new residents left behind. The West Side Market is one of the largest farmers’ market in the 46 United States. Although St. Louis’s Soulard Market is king of Latin cuisine and Chicago’s Green City Market offers deep-dish pizzas from the traditional recipe, the West Side Market can’t be beat for its fresh meat and produce, much of which comes from the city itself! You see, back when the domestic steel industry declined in the 20th century, Cleveland found itself with a lot of unused land. Enterprising hippies began planting urban farms, which proved useful decades later, when the prairies and ranches of the western US became a massive firestorm. Many neighborhoods still encourage food resilience by gifting new residents with heirloom tomato seeds and a baby goat!

The body may need food, but the soul and mind crave intellectual stimulation – and here in Believeland, we’ve got that in spades! From Little Brooklyn, just ride the monorail down Euclid Avenue to University Circle, which was originally named for Case Western Reserve University. However, as Boston began to flood and that city’s venerable institutions of higher learning sought relocation, CWRU became an attractive option for the labs and lecture halls of Harvard and MIT. Cleveland now has the highest proportion of MDs, PhDs, and bachelor’s degrees in the country, and ever since Carnegie Hall was destroyed in 2082’s Hurricane Nymphodema, the Cleveland Orchestra has been without a rival. Our art museum was well regarded even before it began absorbing the collections of the Met and the National Gallery, and is now one of the world’s top tourist destinations!

But Cleveland has more than just high art. Refugees from the West Coast feel right at home in Cleveland Heights, a pre-World War II suburb whose main drag – Coventry – is just the place to find head shops, jam bands, and every kind of medicinal marijuana under the sun. Conversely, if you’re homesick for the big hair, fake tans, and bad taste of the Jersey Shore, head over to Parma, where you’ll find everything you ever dreamed of – and more! Thrillseekers can take the high-speed train out to Cedar Point, America’s premiere amusement park and launchpad for consumer spaceflight, and Lake Erie’s verdant beaches offer both a fun day out for families, as well as a reminder that here on the North Coast, you can relax without the specter of water shortage and subsequent civil war on your mind!

Cleveland’s economy provides many opportunities for quality employment and entrepreneurship. There’s no better place to be a doctor or an academic, and our high-tech sector is growing in both competition and partnership with Chicago’s. Between the two cities, the United States is poised to retake the independent nation of Alaska – where both Stanford University and Silicon Valley fled -- as the world’s top tech innovator! (Alaska, however, will continue to lead the world in both gun ownership and autistic spectrum diagnoses.) Although the Port of Atlanta is the country’s largest, Cleveland’s is not far behind, and between our prime lakefront location and proximity to the federal government in Columbus, trade is a growing part of our economy!

If finance is your area of expertise, you’ll fit right in on America’s new Wall Street: the Warehouse District! This historic district morphed in the early twenty-first century from a blue-collar loading zone to a playground of hair gel and Axe body spray, and its trajectory has continued to rise with the immigration of stock traders and investment bankers.

Finally, if you’re a sports fan, Cleveland has plenty of teams to cheer for – the Browns, the Cavaliers, and the Recently Extinct Indigenous Populations can all pack their stadiums and inspire loyal followings. The baseball rivalry between Cleveland and the Syracuse Yankees is legendary. Just because no Cleveland team has won a national title in one hundred and fifty years is no reason to get depressed about your new hometown… as any C-town native can tell you, when you live here, you’ve just gotta believe!

*Goodtimes IV through XVI were vandalized and sunk during the Great Lakes Water Rights War with Canada. Goodtimes XVI through XX were sunk by out-of-state rioters celebrating the five World Series victories of the Detroit Red Sox. Goodtimes XXI and XXII were set on fire by saboteurs from Columbus, in their efforts to prove Cleveland an unsuitable new American capital. They succeeded, which is of course why democracy has given way to national rule by the Ohio State Buckeyes football coaching staff.

For more from the Comedy Issue, click here>>

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