If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Chile-related humour

What with all the God this and God that and Praise The Lord the other, I am reminded of an old Jewish joke:

A Rabbi is in a boat out at sea, and a storm blows up. The boat takes on water and begins to sink. He starts to pray: "Lord, when I dedicated my life to you, you promised you would always look after me. Now, when I need you most, please save me from the raging sea and bring me safe to land."

After a short while, he is aware of another boat alongside him. A man on the other boat shouts "Quick, Rabbi - jump across into our boat and you will be safe!"

"No, thank you. The Lord has promised he will save me, and I trust in him." The boat drifts away.

Later, the storm gets even worse, and the boat is being tossed to and fro like a child's toy. And then a lifeboat comes alongside, with searchlights and three lifeboatmen wearing buoyancy vests and holding out a lifebelt. "Come on, Rabbi - grab the lifebelt and we will bring you to our boat and you will be safe!"

"No, thank you. The Lord has promised he will save me, and I trust in him." The lifeboat waits for a moment and then turns and speeds off.

Later, the storm is crashing and thundering around his little boat, the waves are smashing down on the deck and the Rabbi is sure that the end is close. Suddenly, he hears a noise above him, looks up and sees a helicopter. The winchman looks down and shouts at him through a loudhailer:

"Stay where you are, Rabbi, and I will come down with a harness for you, and we will take you to safety!"

"No, thank you. The Lord has promised he will save me, and I trust in him." The helicopter hovers for a while, but the crew see he is determined, and eventually it moves away and out of sight.

A moment later, a huge wave capsizes the boat and the Rabbi is drowned.

Soggy and bedraggled, he enters Heaven and meets God.

"Lord, Lord, you promised me that if I dedicated my life to you, you would always look after me! Why, when I needed you so badly, did you let me down?"

"Well, Rabbi - I sent you two boats and a fucking helicopter. What more did you expect?"
What brought those miners to safety against incredible odds was not some divine intervention. It was the skill, experience, professionalism, expertise and sheer dogged determination of the rescue team. Watching it made me proud to belong to the human race.

You can argue where those qualities came from for as long as you like, of course. But let's not dismiss the contribution of the drilling teams, the paramedics, the engineers and the winchmen. If God was at work at the San Jose mine, it was through real flesh-and-blood people.


  1. The old ones are the best. The first time I heard that one is was about catholic priest.

    You are dead right about who was responsible for getting the miners out.

  2. Yes, it's not exactly recent. But I felt it fitted the circs.

    And, of course, if God masterminded the rescue, who caused the collapse?

  3. Maybe God caused the collapse so he could get kudos for the rescue. If so, it seems to have worked.

  4. That's a bit of a dangerous way to build your reputation. Somebody could have been hurt.


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