Stuck in a Chilean Mine ‘Til Christmas: Would You Keep Your Sense of Humor?

The thought of those Chilean mine workers stuck underground all this time really disturbs me. I am really claustrophobic, so ‘miner’ was never going to make it onto my list of possible occupations. Nevertheless, I keep imagining how I would react if I were trapped in the ‘bowels of the earth’ as some articles have eerily described. I think I would be the one that absolutely loses it, goes balmy, crazy, stark raving mad, loco – I think you get the picture! But then I think, oh my, that would have such a hectic effect on all the others, I’d really have to try with all my might to keep it together – but how??

Well, an Aussie mine collapse survivor has offered some advice: keep your sense of humor. It seemed so profoundly simple when I read it, but then I backtracked just a little and noticed that Mr Todd Russel was only trapped underground for 14 days. How long are they predicting the Chilean miners will be down there? Try 4 months Mr Russel! My maths isn’t great, but that’s 8 times the hardship you had to endure buddy!

Okay, so he does go on to describe other ways of coping, but I mean, why is ‘keep your sense of humor’ highlighted as a precious pearl of wisdom? It’s not funny! I don’t know why I feel so touchy about this story *ahem* let me compose myself.

I suppose I just keep thinking about how long one day can feel when I’m bored out of my mind and have absolutely nothing to do. We’ve all had days like that, where minutes feel like hours, but now add to that – a confined space, with the same people, hardly any food (even tougher if you’re someone like me who confuses boredom with hunger), a hot and humid environment, and no private loo. In fact, the loo question has been on my mind for days now. How do they work that one out?

Okay, this is scary, another article I just read says that, depending on the constitution of each Chilean miner, there is a possibility that some could just ‘give up’ psychologically and die.

Well, I can’t stop thinking about these men. I wake up, they’re underground, I eat breakfast, they’re underground, I drive to work, they’re underground, I wade through my pile of work as the hours fly by, they’re underground, I come home and relax in front of some mindless television, they’re underground, I eat a lovely dinner, they’re underground, I have an after dinner snack, they’re underground, I sit here typing in my bed with my electric blanket on, they’re underground! The thought of them underground is plaguing me.

If there’s anyone out there who’s also thinking about the Chilean miners non-stop, join me in saying a prayer for them. I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through and are yet to go through in the coming months. Well, actually, I can begin to imagine, but that thought just makes me want to hyperventilate.

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