Smoking Kills Miners

Smoking Kills. Period.

Would you be able to seal up a mine with 300 people inside it, knowing that they would all die? I sat next to a mining engineer name Mike on the sardine express. A short plane trip from Amsterdam to Hull last week, on a visit to my ailing grandma in Lincoln. It was the day the Chilean mine was exporting the trapped miners from their months’ long stay deep underground in a collapsed mine. (see the picture of the Queen receiving a rock from it here)

A french baker had told me about the trapped miners the day before in a Dutch coffee shop. I don’t follow the news, and this was the first I’d heard of it. This allowed me to seem halfway intelligent in the conversation with Mike on the plane, which extended to life in the US, and to a fire in a different mine.

He worked on a United Nations committee for mining, and thus found himself investigating a mine fire. The mine had caught fire, and despite 300 people being in the mine, the operators capped the vents to the surface to asphyxiate the fire, knowing that this would kill all the surviving miners below. Pretty grisly.

Months later when things had cooled down, and the anaerobic decomposition of the bodies was well underway, Mike was in the mine in his hazardous materials suit. He determined the cause of the fire. Two men were smoking cigarettes. This was the source of ignition for some explosive gas that was lurking in the mine – a not uncommon occurrence. Which is why smoking is banned.

Mike was a lively and dynamic seat-mate, and he quickly realized that I was jaded about this American life. I think my natural tendency is to blame America, when really, I just need to work on myself. Despite my reading a catalog of hundreds of self-proclaimed classic self-help books, I think I need to write a new one. “Breaking free from self-help books“. Your 21 day guide to escape from prescriptive literature.

It also made me change my blog title from “The journey to become”, to “The journey to become less jaded“. Thanks Mike.

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