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In Memoriam: Remembering the Intern We Accidentally Sent to the Wrong Desert for Burning Man

When Sarah Daniels first began her internship with us, we weren’t really sure what to make of her. She seemed aloof, uninspired, and as all those who know her would tell you, a big fan of sarcasm. But, after weeks of being forced into close quarters around the office, we forged a beautiful, barely-functional working relationship which proved most of our original assumptions correct, if not a little too favorable.

Sarah was kind. She was brave. She often forgot to change the filter in the coffee machine, one of just many neglected duties she held around the office. But looking back on it, overall she was tolerable. Did we have to threaten to not sign off on her internship papers until she changed the filters? Yes. Does that matter in the grand scheme of things, considering her untimely death? Some would argue that yes, as a matter of principle it still does, but here at Hard Times we say no, no it does not.

Sarah was the kind of person who looked a little annoyed whenever we asked her to do stuff, consistently showed up late, and very quickly closed down the browser tab she was perusing when someone walked by. Quite frankly, we would have rejected her application completely, but she mentioned in her interview that her dad worked at Hostess and that she could hook us up with morning donuts.

The donuts, much like large swaths of her assigned work, never materialized.

But despite her lackadaisical work ethic and grating personality — and most of our staff being fairly certain she was a narc — Sarah was a pretty OK intern, and (statistically speaking) will almost certainly be missed dearly by someone, somewhere.

Sure, she made it sound like she knew way more about social media than she really did and then filled our Twitter with horrendous, racially insensitive typos, but when she wasn’t on her phone, we could always count on her to read us our horoscopes, whether we asked her to or not.

Naturally, she was our first choice to report from Burning Man. And not just because none of our other writers would agree to spend time in the desert with all the people they try so desperately to avoid in San Francisco. But because we knew she loved hugging people, bright lights, and hula-hooping, which (from what we can tell) is a lot of the crap that goes on at Burning Man.

While details of our intern’s death are still unclear (and for legal reasons we cannot comment on whether or not we purposely bought her the wrong plane ticket as a joke) we have reason to believe that Sarah may have eaten some desert plants and experienced intense, vivid hallucinations. Which, if true, would be entirely her own fault, and (legally speaking) not implicate Hard Times Media LLC in her brutal demise in any way.

And although hikers reported seeing a woman in tribal face paint frantically shouting about “the man” and how she just wanted to meet Bassnectar while being torn apart by birds of prey, we do not wish to remember Sarah in this way. Sarah was more than just a half-eaten corpse ripped to shreds nearly 120 miles east of the campsite where we first made contact with her upon arrival for her ill-fated assignment. She was a daughter, a friend, and perhaps most importantly, a lackluster intern with very lukewarm relationships around the office.

It is our hope for Sarah that the plant-induced state of euphoria she experienced made her feel like she really was at Burning Man, hugging and hula-hooping with all of her friends — or maybe even like she was someone who had a future in the writing world. This is how we will remember her. Not as someone who was hopelessly alone and almost certainly in an immense amount of pain as beaks and talons tore deep, unforgiven holes into her flesh, but as someone who was going to somehow — despite all odds — use this internship as a launching off point for a career.

She will be missed.

In Their Own Words: The Hard Times Staff Remembers Sarah, Our Fallen Intern:

“We should send her family flowers. Have Sarah the intern get on that.” — Dan Kozuh

“I was really bummed out until I realized I was thinking of Stacy. I really like Stacy.” — Abram Alguire

“Her loss is not in vain; we got two pieces of content.” — Bill Conway

“We had an intern?” – Mark Roebuck

“She died the way she wanted: alone, scared, and ripped apart by birds of prey.” — Greg Gethard

“Happy birthday! Best wishes – Rick Homuth

“Hey Matt, I can’t come in for a couple days. I’m real sad about Sandra.”– Blake Penelope

“God must have needed an intern.” — Tyler Evans

“Her untimely death is the first time she’s ever shown up early for anything.” — Michael Civins

“First Bowie and Prince and now Sarah The Intern. Man, 2016 is the worst.” — Sari Beliak

“I told you, PUNK IS NOT DEAD. Oh. Sarah. You said Sarah is dead.” — Kyle Erf

“Her death, while tragic, was caused by unforeseen circumstances and her own poor decision-making, and in no way resulted from any negligence or oversight on the part of Hard Times Media LLC or its subsidiaries.” — Hard Times Senior Legal Counsel, Brad Skafish.

“I bet she still finds a way to complain about all this on Monday.” — Christopher Nakis

“She would’ve been as good as dead in this economy with a Comparative Lit degree anyway.” — Colyn Emery