A genie offers you the option to move to the 99th percentile in any one of the named areas. In no case do you become superhuman; rather, you instantly reach the pinnacle of potential achievement for a person of your size in that area. The magical increase is indefinite in duration–that is, you immediately improve, but unless you work at it, your new abilities will atrophy in time.
For purposes of this question, “strength” includes both brute power and running speed. “Coordination” comprises agility, reaction time, hand-eye coordination, balance, and proprioception. Senses includes sight, hearing, smell, taste, & touch, but not balance or proprioception.
Which option would you choose, and why? How would you utilize your improvements?
Senses, definitely. I don’t need to be an athelete right now, but I’d like to get rid of my glasses and get my young hearing back.
Coordination. I’m okay with needing glasses, and super-strength wouldn’t be particularly useful for me. But it would be nice to be less clumsy.
Strength includes running speed? You know, it’s funny. I spend untold hours running to improve my speed and endurance. You’d think I’d jump all over the chance to instantly become the fastest in the world - all the reward and none of the work. Still, it doesn’t entice me. I guess it’s because I’m so damn proud of my own accomplishments in the area, all paid for with litres of sweat, that I want to keep improving on my own. Not cheating.
I also lift weights, but I’d take Bruce Lee’s body in a heartbeat and not care one whit that I didn’t have to work to get there. Maybe because the weightlifting is about looking good, not succeeding or proving something.
I guess I’d choose coordination. I already have excellent vision and hearing, but peak agility, reaction speed and kinesthesis would let me be a real fucking ninja. And that’s by definition the coolest thing possible.
I’m torn between strength and co-ordination. I think I’d take co-ordination and keep working on the strength myself.
I’m a major nerd who’s finally found a physical pursuit I enjoy, and I’d love to have the co-ordination boost to overcome my ability to trip over the patterns in carpets. I’ve always been clumsy, and that’s a pain.
I already have sensitive skin, and an enhanced sense of touch would no doubt mean all my nerve endings, not just the useful fingery ones, and a pretty delicate sense of taste - I wouldn’t want those boosted up more even though I’d get better vision (mine’s awful) and hearing.
Coordination. I’ve found it relatively easy to gain strength and decidedly more difficult to become more coordinated.
I’d choose coordination since patience isn’t a choice. I’m a complete klutz and I’m constantly tripping over things and breaking things because I try to do everything too quickly. I’ve never met a thing with moving parts that I couldn’t accidentally destroy in under 5 minutes if I bring a tool near it. It’s so bad that my partner has forbidden me to touch any of his power tools or even use a chainsaw. I usually have so many bruises on my legs from banging into things that someone once asked if my partner kicked me a lot.
Definitely senses. I’m an artist, and my vision has been declining somewhat, plus at some point in the next few years I’ll probably have cataracts. My mother was also an artist, and for the last several years of her life she couldn’t do any art, because of problems with her sight.
Coordination. I’m a clumsy but ripped oaf, and I don’t mind occasionally using glasses.
Strength. I need glasses and my hearing isn’t the greatest, but I can live with that. I grew up as the skinny little kid and even now at 28 I’ve ‘filled in’ a bit, but I’m still fairly small, and my scrawny arms have always made me self-conscience(sp). So that’s my first thought. I could probably work to keep it, if it was given to me, but I’ve never had the will power to go and try and build myself up to it. (oh and by 99th percentile, can we assume that’s 99th percentile of average people and not everyone, I have no interest in looking like a body builder).
So yeah, I’d love to be bigger.
Senses. Get rid of my glasses and not have to constantly answer the question “What’s the smell?” with “What smell?” Sounds like a good deal.
Coordination. I love to dance already, so this would be like asking a streetball player if they’d like to be granted Michael Jordan’s skills. (Plus, I could do pen juggling. And juggling. And maybe, just maybe, bike riding.)
Definitely coordination. I’m already hypersensitive, and I don’t mind being physically weak, but better coordination would help me out a lot.
The thing is, while I’d normally choose the strength option, the others won’t fade for lack of use. If I became instantly strong, without lifestyle changes I’d end up back where I am before too long. I don’t see that happening with something like coordination or sense of taste.
Senses, without a second thought. Besides the fact that I’ve a slight hearing loss and I’m slightly myopic, it has to be great to be able to see the tiniest stars, smell the subtlest fragrances, have the palate of the finest gourmet, the more delicate sense of touch…One would get so much enjoyment from such a gift.
Strength and coordination aren’t even remotely in the same league.
Torn between strength and coordination (I can’t imagine super-senses being all that beneficial, would probably just end up so you could smell dog crap further away). I think I’d probably go with coordination; as Eonwe notes strength wouldn’t last. Come to think of it, gotta go with coordination for the potential it presents for the use of musical instruments.
I would go with coordination for sure. For one thing, when I dance it currently looks like someone is shooting at me with a pellet gun. For another, I look really good in black and could be a a very stealthy ninja.
Coordination seems like the best choice. I won’t be the first one to say that super senses would suck in what is already a cold (or hot), itchy, smelly, world. I don’t think that its beautiful places and moments would be much better in HD. Losing my dependence on contacts and glasses would be nice, but I continue…
Super strength is a no. I don’t feel the need to be the strong chick and spend my days in athletics or physical labor.
Coordination would allow me to get good at all the fun sports, like ninja-ing and capoeira and stage combat, and as a bonus I could probably bump up from “person who likes music, but too bad she’s such a spaz” to excellent amateur in an instrument or two. I’d even become a couple orders of magnitude more myopic for an excellent gift like that.
Since I had half of my left foot amputated, and since I have had a liver transplant and my abdominal muscles have been hacked up at leas three times through surgery, strength or coordination would either be a blessing (if they’d fix my present health defects) or a complete waste (if they wouldn’t). Coordination could mean I’d get my foot back; I could handle that. Strength would mean I’d get my abs back.
If the whatever-it-is-maguffin that performs this miracle would fix me, I’d go for one of them. Perception would be last on the list.
Strength is certainly where I have the most room for improvement (I’m probably currently at around the 3rd or 4th percentile), but at the same time, I’ve gotten enough used to being a weakling that it doesn’t bother me. So that’s last on my list.
On senses, meanwhile, I wouldn’t mind my hearing or sense of smell being better (especially not if I could further train to pull off some of the bloodhound stunts Richard Feynman was able to do, like being able to tell who had handled an object by smell), but on the other hand, my vision is easily corrected to normal, and I don’t mind wearing glasses at all.
Coordination is something of a mixed bag: Most of what coordination I have is conscious, rather than automatic as it seems to be for most people. That is to say, I have to think about what I’m doing, rather than just reacting. That’s a drawback in most normal situations, but it also means that I can adapt more easily to tasks most folks aren’t used to. So coordination could be a big boon for me, as long as it doesn’t diminish that existing ability I developed to compensate for lack of coordination.
On balance, I’d probably pick senses, but that could change depending on what precisely is entailed by each.