chilean miners…33 men

On NPR news this morning, there was a segment about the 33 Chilean miners who, last year, had been trapped underground. Their near death experience made them front page news worldwide, as their ordeal dragged on for an interminable amount of time. After their rescue, one of the reporters following the story continued to do so, keeping track of the miners in the aftermath. He’s since written the book, 33 Men. 33 Men Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean MinersThe author is Jonathan Franklin.

Chile rescue

Image by thomaswanhoff via Flickr

According to the interview on NPR news, Franklin said the surviving miners went from celebrity headliners to normal Chileans living without running water. Most are unemployed, only a few have taken to other jobs such as truck drivers and vegetable stand vendors. Two men attempted to return to work in the mines. One lasted only minutes, having been so petrified he fled the mine almost immediately. The other viewed the mouth of the mine, tears welling in his eyes. When asked why he was so sad when he had escaped death and survived, the former miner proclaimed that he had been happy there…in the mine. A puzzling response, to be sure.

Franklin went on to explain that when the miners were first trapped, they bonded in their misery. The men became a team, working together to stay alive. However upon receiving assistance from the outside world, their cohesiveness dissipated. A TV sent down to them became the primary focus of some, taking them away from assigned tasks. Those men just wanted to watch TV all the time. IPhones that had also been distributed to entertain the miners, were returned by some who indicated that the recorded music wasn’t to their liking. I don’t even own an IPhone…not that I’m clamoring for one.

Fame, as we all know, is fleeting unless one forever chases it. Lottery winners are big news, quickly returning to the shadows from whence they came. Those who are able to maintain their former selves in spite of the moolah and the hooplah, fare better than those who are caught up in the moment, relinquishing themselves to all that fame and money can buy. What chance have these Chilean men, saved from death’s grasp, of surviving all the media hype that turned their world upside-down. Will they be rich and famous? Or will they return to poverty and obscurity? Only time will tell, it seems. For Hollywood has come-a-calling, and the red carpet will be rolled out, and money will be made…but will it be shared proportionately…between those who have…and those who, as yet, have not?

One person it seemed escaped the post traumatic effects of those rescued from the mine…a priest. I’m not sure why he was amongst the miners, but according to Franklin, the clergyman acted the leader while underground. Most likely as a result of his position and his spirituality, he escaped the psychological ailments that still bedevils the others. So while celebrity and financial gain are of no significance to the priest, who is once again leading a normal life, where will the miners who jump back onto the media’s bandwagon hoping to cash in…find themselves…

after their fleeting moment in the spotlight…is finally spent…and gone?………hugmamma.  

2 thoughts on “chilean miners…33 men

  1. Well, I guess it proves once again that fame, fortune, wine, women, and song cannot replace, cannot give you Peace. Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith. Fall from grace, have everything and have nothing.

    The problem with Chasing the Dime, as Michael Connelly would say, is that we stumble over, walk on, and ignore the Peace already present in our lives. For inexplicable reaons, the rich and famous never get this. Maybe it’s because they’ve never had to look closely at their lives.

    I live in an affluent communty where million dollar homes are plentiful, and all the people who live in them make more money than me. They also travel for work several days or weeks a month, but you know, they have to have their Big White House and fancy cars.
    I’m a physician, not the glamorous type. I don’t do cash-for-business breast implants, botox injections, or lasik surgery. I am an internist, a primary care guy.

    But I wouldn’t trade what I do for the world, because I am home every night and every weekend for dinner with my family.

    Tiger Woods doesn’t have that.


    • Sometimes I think when people have so much stuff at their disposal, they’ve no time to wade through it all and get back to basics…walks outdoors, not on treadmills or elypticals…quiet reads with a good book, not endless and mindless internet cruises…homemade meals with family, not regular steak dinners at upscale restaurants…

      When I’ve lived outside my normal routine, going here and there, eating this and that, doing whatever…I’m eager to return to homemade, peace and quiet, and days of doing very little. I’m not sure if those with excessive wealth can enjoy such a slow pace, without all the toys that amuse.

      I must admit to being surprised at your profession. I’d thought you were a photographer on hiatus. But I guess you’re an internist with a penchant for photography…and family. All very honorable, to be sure. Being very down to earth must translate to an excellent bedside manner with your patients. And that, my friend, is always at the top of my wish list when looking for a doctor. Of course, expertise is right there as well.

      My husband is impressed, I think, that my blogging has put me in touch with a professional such as yourself. I must admit to being flattered myself…a middle-aged, empty-nester, housewife conversing with a younger, medical professional. Who’d have thunk? The power of the internet…and the draw of like-minded friends…regardless of obvious differences…

      here’s to traveling the same path…for a long time to come…hugmamma. 😉


hugs for sharing some brief thoughts...and keeping them positive

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