But wait--it doesn't have to be! We still have a chance to stem the tide, but we'll have to act locally and project globally in order to radically alter our image and neutralize the powerful attractions that lure the lemmings to our sandy shores. Drastic measures will be needed if we are to stop the juggernaut in time! So cast aside all of your preconceptions of humanity and hospitality and peruse--bravely, without cringing--the following 10 points of a Plan for Pima Population Control.
1. Outlaw air conditioning. Not only would this reverse the perceived advantage of our climate; it would likely cause a rapid emigration, leaving only true and deserving desert rats in swamp-cooled, sweat-soaked peace.
2. Ban golf. But don't tear up the courses. Continue to water them and graze them with elephants instead. Let them crap where they will; we'll toss them fermented saguaro fruits every couple of weeks and then watch them rampage through stuccoville on margarita raids when the fruit runs out. Works in Africa.
3. Name Joe Sweeney Tucson's "official greeter." One gaze into Joe's wild, glassy eyes should be enough to turn most folks away immediately. Should they persevere in their lust for suburban idyll, prospective residents will be subjected to a personal tour of the town, underscored by Citizen Joe's visionary narration. A solid hour of Mr. Sweeney's paranoid ravings while tooling around the city's "Heart of Darkness" should provide a distorted enough perception of Tucson to scare them off for good.
4. Turn Reid Park into an open-pit copper mine. Everybody's caterwauling about Rosemont, but why not Reid Park? Surely there are enough lost pennies buried in the grass to make the ore deposit every bit as profitable as Rosemont is likely to be. The zoo has plenty of ponds ready-made for tailings (in fact, a bit of sulfuric acid would probably improve the water quality), and the overburden could be dumped on what's left of El Con Mall. Few would notice, except for the residents of adjacent neighborhoods, who would celebrate the reduction in traffic.
5. Reduce the speed limit county-wide to 15 mph. This oughta slow things down a bit. Of course, such a draconian legislative strategy would be useless without strong enforcement procedures. Equip every police cruiser with Raytheon's latest death ray, and put up billboards all over town, reading, "You speed, you bleed." Bicycles are exempted, of course.
6. Legalize public urination. This one speaks for itself. I volunteer to get the ball rolling by pissing on the sign at Dove Mountain.
7. Institute aggressive new anti-terrorism measures. As a pre-emptive defense against the likes of Timothy McVeigh penetrating our state again, every prospective resident will be subjected to a background check, a cavity search, psychological testing and creative interrogation. Anyone with a history of military service, buzz cuts or renting Ryder trucks will be denied entry.
8. Mandate gay marriage. New residents will be required to marry a local of the same gender within one year of their arrival or face deportation to North Dakota.
9. Evaporate the 100-year water supply. Failing leadership from our elected officials on the above points, the people can take the toro by the horns by turning on the spigots and letting the water flow. Wash your car every day! Let the damn faucet run while you brush your teeth! Drain your pool, and refill it once a week! We could even organize a guerrilla commando force that would run through the city at night, opening hydrants and slashing drip-irrigation hoses.
10. Eviscerate the ecosystem. If all else fails, scorched earth may be the only option. To accommodate every single fat, pasty Michigander and coifed Californian caricature who wants to move here, blacktop the desert, and crowd the mountain ranges with a sea of stucco until all pygmy owls, bighorn sheep, mountain lions and saguaros are extirpated from the grand construction zone of Pima County.
Oh, wait--we're already doing that, and it's not working. As usual, the bitter truth is stranger than satire.