You drop 600 feet per minute – 60 feet per second. No seatbelts (as if THAT would save your sorry rump balanced against the edge of a 2X4). Unless you’re at the bottom, there’s a grimy gold miner sitting between your legs and you’re sitting between some other miner’s legs. And if you’re at the bottom, you get to experience the EE Ticket knowing that a bat hitting your face at this speed probably wouldn’t hurt long enough for you to register the fact you’re already dead. A sudden stop would mean so much crushing weight behind you you’d probably bond with the gold you’re mining on a rather sub-molecular level.
You’re working so far below the natural water table that pumps are pulling millions of gallons or water away from you, like some man-made recreation of the parting of the Red Sea. Obviously, no light has been here before but neither has air so massive blowers are forcing air thru a large iron pipe to your left – blowers run by humans above ground who’d better not be playing (or drinking) gin when the steam generators need stoking. And that whoosh you just felt was the sound of an ore car filled by the last shift being pulled up the other side of the shaft – at more than twice the speed of your decent: or 160 feet *per second.*
You’ll be part of a 2-man team doing ‘double jacking’: both of you alternately pounding a spike into the beautifully reflective, crystalline granite but it will be you who carefully loads the hole with one stick of dynamite to blow apart the ore and fill a car like the one that passed you on the way down as others shoot in behind you. There’s no day or night where there’s no sky.
You are a 5foot 2inch son of a farmer’s son who heard the call: “Go west, young man!!! There’s a rush on and it’s for GOLD!!!”
You are out of your flippin’ mind.