COPIAPO, Chile (Oct. 12) — The rescue of 33 men trapped for two months in a Chilean mine was delayed early this morning to allow time for the miners to receive and don pink accessories to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Americans who have watched NFL match-ups over the past two weeks may be familiar with the campaign to raise awareness of the disease. A number of players have worn pink shoes, tape and stickers during nationally broadcast football games. The Chilean miners, however, were unfamiliar with the effort, and expressed disappointment with the delay.
“We are certainly all in favor of breast awareness, after having been down here for ten weeks. In fact, we have thought of little else,” said Hernando Soto, a spokesman for the entombed men. “We will wear the pink rescue harnesses, the pink helmets and even the pink socks if they want us to. We just wish they could’ve been delivered sooner.”
Workers at the site predicted it would take little more than three to four days for the colorful equipment to be transported down the half-mile shaft. The commemorative clothing will be personally delivered to the trapped miners by pop singing star P!nk, who is currently finishing up a 36-city North American tour.
“We don’t want people to think this delay is simply to allow P!nk to perform her last two concerts in Miami,” said Allen Mooney, the chief engineer on site. “We also had to widen the shaft by another four inches to get her down there. She’s a healthy gal, you know.”
Rescuers hope they won’t have to grease the two-time Grammy winner with “arrollado,” a local pork belly specialty, to squeeze her down the narrow tunnel. They fear the sudden appearance of the glistening star will permanently scar the already frail psyches of the interred workers.
Meanwhile, reports that the miners were squabbling amongst themselves to be the last, rather than the first, to escape the underground chamber appear to have been misinterpreted. Some of the men believe the risky maneuver to bring them to the surface is doomed to complications, and want their fellow miners — “especially the guy who kept hogging all the soda,” according to one report — to go ahead of them. Others say they rather liked life deep in the bowels of the earth, and were reluctant to leave.
“They say location and amenities are the keys to a good piece of real estate and, frankly, this place is hard to beat,” said subterranean realtor Chrissy Haverford. “There’s very little seasonal variation in the weather, you’re close to shopping and entertainment that come out of that big tube over there and, when you eventually pass away, you’ll have the convenience of already being buried. Yes, it’s a bit of a fixer-upper but many of these guys have become quite handy in their two months down here.”
The trapped men who want to remain behind may have some competition for the home they’ve built out of solid rock beneath an arid Chilean desert. A number of groups have expressed interest in claiming the location once it is abandoned. Democratic congressional candidates, victims of home foreclosures and Atlanta second-baseman Brooks Conrad, who made three errors in one game to cost the Braves a key game in the National League playoffs, have all made inquiries into when the desolate cave will be on the market.
“I’m prepared to make a very attractive offer,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to lose her leadership position in a Republican landslide next month. “All those Tea Partiers who have encouraged me to ‘go to hell’ got me to thinking what a good idea that might be, especially if the U.S. is taken over by reactionary chuckleheads.”
When the miners do finally emerge from underground later this week, they’ll encounter a very different world than the one they left behind the day they were trapped in August. For one thing, it’s getting cooler outside now, especially at night, and they’re going to have a lot of raking to do when they get home. They also may not be aware that David Hasselhoff and Michael Bolton have been voted off “Dancing With the Stars,” and might be surprised to find there are people who aren’t witches running for the U.S. Senate, and that veteran actor Tony Curtis has died.
Plus, they may be confused by a new set of traffic signal colors being rolled out around the world, to increase understanding of several ailments plaguing the planet. The traditional red, yellow and green that had previously been a near-universal presence at intersections around the world have been replaced by pink, a sort of mustard brown, and a metallic blue. The pink, of course, is for breast cancer awareness; the golden brown is for boils, carbuncles and other pus-based skin eruptions; and the blue is for victims of a rare silver-eating disorder.
“It’s true, they’ll have a substantial adjustment period ahead of them,” said NASA psychologist Karen Moreland. “We just pray there aren’t too many car accidents.”