Everyone is happy and invigorated by the Chilean miners’ rescue and the resolve of the Chilean government to gather whatever resources were required internationally to save the men. The belief that every means should be exhausted and no expense spared to preserve life is noble and uplifting. It’s a great story, better than fiction, though we all know it will soon be fictionalized.
The miners are about to be media heroes. In fact, during their ordeal, they were already organizing to manage the process. These blue collar workers in a remote part of the world, with no assurance that the rescue plan would work, contacted a notary on the surface to begin having proper papers drawn up for their eventual business ventures.
I’m wondering if the glare of the world’s attention will be worse than the gloom of the mine.
They will make their appearances, they will recount their stories, they will sign book, movie, TV, and other deals. Perhaps they’ll license equipment or candy bars. They’ll put some money in the bank. Some will become more prominent than others by dint of personality or language, and resentments will form. There will be arguments over who exactly was responsible for what. Separate deals will be cut, violating the group’s agreements, and lawyers will begin their ubiquitous squawking. There will be divorces, broken families, and tears.
Eventually, what becomes of them back in Chile? The limelight always fades, even for desperate novelty acts like the Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. What do they do with the rest of their lives? Host a talk show? Tend a garden?
I wish them the best—those I’ve seen and listened to appear to be fine, honest men with the normal set of peccadilloes. (The mistresses running into the wives should make for a great TV movie.) All they were trying to do when they went down there was to earn an honest day’s pay for their families.
Now they’re faced with a lifetime of decisions about what it all means.
© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.