The Aaron Mitchell thing
Well, that’s a new one. Self-immolation at The Burn. Aaron, my man, if you wanted to be remembered for a long, long time by thousands of your fellow Burners, you just pulled it off. Right?
So, of course it’s a shame and a sin that Aaron Mitchell died in the sacred flames of The Man, a fire that has done so much inspiring and cleansing over the years. Aaron, or Ay-Ay-Ron as The Substitute Teacher on Key & Peele would’ve called you, all us Burners tip our hats, wave a dusty goodbye, and ask, “Dude, just what were you thinkin’ and what the fuck were you drinkin’?”
My theory? I have one and I must admit, I have no proof whatsoever that it might be true. It’s all pure hunch and intuition. But it’s worthy of mention. I don’t think Mitchell wanted to kill himself. I really don’t. So far, the comments we’ve seen from family and friends is that he was a fit, fine fellow who liked hiking, a native Oklahoman living in Switzerland, married with no kids, and had just recently visited Madras, Oregon, to partake of the Ecliptical Cermonies there. Sure, there may be clues as to a suicidal mindset that were overlooked until the actual deed, but as I write this on Labor Day, Mitchell doesn’t really sound like a guy who wanted to be dead.
If not suicide, what? I think it’s possible he may have been victim to a wild impulse. A very wild impulse. An impulse that echoed in his mind, “Dude, we can become instantly legendary. Instantly. Just run through the flames of the Man—as he’s Burning!”
I think he may have wanted to be the coolest Burner ever, and run through that outrageous blaze. Think of the stories at the bar if you pull that shit off! I don’t think he wanted death. I think he wanted immortality. And he actually—OMFG—went for it! (My guess as to his drug—Ketamine).
He dodged some Rangers, hit that fire like a Heisman halfback, and then—oops. He fell. And that was that. Crazy. I hope one merciful thing for Aaron after he went down, that he never regained consciousness.
OK. Shit happens. I don’t need counseling. I don’t need a hug. I’m OK with Aaron’s story. I repeat, I have no idea if what I’m saying is actually true. It’s my conjecture, one scenario that strikes me as possible. But chances are we will never really know the why in this tale of Aaron Joel Mitchell. The Burning Man.