So. Let’s get right to it; a truly creepy reason for not coming to Arizona, carelessly strewn headless corpses, skeleton-faced Governor and drug runners (see part I) aside: …well, first, I feel it’s important to dispel the notion that Arizona’s desert is barren wasteland, all thorny cactus, dirt and rocks. That’s Phoenix’s desert, and we don’t go there. The desert around Tucson is thick and lush, as deserts go. Sure it’s hot sometimes, and there’s not a lot of water around (the latter feature, I would think, is where the “desert” distinction is earned). A great deal of it, however, is a unique and freakish forest of sorts: lots of native trees and bushes, with towers of stately saguaros standing guard throughout, all scattered around washes, hills, and impressive canyons spiked with generous outcroppings of rock. The predominant color, as you look down upon the Tucson valley from the mountains that surround it, is green. It’s actually quite beautiful. Fortunately, the freeway that affords most people who pass through their only view of the city, shows Tucson on hands and knees, under the kitchen sink. Even the hottest plumber (who might that be? There should be a contest.) looks nasty with butt crack exposed. Were it not for I-10 skirting the near-west and south sides (Tucson’s armpit and anus, respectively), we would be overrun.
So, that being said, a really terrifying reason for avoiding Arizona, and the Tucson area in particular, is this: our aforementioned desert, with all its lushness and inherent quality as effective cover, is teeming with all manner of vicious, fanged, razor-clawed and unfairly quick beasts capable of ensuring your demise in most agonizing fashion. Add to this already formidable repertoire a complete lack of any sense of morality, guilt, or the natural order of things (i.e., man as master of all, top of the food chain), and you have a recipe for disaster. Now toss into this bubbling stew of impending death a sprinkling of some of the wealthiest among us, who plop a custom home into the most pristine areas available to avoid having to look at or live near those of us less fortunate. These are the people, by and large, for whom I work (I co-own a business that builds, services and maintains custom water features). I work outdoors, obviously, and have therefore become fodder for all that hide in the undergrowth surrounding these homes, waiting in silent ambush. As a result, I am ninja; all senses fine-tuned, ever vigilant.
Now, you may be thinking that I sound a bit like a big sissy who fears his own shadow(which varies in appearance, depending on the time of day, from dairy truck to elongated bowling pin). I submit to you that I fear no man; even the largest and most insane of them have the same natural weapons and vulnerabilities as I. I have engaged them before, and while I haven’t always won, I never felt like I didn’t have a chance (I’m sure that more than once, those in attendance might have disagreed) and at least I had a say in the matter. Not so with all these wild animals. Who knows what they’re capable of? What are their weaknesses? Do they have any? If attacked by a male, can I kick him in the sac with the same debilitating result? In most cases, he’s four-legged and not affording me the proper angle. Even if I get lucky and nail him, will it have the desired effect? These guys run around with the boys fully exposed all the time and probably whack them on all sorts of things. And the lack of any moral compass; when he gains the upper hand (inevitably), will he stop? Or am I to be ravaged beyond recognition? When I hike with my family, they chide me for my constant warnings to stay vigilant. Well, when the attack occurs, who do we all defer to? Yeah, that’s right. It’s a huge responsibility and very stressful knowing that fleeing in the face of danger is afforded me only after all the others have already employed it. And I’m the slowest!
I’m certain I’ve convinced you that I’m not being irrational. In the event that I haven’t, I have had a number of personal encounters with some of the worst the desert has to offer, which I will share with you. The fact that I am still here is ample testimony to both God’s love for me and my own keen, ninja-like sense of survival. Unfortunately, I’ve blathered on for too long once again, and so I promise to tell you of my near-death experiences battling Arizona’s most dangerous animals in Scary Arizona – Don’t Come Here!, Part III, coming sooner or later.