Blog: Burning Man

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Burt Ross

I am thoroughly confused once again. A dear friend of mine recently returned from the Nevada desert where people apparently roamed naked while the winds blew sand into parts of their anatomy which are not meant for collecting sand. 

Now here comes the confusing part, so just try to follow me. Many decades ago when I was Fort Lee’s mayor, I appointed a businessman named Bernard Mann to my Board of Adjustment. Nobody called him Bernard. We all called him “Bernie.” I don’t know whether he had ever been to Nevada, but why tens of thousands of people would attend a festival there in his memory is way beyond my comprehension. You can imagine how utterly amazed I was to find out from my friend who just returned from the desert that the gathering was not named after “Bernie Mann” but rather was called “Burning Man.” The longer I live, the more surprises overwhelm me.

Equally confusing to me, regardless of what they call this festival, is why anybody would flock to the Nevada desert in the summer time. It is so hot during the day my friend stays in his rented RV much of the time thereby ignoring the Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shall never step foot in a recreational vehicle!” And if you must run around naked during the day, you run the serious risk of sunburning parts of your body which you really don’t want to burn.

As for the partaking of drugs, it seems to me that controlled substances are readily available all over the place. If you really need to get high, I doubt you need to schlep to a desert hundreds of miles away to partake.

Thousands of years ago, the Jews escaped slavery in Egypt and spent 40 years getting lost in the desert. More than likely, they were running around naked and cavorting while under the influence of drugs. I can think of no other explanation for why it took them so long to travel such a short distance.  Finally, Moses descended Mount Sinai and commanded his people to get with the program. It seems to me that thousands of people each summer are reverting to old behavior, and unless they give up their ways might never get to the promised land, but my friend is going back next year. He had a great time.