Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

Get that smutty thought out of your head. Yes, I know, that title is just asking for it, but this isn't about sex.

Well, mostly not.

Unless you've been under a rock for the last couple of months, you know about the miners trapped in a Chilean mine. Operations continue to drill a rescue passage down to them, but it seems it'll be months before they're taken out.

It's astonishing that these men, more then thirty of them, managed not to panic during the period when they were completely cut off from the world, when no one knew if they had survived the cave in. I know a lot of people probably would. Yet they managed to stay calm, to stay organized, and ration what little supplies they had.

Then the rescuers managed to get through to them.

They seem in good spirits down there in the bowels of the earth, their world confined to a relatively small area, beyond which they cannot go. Now that they know they'll get out, they've got something to live for. In the weeks and months to come, they're working on their side of things to ensure that the coming rescue shaft can be kept clear. They have to keep in shape, they have to stay healthy, and they need to keep their spirits up. They are, after all, still down there for a very long time to come.

The incident has attracted a lot of attention. Psychologists will study this for years to come to examine the way that kind of isolation weighs on a small group of people. Engineers will look at what went wrong, and what's gone right. Even survivors of the Andean plane crash in the 70s have paid a visit to the site. They would know something of what these men are coping with. Aside from the fact that we can assume the miners haven't started eating each other. At least I think we can assume it.

Books, no doubt, will be written, and not just about the ordeal, but indirectly inspired elements of fiction. I imagine a lot of people around the world will breathe a sigh of relief once all of them are up on the surface. And all of them will no doubt feel the need for a very long shower.

Not all of it's a feel good story. Some weeks ago a newspaper article mentioned social workers coming to the site, mediating family flareups outside of the mine. It seemed that not every family linked to these miners was a happy one, and so having someone about to negotiate conflicts was in order.

One case stands out in all this. A miner's wife turned up at the site to await news on her husband. Unfortunately, however, his mistress did too. Imagine the tension there.

The poor chap is likely going to be the last to want to leave, knowing tht his wife and mistress are up there, waiting, and really, really pissed at him. His fellow miners might well have to drag him out.

"Sorry, fellas, but it's been really fun down here in the mine. If it's all the same to you, I'll just stay down here for the next thirty years."

Of course, the two women will come down after him, yelling at him, inadvertantly causing another mine collapse. Which will require another four months to drill another rescue shaft. During which time, the poor chap will be subjected to both women yelling at him.

Oh, yes. He knows he's a dead man walking when he gets out of there. Poor sod.


  1. Now I get to comment in TWO places!

    I wouldn't want to be that guy. He has a tough choice to make: die down there, or die when he gets rescued. I have a feeling staying down there would be less painful....

  2. Much less painful just to stay around down below....


Comments and opinions always welcome. If you're a spammer, your messages aren't going to last long here, even if they do make it past the spam filters. Keep it up with the spam, and I'll send Dick Cheney after you.