1. Poke at a rattlesnake with a stick or fingers.
First of all, that’s just a mean way to torment a really cool creature. Second, it’s a surefire trip to the emergency room. You won’t die from its bite… probably. Hopefully you’ll suffer extreme embarrassment though. The “Beware Poisonous Creatures” signs you see at rest areas along the road are for real.
2. Say “saguuuro” instead of “suh-WAH-roh”.
Many other mispronunciations abound. Those tall, spindly, orange-blossomed beauties are “oh-ko-tee-yos.” “Too-sawn” is an amazing artsy city with about a million people, Arizona State University is in “tem-pee,” and, if you want to seem truly local in the mountains, call Everybody’s Hometown “Preskitt.”
3. Mix us up with New Mexico.
Look at a map, already. We might share a border, and we’re not really rivals, but … we broke up a long time ago.
4. Drink too much tequila and fall into a cactus.
Granted, we’ve all done it, but we’re local, and we were kids. All we can do is point and laugh. Can you blame us?
5. Misspell Phoenix or Tucson.
It happens all the time, even in big-time print news.
6. Dress like you’re straight out of the Old West.
Unless you’re part of a Tombstone tourist shootout reenactment, you might as well be in Renaissance Fest clothes. You look just as silly.
7. Drive into a flash flood.
Your rental Kia is no match for the monsoon street rivers. They might look slow-moving, but they can run as fast as Class-4 rapids. After submerging your car, you’ll very likely need a new engine and many other parts. Here’s hoping your insurance company takes pity on you and considers your error an Act of God because you broke Arizona’s Stupid Motorist Law.
8. Lather, rinse, repeat.
No matter how much you scrub, most shampoos and soaps won’t foam up in Arizona’s calcium- and magnesium-rich hard water. Also, you and everything your soap touches gets coated in a thinnish, grey scum. So, when you take a bubble bath in Arizona, you’re really just sitting in a tepid pool of minerals and your own filth. Don’t expect bubbles. Only detergents saponify in most parts of the state. Get yourself some Tide.
9. Fear the spice.
Sonoran food is hot — so hot that natives can’t even detect any pepper less spicy than a habañero. We chug Cholula for breakfast. We’re almost all sadists and we enjoy giggling at your wimpy palate. Fake your love of pain, or practice. Pro tip: dairy soothes the burn, not beer or water.