Why We're A Little Different

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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Ever wonder why people who live in the Rim country have a slightly different view of life than the rest of the world?

By different I mean, for example, you go to a movie that's box office magic all across America like "American Pie" and walk out shaking your head and muttering, "I just don't get it." And all your Payson friends and neighbors agree.

Or you look at people down in the desert dumping water on literally hundreds of golf courses, and you shake your head and mutter, "I just don't get it." And all your Payson friends and neighbors agree.

I know there are theories for why we're a little different. They range from living in constant fear of being flashed by a badge-toting town councilor, to having one or more teeth missing. The badge thing is pretty straightforward, but the missing teeth theory has to do with Newton's Law of Balance and I don't think I could explain it if I tried.

Then there is the notion that living at a higher elevation deprives one's mind of oxygen, and therefore impairs brain function. A concomitant theory would have you believe that all the crap in the Valley's air has an additive effect that improves one's ability to reason.

Of course, this premise is easily dismissed by observing Valley freeway drivers traveling 75 miles per hour right on one another's butts. And they persist in this game of freeway roulette knowing full well that even a tap on the brakes of the car ahead means instant death.

Then there's the small-town theory -- that people who live in small towns are a little backward. If we could make it in the real world, it goes, we'd be down in the Valley hauling in 100 grand a year, chasing little white balls around soggy fairways, and driving giant SUVs 75 miles per hour on somebody's butt.

That's a pretty easy one to dismiss, but where does that leave us?

Actually, I have two new theories for our aberrant behavior. Both have to do with the fact that, by necessity, we in the Rim country live life kind of upside down from the rest of the world.

While most of the world considers it extremely important to be on top -- as in "on top of the world" or "somewhere, over the rainbow," we Rimaroos, by geographical fate, are half-buried "under the Rim." You can call this "Rim Country" all you want, but what it really is is "Under the Rim Country."

Now, I'm not saying that's such a bad thing. After all, Under the Rim Country is a pretty cool place to live. It's just that when you spend your life walled off on one side, it's bound to affect your perspective.

As much as we like to think we're standing on the high ground compared to the Valley, there, in constant view whenever we turn to the north, is some serious high ground. Where others can see forever, we find our perspective seriously impaired.

Therefore I offer you the theory that the Rim is a psychological barrier that obscures and perhaps jaundices our view of the world.

The other factor that I think affects our perspective is this water issue. While the rest of the world takes water for granted -- in fact, wastes it, every move we make and every thought we have is grounded in the fact that water is more precious than oil or even diamonds up here in Under the Rim Country.

Think about it. While the rest of the world hopes for bright, sunny days for their picnics, family reunions and other summer outings, we wouldn't dare tempt fate by doing such a thing.

No, our lot is to pray for bad weather -- dark, gloomy, foul, rain-producing weather. We find ourselves saying things like, "Sure was a nice, dreary day. Must mean the monsoons aren't far off." Or, "The whole family is coming in from 19 states for the big family reunion, but I sure wouldn't mind getting rained out since it hasn't rained in 178 days."

Now, I ask you, how many years of that kind of thinking do you imagine it takes to screw up one's perspective on life. I'm guessing maybe somewhere around the eighth year into a 50-year drought with no relief in sight.

So I am suggesting that these two factors -- being walled in and dried out -- are great excuses for our distorted view of the world up here in Under the Rim Country.

And if people don't like it when our perspective of the world is a bit skewed, you know what they can do. Yep, it rhymes with skewed.

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