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Old 04-16-2019, 03:29 PM
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You have superhuman strength now - how profit?


As a partial extension of another OP from a few years ago... Let's go with the following hypothetical - ignoring the actual scientific and and physical viability aspects of it:

1) You discover, somehow, that you have Jessica Jones/Bruce-Willis-Out-Of-That-Film style powers of enhanced physical strength. You are able to punch through sheets of steel and bend rebars with your bare hands. However, you are not invincible - bullets still hurt and you still get sick and age like normal people. And your epidermis is normal - so punching holes through walls will hurt and still make you bleed a lot. You have a normal external musculature - you don't look buff.

2) You also know that if people knew what you could do you would be the interest of all kinds of scientific and governmental organisations. You don't want to get kidnapped by shady military research type folks (and want to protect your loved ones from them), so you have decided to keep your powers on the down-low.

3) However, being hella-strong must count for something. We can make this work for us, we just have to be clever and careful about how we do so...

So, you want to use these powers for personal advantage, but not in such a way that other people could clock that you have them. And you are not particularly bothered by ethics. What now?

A few ideas off the top of my head, along with problems associated with them...

a) Attend some kind of illegal gambling event. Beat the shit out of people, take money and leave. Sounds great, but they'd have armed people at these events - and superhuman strength is great until you have a bunch of people shooting at you from all angles. Plus, being strong doesn't necessarily mean you'd be good in a fist-fight, although I'd assume that being superhumanly strong might offset lack of skill to some extent.

b) Wear a mask and rob banks. Use brute force to smash your way into cash stores and make away with it. Same problems as above.

c) Become a professional sport fighter (boxing, UFC, whatever..). In whatever weight category you were in you would win, but experts would pretty quickly spot that you were winning without good technique or any sort of training. (or maybe you wouldn't, as per #2) - big questions would be asked publicly and quickly.

d) Randomly mug people for the change they have in their wallet. Okay, but most people could do that with a weapon anyway - superhuman strength doesn't add much more advantage, and this isn't really much profit - most people don't walk around with much cash these days.

So far, I'm leaning towards concluding that suddenly acquiring superhuman strength would not lead to any immediate risk-free material benefits - but happy to be proven wrong.

(And no, I don't need an answer fast )

MrLee
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:39 PM
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Well, hell, being strong in general is an asset and will benefit me in my current employment. Sure, from a physical standpoint I'd be wildly overqualified, but so what? Right now I'm mentally wildly overqualified, I still show up to work 'cause I gotta pay the rent.

But, meanwhile, I would also have the strength/energy to do a lot of volunteer work, help build houses for habitat for humanity, help senior citizens do their shopping, etc. which would build my social network and I'd leverage that to improve my lot in life.

Stuff explicitly using my strength? Performance. There are men (and a few women) doing strongman stunts for fun and profit. Just be careful not to be too good at it.

The problem with mugging people, robbing banks, and thievery is that there are so damn many cameras around these days, sooner or later you're going to get caught.

Maybe I could go into some sort of construction work - super-strength would let me keep up with the young guys and I could make money that way.

Fact is, there's not as much call for brute strength as there used to be.
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:46 PM
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Your bones would have to be made of something other than calcium phosphate, or you wouldn't be able to support the weights you lift and your muscles and tendons would break the bones when you exert yourself. And your skin would probably tear off your hands from gripping as well.

But, assuming magic -

Not a life of crime. Strong != bulletproof. Enter, first the world powerlifting meet and total 2000 kilos or something. Then the world Olympic lifting championships, and snatch 230 kilos and clean and jerk 300. Then get an agent and do professional shows.

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Old 04-16-2019, 03:50 PM
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Shit, I'd just help people move their furniture for $200/hour.
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:54 PM
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Could you train yourself to throw a 180 MPH fastball?
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:57 PM
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Who could catch it?
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:00 PM
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If bullets and knives are still dangerous to me, then regardless of ethics, anything involving transgressions against other people will eventually result in ruination. Rob an illegal gambling event? Expect to get shot/stabbed. Random muggings? Eventually the police will catch up to you and use physical force to subdue you. They would fail at hand-to-hand combat, but they have guns, chemicals, tasers and blunt instruments; they'll win eventually.

In fact, if being punched can hurt, then any kind of UFC/boxing competition that involves a risk of being hit/kicked seems like a bad idea. You need a contest that relies only on strength. Start small and work your way up. Visit state fairs and win first place in arm-wrestling contests. Eventually you can enter the World's Strongest Man contest. The feats of strength in these contests are astonishing for someone of my build, but given that these feats do get performed by legit competitors, they're not outside the bounds of human achievement, and so shouldn't attract the attention of devious government agents.

If we're looking to use our strength to profit from illegal acts, we need ones that nobody will witness. Find places where surveillance is non-existent and security is based on people not being physically able to get in. Then use your strength to get in and swipe whatever valuables you find. Pick a small business, break in, tear the safe apart, take the cash, leave quickly. Don't do this more than a couple of times in any one town; keep moving around.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:03 PM
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Sell "strength and muscle-building" supplements using my superhuman strength as the selling point.

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  #9  
Old 04-16-2019, 05:00 PM
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I'd win at arm-wrestling competitions.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:30 PM
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I'd avoid the shadowy research labs by going straight to the well-lit and transparent labs. If that mysterious super-strong guy that's being studied by Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, the National Institute for Health, and the Mayo Clinic and is talked about in all of the news sources disappears, people are going to want to know why.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:42 PM
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I'd have fairly modest ambitions. Just be an NFL lineman and use my newfound strength (but not too strong - that would lead to suspicion) and blow away opposing linemen. But - well, wait, that would still lead to suspicion, since I'm just a 5'8, 140-pound guy......I'd have to somehow bulk up to 270 pounds and gain a few inches - never mind.

Maybe just boxing. Throw that first punch and end each round right there.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:49 PM
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Acrobatic pornography.
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:24 PM
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Maybe just boxing. Throw that first punch and end each round right there.
I think they already made a movie about that...
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:44 PM
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Easy...I'll become a magician. Bending coins and steel bars, levitating cars on my finger tips etc.

No one will ever think I'm actually lifting cars, so I must be a good illusionist.
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:55 PM
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Who could catch it?
A catcher?

Maybe 150 MPH
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:08 PM
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Sports has to be the way to profit the most. Boxing seems obvious. You don’t have to have the best form, just the ability to knock people out.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:09 PM
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I think you'll be limited mainly to being an entertainer (which includes sports)… strength just really doesn't matter so much and has been replaced by machines and chemistry.

Since you are still bound by the limits of your body tissues you couldn't compete against machinery in any significant way; your muscles may be capable of producing enough force to cleave away mountainsides or smash buildings like Wreck-it Ralph, but you'd just snap apart your own bones or grate your hands into mush when you try to pick up massive weights which usually require expensive lifting or processing equipment.

Crime is pretty much out, because the successful criminals are the smart ones who know how to avoid detection by other people rather than blaze through passive defenses like vault walls or locks. Having a crow bar already basically gives you super human strength and allows you to bend steel and pry apart wood frames. Nobody's making much money using one though. You need to actually sell the priceless art to someone in order to profit from the strength to bend the bars protecting it.

I'd say becoming some sort of entertainer would be the best path to take; the road is already paved in a few strength-based sports which have monetary prizes. But AFAIK there's only a handful that pay enough to live on purely through prize money alone. Athletes tend to make more money getting sponsorships and endorsement deals... but that requires a different skill set or money to hire someone to put the deals together for you. A 20,000 lb bench press just moves 10 tons of material a foot or two up and down. You need some influential people around you to make anyone care about the feat.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:16 PM
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Also with sports I say you'll need to stick to those where technique/timing/stamina/strategy are minimal and mainly pure strength wins the competition. For most sports strength helps but is only a fraction of the puzzle. Something like boxing requires a huge amount of skill beyond pure strength. Lots of strong men get their asses handed to them by pros who understand positioning and timing and technique. And again, few athletes make money purely off their physical abilities alone; it's through the people they hire to represent them that deals come through to actually get paid to do things like move rocks or toss logs around.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:53 PM
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Construction or mining, maybe. Use tools that will protect what's delicate while taking advantage of the strength. Sure, there already are machines to do a lot of it, but there are also probably applications where on-the-spot judgment and adaptability would count for a lot.

Squeeze carbon into diamonds, maybe.

Sure, the difficult part would be keeping the abilities secret.
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:55 PM
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I'd win at arm-wrestling competitions.
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Sports has to be the way to profit the most. Boxing seems obvious. You don’t have to have the best form, just the ability to knock people out.
But I can still be hurt and the other boxer with good form and training could beat the crap out of me. I would go arm-wrestling and "professional wrestling"/WWE. Those people would know how to promote/show off my strength while keeping me safe. I don't remember the name but there was a wrestler way back when (late 60s/early 70s) who mastered the trick of having cinder blocks broken on him with a sledge hammer; he had quite a fair run for a number of years with the trick.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:26 AM
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Could you train yourself to throw a 180 MPH fastball?
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Who could catch it?
You could be kept on the bench. The other team's pitcher hits one of your guys, you get put in for retribution, putting their batter into the hospital. A few demonstrations of your abilities and either teams respect the heck out of you, or maybe MLB changes some rules.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:50 AM
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Definitely pro wrasslin'. The big thing would be learning not to accidentally hurt anyone. I'd need to save my money, since the novelty would run out at some point with the territory system dead and gone.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:59 AM
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Definitely pro wrasslin'. The big thing would be learning not to accidentally hurt anyone. I'd need to save my money, since the novelty would run out at some point with the territory system dead and gone.
Being a pro wrestler has very little to do with strength. Stamina and agility are more important. Plus, unless you LOOK like a bodybuilder, you won't draw an audience.

Maybe be a pro golfer? You'll have the strength to drive the ball literally wherever you want and even the smallest guys can generate power, so a small frame wouldn't look too terribly out of place.

You'd have to work on form for chip shots and stuff, but that can be done. Or maybe just a pro long-baller.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:08 AM
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But I can still be hurt and the other boxer with good form and training could beat the crap out of me.


But that assumes you won't ever have "good form and training". Just because you're super-strong doesn't mean you can't also learn form. And you'd have an advantage over every other athlete, because you wouldn't have to spend hours a day in pure strength training - you could devote all that time and effort to skill development.

I suppose it would depend heavily on when in your life you learn this about yourself. Trying to break into the NFL would require you to start early, getting on your high school team, and eventually a college team, to be drafted. It's very unlikely that any team would even look at a middle-aged guy who just shows up looking for a try-out, even if he could lift a few thousand pounds.

Other, more individual sports might be easier to break into. What are the requirements for becoming a professional golfer?
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:35 AM
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Plus, unless you LOOK like a bodybuilder, you won't draw an audience.
You will if you can casually press Andre-The-Giant-sized guys over your head.
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:53 AM
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You will if you can casually press Andre-The-Giant-sized guys over your head.
Also, I said that the gimmick would run its course fairly quickly. Hence the importance of saving money. I think it would be a matter of taking a year's leave of absence from my job (after training). A couple of times around the horn as a special attraction, and back to my day job.
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Old 04-17-2019, 02:31 PM
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But that assumes you won't ever have "good form and training". Just because you're super-strong doesn't mean you can't also learn form.
Actually I have boxed and at least personally I can't/couldn't learn good form or technique.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:47 PM
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You can't do any true combat sports because if you're superhumanly strong even a pulled punch will probably kill a guy.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:15 PM
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:35 PM
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The only strength related thing that I can think of that would make as much money as my current salary would be as a professional athlete, and with my balding droopy over weight physique, it would certainly raise eyebrows that I can throw around 300 lb behemoths as a football player. The best I can probably do is keep my day job, and then spend the evenings roaming bars and winning bar bets to pick up some extra cash.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:27 PM
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I admit that my first thought also was "lifting safes for fun and profit", but you have convinced me that crime is not the way to go. But what if I took that literally? Professional safe and other heavy object mover and installer?
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:37 PM
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I'm reminded of a bit in one of the Wild Cards novels (alien meddlers inflict superpowers on humans because they're too chicken to do it to themselves) in which someone's looking for an actual alien who's got super-strength; he goes to the dock where the guy works and he's told to "look for the guy who's not using a forklift."
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:56 PM
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:12 PM
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As a partial extension of another OP from a few years ago... Let's go with the following hypothetical - ignoring the actual scientific and and physical viability aspects of it:

1) You discover, somehow, that you have Jessica Jones/Bruce-Willis-Out-Of-That-Film style powers of enhanced physical strength. You are able to punch through sheets of steel and bend rebars with your bare hands. However, you are not invincible - bullets still hurt and you still get sick and age like normal people. And your epidermis is normal - so punching holes through walls will hurt and still make you bleed a lot. You have a normal external musculature - you don't look buff.

2) You also know that if people knew what you could do you would be the interest of all kinds of scientific and governmental organisations. You don't want to get kidnapped by shady military research type folks (and want to protect your loved ones from them), so you have decided to keep your powers on the down-low.

3) However, being hella-strong must count for something. We can make this work for us, we just have to be clever and careful about how we do so...

So, you want to use these powers for personal advantage, but not in such a way that other people could clock that you have them. And you are not particularly bothered by ethics. What now?

A few ideas off the top of my head, along with problems associated with them...

a) Attend some kind of illegal gambling event. Beat the shit out of people, take money and leave. Sounds great, but they'd have armed people at these events - and superhuman strength is great until you have a bunch of people shooting at you from all angles. Plus, being strong doesn't necessarily mean you'd be good in a fist-fight, although I'd assume that being superhumanly strong might offset lack of skill to some extent.

b) Wear a mask and rob banks. Use brute force to smash your way into cash stores and make away with it. Same problems as above.

c) Become a professional sport fighter (boxing, UFC, whatever..). In whatever weight category you were in you would win, but experts would pretty quickly spot that you were winning without good technique or any sort of training. (or maybe you wouldn't, as per #2) - big questions would be asked publicly and quickly.

d) Randomly mug people for the change they have in their wallet. Okay, but most people could do that with a weapon anyway - superhuman strength doesn't add much more advantage, and this isn't really much profit - most people don't walk around with much cash these days.

So far, I'm leaning towards concluding that suddenly acquiring superhuman strength would not lead to any immediate risk-free material benefits - but happy to be proven wrong.

(And no, I don't need an answer fast )

MrLee
Well, if you go the crime route, I think one thing folks are missing is...armor. One reason why humans don't wear that much armor is that the stuff is heavy. If you have an issue with your skin, but you have the strength, including the tensile strength in your bones to support hundreds or thousands of pounds, you could build some fairly impressive and, for all intents and purposes impervious armor. Sure, someone with an RPG or the like could probably take you down, but who is going to bring that to stop a bank robbery? They would assume whatever armor you had would have the same constraints as any armor a human could wear, at least initially. Plus, it would presumably protect your identity. I'd advise no cape though (see Incredibles for details)…

If it were me though, and this happened right now, at my current stage in life? Well, there wouldn't be that much I could do. Personally, I'd probably contact some people I know who work in the labs, bank on my reputation and friendship to set up some demonstrations, and then set myself up as a private consultant for testing. I could make bank with that, if I could get the right people involved, and I have several ideas there. First though I'm thinking I'd take one of those million dollar challenges to demonstrate paranormal powers. Again, I think you could swing that, especially since you get to work with them to set the conditions. Say something like 'I will demonstrate my paranormal psychic powers to allow my body to lift this car with one hand. You can test the car by weighing it, and put on any sensors or whatever measuring equipment you like, you can film it, but I want a 3rd party there as well so you don't try and weasel out when I do it. You will get all rights to the video of it to put out on any channel you like, as long as your check clears. Deal?'. I think I could make an easy million there, then with my consultant gig at the labs I would be set. It would, perhaps, suck to be a test subject, but for enough money I'd do it, especially with the right contract. I don't think I need to worry much about a shadowy government kidnapping me for secret experiments if I'm already known and on the books to do this stuff in the open. The US government would pay a lot for this...and THEY would protect me from those nasty Russia or Chinese spies trying to snag me.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:13 PM
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Do you live somewhere net electric metering is popular? Spread the word that you have a device THEY don't want the public to know about! A way to adjust home meters so they think they're feeding hundreds of kilowatts back to the power company! For just fifty dollars once a month you'll come to people's houses and reduce their electric bill to NOTHING! Advertise anywhere you've seen adds for cable descramblers. Use lots of technical terms. The device is actually a generator, powered by your awesome superstrength, and that's why you have to keep coming back every month.

Scuplture kidnapping! Find some valuable object that's left out in public because no one could take it away without a forklift. In the dead of night, wearing a mask, move it a few feet. Leave a note tucked underneath promising not to do it again if a bag of small unmarked bills is left in a suitable difficult-to-monitor location.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:22 PM
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I would literally shoplift.
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Old 04-18-2019, 03:27 AM
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You can't do any true combat sports because if you're superhumanly strong even a pulled punch will probably kill a guy.
This is what I was going to say at all the mentions of boxing. If a full strength punch goes through steel, I’m thinking in a boxing ring that there would be a very fine line between a KO punch, and an inst-kill punch.

Worlds Strongest Man comps seemed an obvious avenue, but upon research doesn’t appear to actually pay all that well. The biggest winners cheque is apparently ~$70k for the Arnold Strongman event. So presum8ng the other events are quite a bit less, I suppose you could still earn a couple of hundred k a year for what realistically would be a few days work. So not stupid rich but pretty comfortable, with plenty of spare time. But even here there’d no doubt be questions about how a middle aged overweight guy was easily beating absolute hulks like Eddie Hall or Bjornson.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:17 AM
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Well, if you go the crime route, I think one thing folks are missing is...armor. One reason why humans don't wear that much armor is that the stuff is heavy. If you have an issue with your skin, but you have the strength, including the tensile strength in your bones to support hundreds or thousands of pounds, you could build some fairly impressive and, for all intents and purposes impervious armor. Sure, someone with an RPG or the like could probably take you down, but who is going to bring that to stop a bank robbery? They would assume whatever armor you had would have the same constraints as any armor a human could wear, at least initially. Plus, it would presumably protect your identity. I'd advise no cape though (see Incredibles for details)…
If the police figure out that shooting you is ineffective, eventually they'll resort to pepper spray and tasers to establish control over you and enable them to remove your armor. The only way brute strength will allow you to live a life of crime (in the long run) is if you use it to commit crimes and escape quickly before anyone can intervene or ascertain your identity.
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:02 AM
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Squeeze carbon into diamonds, maybe.

.
"We can't accept this diamond -- it's got fingerprints stamped into it.

Besides, it's completely without provenance."







In the movie The Gladiator (based on the Philip Wylie novel "Gladiator", which is pretty generally believed to have been one of the biggest influences on the creation of Superman), the hero, super-powered Hugo Kipp (Hugo Danner in the book), takes to exhibition and competition wrestling to make money. In the novel, he makes money as a professional wrestler and as a strongman.

You could make money those ways, but, I suspect, not BIG money. Maybe you could if you managed your career right.



(Ironically, although the novel was straight science fiction drama, the movie was a comedy, starring Joe E. Brown, and came out two months after the comic Superman hit the newsstands.)
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:03 AM
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What about being a professional cyclist? Like competing in the Tour De France? I admit I'm more than 100% ignorant to sport biking, but my dumb logic says that if superhuman strength translates to leg strength as well, you could just power pedal the whole thing, no? You wouldn't even need that much stamina because one or two leg pumps would keep you going forever, even up mountains
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:31 AM
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What about being a professional cyclist? Like competing in the Tour De France? I admit I'm more than 100% ignorant to sport biking, but my dumb logic says that if superhuman strength translates to leg strength as well, you could just power pedal the whole thing, no? You wouldn't even need that much stamina because one or two leg pumps would keep you going forever, even up mountains
Seems to me that delivering enough power to propel yourself over a mountain in just one or two pumps would cause your bicycle to explode under you like an IED.
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:59 AM
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Easy...I'll become a magician. Bending coins and steel bars, levitating cars on my finger tips etc.

No one will ever think I'm actually lifting cars, so I must be a good illusionist.
I like this.
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:01 AM
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Seems to me that delivering enough power to propel yourself over a mountain in just one or two pumps would cause your bicycle to explode under you like an IED.
I didn't mean literally two pumps to go over a mountain, but rather your stamina wouldn't be as much of an issue because the strength of your pedals would keep you going
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Old 04-18-2019, 03:37 PM
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I'd avoid the shadowy research labs by going straight to the well-lit and transparent labs. If that mysterious super-strong guy that's being studied by Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, the National Institute for Health, and the Mayo Clinic and is talked about in all of the news sources disappears, people are going to want to know why.
This (except in my case, it'll probably be the Weizmann Institute, Sheba Medical Center and Tel Aviv University). And it won't just be for protection, either: maybe they could use what they learn from my condition to cure cancer, or fix spinal injuries, or something else; and if the military wanted to use me to make super-soldiers, good for them. I have no problem with that. I'll be knowledge, and knowledge is meant to be shared.

As for profit, I'll just make sure that any medical facility that studies me gives me a share of any resulting patents. It'll be a tricky contract, but I know some good lawyers.
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Old 04-18-2019, 03:47 PM
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What about launching stuff into space?
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:02 PM
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Wait! Vera Ellen did something other than White Christmas?
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:10 PM
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You know that jar of spaghetti sauce that your wife wants to use and can't get the lid to shift...

Sure it will only get you a smile and a thank you but your secret will remain safe.
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:48 AM
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Quoth kopek:

I don't remember the name but there was a wrestler way back when (late 60s/early 70s) who mastered the trick of having cinder blocks broken on him with a sledge hammer; he had quite a fair run for a number of years with the trick.
What? There's no trick to that, and it doesn't take any strength or skill at all. All you need is someone with good enough aim with a sledgehammer to hit a cinder block, and almost everyone has that. Physics professors do it all the time, usually while laying on a bed of nails.
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