It's 9:30 a.m. and Adan Hinojosa stands in the shade outside the Wells Fargo building in downtown Phoenix speaking with Channel 3 news anchor Beverly Kidd. If it weren't for the camera crew, you'd think he was just a regular joe, but it turns out this Phoenecian is an entirely different joe altogher: he's Sheriff Joe -- or at least he pretends to be.
On January 3, 2009, Hinojosa started a Twitter account posing as "America's toughest sheriff" Joe Arpaio. He considers himself a comedy writer and sought a way to keep his writing skills sharp. As the faux Joe, Hinojosa shared daily tweets with an ever-growing group of followers ready to eat up 140 characters of hilarity such as,:"It's not professional to label Arizona Mills as 'Daddy's Little Quota Topper'," and, "I'm fed up with these politician sex scandals. You wouldn't catch me staring twice at a two-bit trollop who flashed a little ankle."
Earlier today, Faux Sheriff Joe came face-to-face with the genuine article in his MCSO office. Hinojosa walked in with his mother and a friend in tow and handed the aging lawman a stuffed panda. Arpaio accepted the gift but said he would have expected a stuffed pig.
It turns out Arpaio is funnier than you might think.
New Times met up with Hinojosa at Lolo's Chicken and Waffles after his encounter (we were not allowed to accompany Hinojosa to meet the real Joe, because the MCSO hates New Times and won't allow us inside its taxpayer-paid-for offices), At Lolo's, Hinojosa shared a wealth of amusing observations about the sheriff that will undoubtedly become fodder for @FauxSheriffJoe.
One wall in the Sheriff's Office is dedicated to framed news clippings mentioning the sheriff and his antics. One such clipping is a front page declaring President Obama's election victory in 2008. It seemed out of place to Hinojosa until Arpaio explained that he has it because his name is mentioned in another headline above the President's photo.
It turns out the sheriff uses a typewriter, which Channel 3 News Anchor Kidd described on her twitter feed (@beverlykidd) as Sheriff Joe's "antique computer."
Joe used the typewriter to draft a few tweets he hoped Hinojosa would use on his personal account, including one declaring he would cease using the sheriff's name. Hinojosa held his ground, declaring that he's taken great pains to make sure it's apparent to anyone who follows FauxSheriffJoe that the the whole thing is for laughs.
"He [Arpaio] kept making jokes that he didn't know the meaning of the word 'faux.' He's like 'I'm Italian, why are you using this French word?'"
But Joke didn't seem to be joking.
The real punchline is that Joe's not the only one who hasn't grasped the meaning of "faux." A few of the waitresses at Lolo's Chicken and Waffles heard Hinojosa talking about the real sheriff and told him they were expecting him any minute. Turns out they were following FauxSheriffJoe on their own twitter accounts (@loloschicken). When they realized they were all worked up over nothing, they laughed so hard that we almost ended up with a mason jar full of "drank" all over ourselves.
No one laughed harder than Hinojosa.