Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lies We Tell In Phoenix

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

This is Sunday, the 29th day of April, and the local weather forecast is for the temperature in the Valley of Hell to reach a roasty-toasty 100 degrees this afternoon, our first official three-digit reading of the year.  That's right.  One hundred degrees in April!  Tomorrow, also April, the temperature is expected to top out at one hundred and three!

There's a lie that we tell here in Phoenix about the temperature that goes something like this:  Sure it's hot, but it's only hot a couple of months a year and that can be tolerated.  The rest of the year it's all palm trees swaying in soft breezes.  And when it's hot - well, it's a dry heat.  The truth of the matter is Phoenix is hotter that hell from May through October - that's half a year - and while the heat may be dry, it is still hotter than blazes - like sticking your head in an oven.   Welcome to summer in the desert.

Another favorite local lie greets visitors as they arrive by air in Phoenix.   Sky Harbor Airport recently decided to improve its image by posting signs all over the facility proclaiming it to be the friendliest airport in America.  The new public relations campaign apparently lacked a personnel training component, because many airport employees, particularly those on the payroll of TSA, are still as rude and angry as ever.  The goal of being the friendliest airport in America is commendable, but sadly it is unlikely to be achieved any time soon.

Another lie that we enjoy telling out here is that the Sonoran Desert is littered with decapitated individuals, the result of Mexican drug cartels gone berserk.  I have lived here, on and off, for several years and have never heard of one actual decapitated body being recovered in the desert, yet some of our politicians never tire of recounting their presence.  (Jan Brewer, I'm looking at you.)

But my favorite Phoenix lie is the one that all America seems to know.  It is that our local sheriff, Joe Arpaio, is "America's Toughest Sheriff."  Old Joe is a lot of things, but "tough" really isn't one of them.  He is one of America's most expensive sheriff's, having lost numerous lawsuits over wrongful deaths in his jails and misuse of authority - and those lawsuits have cost Maricopa County and its insurers millions of dollars.    Arpaio is also one of America's most agile sheriff's, especially considering his advanced age of eighty-plus years, never missing a chance to jump in front of a camera or an open microphone and put his spin on a news story.  He has had a reality television show with Steven Seagal and Fox News has him on speed dial.

But tough?

Making prisoners were pink underwear and watch the Disney Channel is not a sign of toughness, Joe.  Perversion, maybe - but not toughness.

So on your next trip to Arizona take the train to Flagstaff, then rent a car and drive to Sedona.   That way you'll miss the heat, Sky Harbor Airport, the headless ghost bodies in the desert, and the scary specter of Joe Arpaio.  All of that - and Sedona is beautiful!  I'll meet you there!

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