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Erica Heller

Erica Heller

Posted: October 13, 2010 12:38 PM

At a collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine, an agonizing wait of 69 days is finally coming to an end for 33 entombed miners and their loved ones. It's almost impossible to imagine it but the colossal cave-in sealed them off way back on Aug. 5. Predictably, there was much joy and cheering today. Thankfully and miraculously, all are apparently well and no doubt ready to begin squabbling soon about who will get to write the screenplay. Or will they?

What I wonder about, what has plagued me for all 69 days is this: Who on earth could last peacefully and non-problematically for 69 hours let alone days, in 90 degree heat, under such grim and punishing circumstances? Certainly not me or anyone I know. Or have ever been related to.

And what if, say, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry David and Richard Lewis were trapped underground for 69 days? How would they fare?

By Day #3:

BROOKS: I still don't understand how these farshtinkener mine people can get water to us but not corned beef. It's so blatantly anti-semitic.

DAVID: You call this water? Do you think I would drink this swill under normal circumstances? And could they possibly have made the caps more difficult to unscrew?

REINER (With one hand cupping his left cheek): Will you all stop with the krechtsing? It's just my luck to be trapped down here with a bunch of grousing comedians. God forbid it should have been a gorgeous woman, a philosopher, or a very good dentist.

LEWIS: Hey,and let's not forget my relationship issues. Sudden enforced intimacy with you meeskites is extremely uncomfortable for me!

BROOKS: Anyone up for a rousing rendition of "Springtime for Pinochet?"

REINER: Stop asking us that!

DAVID: Jesus, haven't you made enough money yet? Is this miserable experience going to be transformed into yet another Broadway musical for you?

LEWIS: Stop this, all of you. Why are you doing this to me?

After more than two months trapped deep in a Chilean mine, the 33 miners were said to be so giddy with the thought of their escape, officials said Sunday, that they were arguing over who would be the last to take a rotating 20-minute ride to daylight into the arms of those they love. And, miracle of miracles, these guys weren't each jockeying to be first. Each one wanted to be last. Did they fight? Did they feud? Did they argue and hold grudges and become impossibly annoying to each other while trapped? Apparently not.

So felicitaciones! My heartfelt congratulations to the Chilean miners and their families. And once they've been medically examined, have washed and been properly fed and have had ample time to reflect and visit with the people who mean the most to them, I think they should be reassigned to head the United Nations. We cannot afford to squander the obviously extraordinarily honed diplomatic skills of these men.

"What began as a potential tragedy is becoming a verified blessing," President Sebastian Pinera said in Santiago last weekend. "When we Chileans set aside our legitimate differences and unify in a grand and noble cause, we are capable of great things."

Perhaps next year, the Nobel Peace Prize will go to not one person but instead to thirty-three.

Who knew such angels could exist on earth, let alone trapped beneath it?