The Arizona Wall

The London Bridge, hauled brick by brick to the Colorado River, put Lake Havasu City on the map. The rest, as any student of history's great real estate schemes will tell you, was pure salesmanship. From nothing, chain-saw czar Robert McCulloch (by erecting a totally incongruous tourist attraction) created something slightly better than nothing. Today the area is a magnet for crabby retirees and shirtless yahoos with loud boats, many of whom reside in California.

It is at this critical juncture in time that Arizona needs to call upon the spirit of McCulloch's promotional genius. The mopey local economy needs a whale of a gimmick, and it just so happens that a London Bridge-scale edifice has just gone on the market. We need the Berlin Wall, people, just as we needed the London Bridge. Think it over. And think big. cutlines

WALL 'N' STUFF What's more daffy than a large plastic castle, rising in the dust beyond the access road? Or more wacked than water-filled tubes on high stilts? The generic roadside mini-golf/water-slide attraction begs for thematic glue, and a Cold War relic like the Berlin Wall would really hold things together, concept-wise. Golfers would roll their carefully timed putts past an automatic checkpoint gate, through a roll of barbed wire, and, finally, a bank shot off the wall itself. Fore!

"ICH BIN EIN GEEZER!" The occupants of Sun City spend most of their time fighting off attacks from the outside world. School taxes and age-restricting covenants are two of the regular issues that set creaky ventricles a-pounding out in Arizona's most famous geriatric gulag. What that crowd needs is the ultimate statement, a symbolic gesture so profound that nobody under age sixty will ever again question the rights of the aged to turn their backs on the rest of humanity. They want walls? We'll give 'em one.

STAY EAST, OLD FARTS! Try as we might, we locals have had rotten luck in discouraging visitors from flat, boring, cold places like Iowa, Illinois, and Canada. We've made the air almost unbreathable, our perpetual inaction on mass transit and road building has made all locomotion pure agony--not even the repeated national embarrassments caused by our nitwit politicians and financiers have kept snowpigeons from flocking to our cheap motels, all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets and quack chiropractors. Remember what they say about good walls and good neighbors? STAY WEST, YOUNG DUDES!

The forced division of a city can be a good thing. In Phoenix, for example, the quality of life would be drastically improved if citizens of the west side were no longer allowed to travel east. Likewise, of course, the reverse. No longer would Scottsdale's sushi-bar-and-bike-path crowd have to mingle with the industrial-waste-loving lugs who prefer Whitesnake to White Zin. And no longer would the tony boulevards of Paradise Valley be scarred by burned rubber from the official Glendale fleet car--the '74 Camaro, primer gray. Border guards will have two simple rules: No vehicles bearing KUPD stickers get east of Central Avenue, and no carphones go west.

SORRY, SENOR, WE'RE CLOSED. No doubt this idea already has been the topic of scintillating gab at many of our local cafes and saloons. "They oughta bring that damn wall over here and put it down on the border," the dialogue goes between chin dribbles of tobacco juice or sips of personality-enhancing whiskey. "Keep them wetbacks down where they belong." Well, not exactly. Our plan is to string the Berlin Wall along the border all right, but the idea is to keep white-trash ATV pilots--and their huge, juvenile-detention-facility-crowding families--off the desert lands and beaches of our neighbor to the south. Comprende, Cheeto breath?

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Dave Walker