“…a magic potion…will make one of your senses…super sharp, but dull the others. Will you sip it and, if so, what sense do you choose?”
Happily, most of my senses still function fairly well. Indeed, the only exception is my sight, which ain’t what it used to be, as I now need varifocals to do just about anything more demanding than getting out of bed in the morning. So there is certainly room for improvement vision-wise.
However, whether I would choose to restore the beady perspicacity of my younger years, if the quid pro quo was for all the other senses to be dulled, is a moot point. Which is precisely the dilemma that makes this particular prompt so interesting.
And that’s before even thinking about how my sight could be restored. Contact lenses? Aaargh. Laser surgery? No, no, no. I’ll confess to anything, tell you anything you want to know, but not that.
Now I come to think about it, I’ve also been told that I seem to be going a bit deaf. Although as it’s – allegedly – deafness of the selective variety, I’m not sure that really counts. Even so, I don’t think I’d be tempted to dial up the hearing at the expense of dulling everything else. Having overly-acute hearing doesn’t appeal. I’m not sure that I would want to know what other people are saying about me. Or, even worse, to discover that they weren’t talking about me at all.
Vision and hearing are probably the two senses I could least do without, and we’ve established that I wouldn’t particularly want them super-sensitised either. So even at this stage I can see that it’ll be tough to make a case for enhancing any of touch, taste or smell. However, for the sake of completeness, let’s just run briefly through their respective pros and cons:
Touch: the problem here is that if you enhance the sense of touch, beyond a certain point everything hurts. On the other hand, if it is dulled too much you might find yourself wondering whether the sizzling sound coming from the tray you’ve just taken out of the oven with your bare hands is the roast chicken or merely the smoking remains of your palms.
Taste: if the question had been posed differently, this is probably the sense that, in order to preserve all the others, I would be most prepared to sacrifice. Some people seem to believe that I already have.
Smell: Do you really want to smell what a dog can? Or, even worse, like a dog does? So certainly not super-sensitised, no. What about a duller sense of smell? Well, at a push maybe, but then there’s Clarins ‘par Amour’ perfume. I decline to elaborate further.
Anyway, the upshot of all this is that no, I wouldn’t take that magic potion. It’s really a case of ‘be careful what you wish for.’
Nonetheless, this post is not entirely wasted (other opinions are available) because it gives me an opportunity to attach this video of The Who discussing the various senses in their own inimitable fashion. It was shot at the Isle of Wight in 1970 and, to my lasting shame and regret, I slept through it.
So maybe I should have a rethink about improving my hearing after all.