Friday August 29, 2014

See me, hear me, touch me, feel me


View from the Cheap Seats is kind of an extension of the newsroom. Whenever our three regular reporters, Calvin Daniels, Thom Barker and Randy Brenzen are in the building together, it is frequently a site of heated debate. This week: Which of your five senses would you least like to lose?

Passion play

Which sense would you least like to lose?

That was the question I was asked as I walked into the office today.

Well, as someone who has a little bit of experience in losing a sense, I was deaf from age five to six due to a fluid build up in my ears, I can say that losing your ability to hear really isn’t that big of a deal. Yeah, it sucks, but in the end you can still read (both lips and words) and “listen” to music via vibrations.

No, the worst sense to lose, by far, would be sight (in my opinion).

I love watching sports. It’s my passion. If I were to suddenly be unable to watch a baseball or hockey game (or tennis match, kayak race, etc.) it might be such a shock to me that I’d die (joke no joke).

Really though, losing the ability to see would be the worst possible thing that could happen. You could get by without hearing (been there, done that). You don’t need to be able to taste or smell (the two go hand in hand). Heck, for me, not tasting things might be beneficial, what with my overly sensitive taste buds that prevent me from eating many things.

Even losing the ability to feel things would be alright as long as you use common sense and don’t squeeze a cactus or something ridiculous.

No, in the end, losing the ability to see would be devastating.

But at least I wouldn’t have to watch the Oilers lose all the time.

— Randy Brenzen

Family matters

How often have a group of people sat around just having fun and a topic like what sense would you most not want to lose come up?

It’s something people do, look at possibilities in life and wonder.

So when we decided to go that route with our weekly fun effort ‘Cheap Seats’ it set me to thinking. I even did a bit of an experiment bringing up the topic of senses with my son as we took in the Western Canada Cup in Dauphin last week.

This is one of those classic ‘what ifs’ where you kind of go through the mental checklist to determine what each sense really means. On the surface we might imagine we understand our senses, but so much of what they do, and how we use them to analyze and interact with the world around us comes from our internal wiring so is carried out without the merest thought of it happening.

It doesn’t take long to realize each of our senses provides us with so much information that if suddenly taken away, our very perception of our world would change.

I know my first thought was that taste would be the one sense to give up if given a choice, but the thought of flavourless food and drink for the rest of my life is not appealing at all.

But this is about what sense we would least like to lose.

That has to come down to sight for me.

To not see another golden walleye emerge from a lake on my fishing line, another Terrier goal, a Blue Jays home run, a Saskatchewan sunset …

But, the real determiner for me was when I thought about my son and daughter who have not yet given me a grandchild. For that day to come without sight is just not something I would not want to happen.

Music man

Wow. This is one of those brain teasers that someone throws out usually during some drunken conversation around a bonfire. I don’t know what I was thinking agreeing to this (actually, it was my idea, so I don’t know what I was thinking throwing it out there).

A quick survey of the senses is probably in order.

Sight: This was my first instinct to cross off the list immediately. Humans are visual by nature, it seems at first glance (yes, intended) it would be the most important to keep.

Touch: This was my first instinct for the best one to lose, but then it occurred to me how dangerous it might be. I met a guy in the winter when it was minus-infinity walking around in a T-shirt. I basically asked him if he was nuts. He said, ‘no, I lost all feeling in my skin’ (from some kind of accident if I recall). He couldn’t feel the cold, which, of course would not stop him from getting frostbite in a heartbeat. Plus, there’s the sex angle to consider.

Hearing: I am a musician. Perhaps that is enough said right there. I might be able continue to play, but not being able to listen to music seems like it would be unbearable.

Taste: Perhaps even more unbearable than not being able to hear would not being able to appreciate food. Food to me goes way beyond sustenance.

Smell: See taste. They go hand in hand to make the gastronomic experience. Plus, it may be the one sense that most connects us to the world. We have a much better sense of smell than we give ourselves credit for and it is our best memory sense, evoking comfort and evading danger.

ESP: Does not exist. If you don’t know this, you should be reading my Thinking Critically column.

There are, of course, workarounds for loss of any of our five senses, but with this brief evaluation, I recognized what it comes down to is pleasure. All of our senses are responsible for our experiencing of pleasure so the one that gives the most pleasure is obviously the one I would least like to lose.

I think, for me, losing my hearing would be the hardest to adjust to (although I’m probably ridiculously wrong).



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