This is Mike Powell’s final column about living in Arizona. Read the rest of “Zonies” here.
In July 1986, a DJ in San Diego named Randy Miller debuted a novelty song he had written called “Zoners.” The song, sung to the tune of “Rumors,” by the Timex Social Club, documented the peculiar habits of one of San Diego’s least-loved populations: tourists from Arizona. “Look at all these Zoners / surround me every day / They come up here from Phoenix and sometimes they want to stay,” Miller sings. “Look at all these Zoners / I can’t take it no more / They’re on the beach, two towels each / Stealing sand from shore.”
The connection is well established. About 10 percent of San Diego’s tourism comes from Arizona; the longtime Arizona senator John McCain has joked that visiting San Diego gives him a great opportunity to connect with Arizona voters. And yet the Zonie—or the Zoner, or the Zona—is, to both the Arizonan and the San Diegan, strictly second class. Like a secret girlfriend into whose window one shamefully crawls under anonymous night, Arizona is necessary to the San Diegan’s machinery but expendable to its identity. Want plays no part—they need us. Read More