“Arizona” Responds 40 Years Later

Music has always moved me. I’ve loved every kind of modern music (sorry, rap and hip-hop are not music) from folk to rock to country. There are songs that have resounded in my brain and stayed with me. Sometimes, it’s the chords and rhythm; other times, it’s the ideas and images painted by the lyrics.

“Arizona” <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5A7nuoR_9E> is one such song. I don’t know where I first heard it. It’s been around since 1970, and I’ve had a lot of influences and people in my life, so I couldn’t pinpoint any one memory linked to it.

My oldest daughter and I both have auditory processing issues. Our eardrums work, but our brains don’t handle the input well. As a youngster, she would say some interesting things; she always substituted a similar sounding word for another. Because I do the same thing with music (and I have kids), I’ve started using the Internet to find the lyrics to songs that resonate with me.

“Arizona” surprised me. There were things in there that I didn’t remember, as well as that I remembered wrong. And when I really looked at the words, I was sad and shocked. Both of those emotions fit–there was a proposition from a man but you never got to hear the woman’s response. And on the surface, the proposition looked really good and savory, but once you dig deeper, there is a sickening feeling of subtle peer pressure.

I know, sadly, how I would have responded in my late teens and early 20s. I’d have done everything and more that was asked. But now, in my 40-somethings, I don’t see this song as being much fun. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t so catchy, I might change the station when it’s on.

However, since it’s so catchy, I am going to do something fun. Come play with me as I develop the response for the character of “Arizona” based on the questions asked of her in the lyrics and my own sweet imagination.


What makes you think you know my roots based on the things I do, and why do you think I’m so lost? I’m right here, I know where I am, I’m in this moment now. I don’t know who you are, but keep going…for a bit.

I don’t believe I ever specifically mentioned Robin Hood. However, he’s an interesting character…quite a moral dilemma. After all, he steals from the rich to give to the poor. Stealing is wrong. I don’t like grey, but green is a nice color, especially earth tones.

Oh, so I’m funny? Are you really laughing at me? If you are, you’d better just stop. I’m different. Different isn’t necessarily wrong. And yes, I do know how to pray, but I wonder based on some of your hints if you do…

I like my “rainbow” shades. I can diversify my look, and the UV protection does allow me to look differently at the world. I like my braids and the Native Americans, so I will not cut my hair. And if you keep questioning who I am by how I look, I don’t know if I really want to go your way…

Pride? You seem like you might be a stranger. If you don’t know me, how can you tell me what my behavior really is? You don’t know my past, my present, my personality. Also, if I’m acting a little young, maybe we shouldn’t be talking.

Appearance again. My makeup makes me feel good. And my shoes are comfortable; I need to move and be myself. Are you really so lonely you’d take someone you find distasteful with you?!?

Are you on something? You seem to have lost the ability to write a solid, grammatically correct sentence. Maybe you’re not safe. Count of Monte Cristo? Definitely not safe… that story had treason and betrayal and revenge… wow. Definitely scary. Countess May… you, uh, seem to be creating a character that might not exist, but my search terms might be wrong.

Robin Hood…again questionable reference. Brotherhood…why don’t we focus on unity because that would include both genders? And the roll a ball in the hay…maybe you inhaled something like a fungus in a barn cause you sure don’t make sense.

Aesop…that’s good. But it’s more than a series of pretty stories. It’s having the animals teach us lessons about humans. The animals teach so we can distance ourselves from the lessons and whether we’re good or bad, wise or foolish, kind or cruel. At the same time, the pattern is subconsciously imprinted in our hearts and minds so we can see it in our lives and protect ourselves. So good point. Again…anything to make me stay… are you that desperate that you would stay with someone you obviously find so distasteful?

You having memory issues? That dust in the barn again? I don’t want to talk about sunglasses and braids and shoes because you’re scary focused on the outer world instead of mind and heart. 8 ball… pool is fun game that combines physics and geometry… I’m never down when I shoot pool.

So, sir, you’ve not let me get a word in edgewise, you’ve focused on me and not the essentials of me, so I think I’ll pass. You go to San Francisco, and I’ll go anywhere away from you.


Okay, so maybe I’ve made “Arizona” a little cold and too smart. But maybe that’s the problem with our culture: we focus so much on external appearance in clothes and going along to get along that we forget the important things. We forget who we are, we forget to respect and accept others for the way they treat people, and we forget that outward appearances can deceive. We forget to seek to understand more than we are understood.

So, don’t pity me in my chrysalis, my friend ant. Someday, I am going to break out and soar. I may just be a little late with it.


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