What Happens In Ittoqqortoormiit Stays In Ittoqqortoormiit, by Jeremy Blachman

Ever want to kill a walrus with your bare hands and have no one back at home begging for a share of the meat? Perhaps you want to bathe in a natural hot spring, alone with an arctic fox, naked, and never have to explain yourself. Or maybe you just want to get away from it all, and drown your sorrows at our local pub, located next to the hospital, open from 10pm to 3am on most Fridays, and sometimes even serving beer, if a ship passes by, and drops some off.

Well, you can.

Because what happens in Ittoqqortoormiit stays in Ittoqqortoormiit.

And you can trust us on that. After all, Ittoqqortoormiit, a settlement of 469 people in the Semersooq municipality in eastern Greenland, and one of the most remote spots on Earth, is too cold for your camera to work, and has an extremely unreliable dial-up Internet connection. So your family is almost certain to never find out that you had intercourse with a polar bear, or gambled away your savings on a game of poker with two extremely intelligent seals and one brilliant musk ox, who had no problem taking your money even though he has nothing to spend it on and doesn’t even have any pockets in which to keep it.

In Ittoqqortoormiit, you can sled with as many dogs as you like, or gorge on the arctic char that swim near the coast for the two months out of the year that the region is warm enough to support aquatic life. And no one has to know. You can get high on ice — no, not the colorless and odorless smoke-able form of crystal methamphetamine, but the actual ice that makes up the surface of the entire region — and your secret will be safe with us. Especially since, with only two flights a week and the need for a treacherous helicopter ride that most people who live here wouldn’t dream of risking their lives on (we know the pilot!), there’s a pretty good chance that once you leave, we will never, ever, ever see you again.

Perhaps you treat partying as a sport more extreme than whale hunting, and you need treatment in our local hospital. Well, even though it was destroyed by fire twice in its short history, it’s up and running once again, with two nurses and one doctor, powered by paraffin lamp and home to our entire collection of Tylenol, left here by a visitor in 1986 along with a used band-aid and three tissues. And don’t worry — we take most forms of health insurance and will never send a bill to your house (mostly because there is no mail service here), so your loved ones won’t have to learn the truth.

And just in case you’re worried that what happens in Ittoqqortoormiit will spread to places like Kangerlussuaq, Ilulissat, Uummannaq, and Aasiaat — and from there, who knows? — let us assure you that those towns are in western Greenland, and the language in eastern Greenland is substantially different in both pronunciation and vocabulary. So even if someone here tried to tell them, no one would understand what they were saying.

Besides, there’s no sunlight here from November through February, so no matter what degenerate activity you decide to pursue during your visit, we’re not going to be able to see you doing it. Even if we were trying to spy on you, which we won’t be. Honestly, we have absolutely no interest in what you’re doing with all of those geese, as long as you clean up before the the sun comes back in the spring.

So, whether it’s a rendezvous with a rare Greenland wolf, or eating far too many of the arctic berries that can grow for extremely limited parts of the year in our tundra — or simply spending some quiet time reviewing our collection of oil paintings from the late 1950s, painted by the first qualified doctor in town and stored in our museum, with hours by appointment only — you can be assured that what happens in Ittoqqortoormiit stays in Ittoqqortoormiit.

And maybe if you enjoy your experience — or, of course, our only helicopter has a mechanical failure — you can stay here too.

Jeremy Blachman is a freelance writer and the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a comic novel about corporate law. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.

The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit to it, send an email to Becca O’Neal.

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