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. The author is Jonathan Franklin.
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.