1. Ask them, “That’s near California, right?”

Arizona is the 6th largest state in the US. While we are next to California, we are our own giant state. When The Big One hits and we have coastal property, you’ll know exactly where we are located.

2. Ask if it’s true that everyone here is conservative and Republican?

Like every state, we have our pockets of conservatives and liberals (by and large, Northern Arizona tends to be more progressive.) As a swing state, each party gets to celebrate now and then.

3. Ask, “Don’t you guys have a wall there with Mexico.”

There’s a fence but at this time, it’s really more like the fence that Australia built in the 1800’s to restrict dingoes — it’s not working. Ask any Arizonan their take on this exclusive notion, and you’ll get tens of thousands of different opinions.

4. Insult our Mexican food.

We have the finest Picante north of the border; we put Jalapenos on or in everything, including our cactus jelly; and our salsa spice standards knock the Scoville scale out of balance.

5. Tell us you’ve been to AZ, then show us your Instagram Grand Canyon picture.

We are very proud of the Grand Canyon but we also have some of the most amazing caverns, state parks, rivers, lakes, and some of the oldest ghost towns. We are much more than what makes it onto the license plate.

6. Keep saying: “It’s so hot.”

The Sonoran and Mojave form the world’s hottest desert and with that dry heat, lack of rain, and intense year-round sunshine, “hot” does not even start to describe our state. Add in the heat sink from our two major cities, and we can cook an egg on the sidewalk and get third degree burns on the steering wheel. Even Flagstaff to the north is seeing hotter and hotter summers — can you spell G. L. O. B. A. L. W. A. R. M. I. N. G.?

7. Say anything about our sports teams — any of them.

We will be the first to remind you of our 2001 World Series Win by our Diamondbacks; we will jump on the chance to tell you about our Cardinals in the 2008 Superbowl; and, of course, the Phoenix Suns have a uniquely stat-savvy group of fans.

8. Call us the “Retirement State”.

Yes, we have amazingly warm weather and low taxes that attract heat-seeking retirees to Phoenix, Tucson, and their suburbs, who didn’t want Florida’s humidity and Disney-obsessed tourists. But attend a party at ASU and U of A and you’ll never think of Arizona as the “Retirement State” again. And even if you do, remember the Snowbirds bring in culture, volunteerism, and big bucks. Note: Northern Arizonans don’t have the Snowbird flock in the same numbers as the South.

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