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BRC DPW: We work hard, we play hard
by an anonymous DPW worker

I've been out here at the Black Rock City DPW "labor camp" sweating and frying for weeks now. I'm kind of on brain boil out here a 120-degree day on the playa will do that to you. But it's not that bad, really they put certain additives in the food to equalize us. It's a pretty good buzz. I can't place it, but it could be thorazine.

Actually, everyone in the DPW is a little crazy you kinda have to be. I mean, what kind of person spends two months living in the god-forsaken desert just to build a city that's only going to last one week? Sometimes, I think that we're all just a bunch of nutcases, drawn to the lithium content of the well water out here. Damn, it's hard water. It's as hard as a 16-year-old's cock watching porno. It's so hard we chew it. It cuts diamonds, and totally counteracts loose stools. We load our guns with it... uh, so to speak.

Conditions at the labor camp are rough, but like the saying goes, "that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger." For instance, we've discovered that dog milk doesn't taste so bad in one's coffee. Right now, the hottest things on the camp black market are cigarettes and radio batteries, followed closely by booze, beer, and sexual favors, not necessarily in that order.

So we've been working our asses off out here since July. Fuck, I hate sticking little flags in the ground. But at least the DPW has finally discovered the sound management principle of "threes." You see, three is the perfect number for a crew two to do the work and one to hold the bag or drive the car or whatever. To facilitate this, we've organized the volunteers into special task focus groups of three each, and to encourage a symbolic bonding, we attach them via a chain and leg irons. For larger tasks we use multiple groups of three which are supervised by a manager, usually with a big-ass bull whip. It seems to work.

My crew consists of an Afrikanse; a professional body piercer, and a leather jock-wearing Bo Derek-long-braided gothish tattooed guy who seems like a cross between a vampire, Tarzan, and Wolf Boy. I like my crew they're fun.

As you can probably guess, the bulk of the DPW workforce are counter-cultural warriors to whom bureaucracy is anathema crazed kids who can weld together a tall bike from scraps in mere minutes. There's a whole shitload of hardcore tattooed-faced freaks from Minneapolis; two professional body piercers who are, well, holy to say the least; one pregnant mother; and one newborn, if you can believe it.

There are also two rockin' DPW punk bands, Suicidal Bunnies and Tank Girl. And they both could have held their own on a bill with the Dead Kennedys or you name it. They kick ass. Apocalypse Theatre is also in the house hotties all.

We have something like 120 volunteers most are solid, but there are a few slackers. Three of them were left in the stocks all day yesterday and had rotten food and feces thrown at them. Talk about "Lord of the Flies." Fortunately, I have my Zen armor and a quick draw stun baton, just in case. You know, sometimes, people miss the "edginess" of the old Burning Man, or they get heat stroke and start running at the barbed wire and that's when we play rock salt buckshot tag. Hey, we work hard, we play hard.

Admittedly though, the crew is starting to show signs of stress from being out here too long fistfights are frequent and bloody, often ending in severe lacerations and severed limbs. Women however, are safe. Besides, DPW women are usually the ones starting the fistfights and severing the limbs. Nobody, except for those with a death wish, should mess with them.

Last week, we were all ready to pull an insurrection and declare the DPW a workers collective except for the fact that we knew that 25,000 participants would be arriving in less than a month. Not that we really care, but it does give us something to do. In fact, the managers all received knives as gifts from the Burning Man upper management and have sworn oaths to commit suicide if any participants meet with discomfort. See, we do care!

We don't really give a damn about the structure of Black Rock City though. We know that it's an organic process and that all we build is the skeleton the flesh is everyone who shows up. So we slave away, building the city's infrastructure, and then everyone shows up with their RVs and their theme camps and fucks it all up. It annoys us, but we're used to it.

But if you've ever wondered why the DPW has such a bad attitude, that might be part of it. Not that we care though. We know damn well that we are what all the moneyed professionals who attend pretend to be while they're here and that they all wish that they could be us for just one day. But sorry kids, the DPW doesn't work that way. Out here, to play hard, you gotta work hard.

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