Here’s a test for you. Take out a sheet of paper, a #2 pencil or your favorite paper mate pen and write down these words: Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth, and Touch. Now choose one. Choose your favorite. The one you like the most. Is it your nose because you love the aroma of roses. Is it your mouth that continually smiles and tastes the sweet tea? Is it the sight of a rainbow. Is it your skin so smooth and soft? Or, do you hate your ears because they stick out too far? Or, do you really hate your nose because it reminds you of a camel’s back?
Choose the one you’d agree to have disabled, removed so you could not see, could not hear, could not speak, could not smell or touch. Which one would you agree to do without? Place a big X over that word. Now, imagine what everyday life would be without that sense. No eyes seeing the moon, without your ears to hear your favorite words, without your nose to smell, minus your mouth to taste and smile, or without that sense of feeling you get when you scratch your back.
Which would it be? The sense of touch, smell, sight, taste or hearing?
Look at the animals; at your pet dog, your pussycat, the parakeet locked in the cage, your hamster running on the circular treadmill, at the horse in the barn, at your gold-fish tank. All of these creatures must be fed each day, provided with water, and a place to rest and play. The dog barks, the cat meows, the bird mimic your words, the hamster, well, I’ve never been around any, so I’m not aware of the sounds they make, and the goldfish no voice I assume. Every one of them has eyes, ears, a nose, a mouth or beak to eat with, and yes, that parakeet would not find the perch to stand on without that sense of touch.
Say something drastic happened to you. Perhaps a car wreck, a fist fight with a neighbor, the subway crashed, or you were in a train wreck. The flight to LA caught fire and had to land in the desert of New Mexico, a tornado tore the roof off your house, or an Alien broke through your back door demanding all five; eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and ability to feel the touch. They are needed by the aliens to replicate the likeness of humans. Imagine any kind of scenario that would remove one of those five elements. Choose the one you’d keep, choose the two you deem impossible to live without, the three or four most important ones to you. Or if you’re lucky, the Alien would only demand one be removed from you. Your choice, and then he’d go to your neighbors home.
Which would it be?
No doubt, you’ve seen a blind person navigating the street with a white stick he uses to strike across the path in front that he cannot see. You stop and talk, and his eyes appear to be looking out into space. He hears you wink and the honks of vehicles. He can hear the click of the red light changing to green. He can smell your perfume and is able to talk back to you. He just can’t see you. He can touch the shape of your face, feeling the soft smooth or the rough, wrinkled hands. Would you willingly give the alien your eyes, if you could keep the other four, or beg or bargain with him to choose something else?
How about the person who’s born deaf, the veteran who lost his ears, or the aged man who operated loud, noisy machinery most of his life without ear muffs, slowly losing that ability to clearly understand words spoken in a restaurant or a small room where the sounds vibrate off the smooth walls. That’s my dilemma. Yes, there are hearing aids that magnify sounds, but it’s still not as those ears were designed to operate. No longer can I hear a pin drop. I could learn to read lips. I could learn sign language. Sure, when watching TV, I can choose closed captioning. Spending an evening out at the theater is useless. Would you give the Alien your ears?
The two nostrils of your nose enable you to smell the rose or choose which perfume you’d like best. You can inhale the aroma steaming off the dinner plate. And, also those smells you find visiting a farmers outhouse. Put a clothespin over your nostrils, and your mouth is forced open to breathe in the fresh air. Okay, Alien, you can have the nose. I can still breathe and smelling a rose is no big thing to me, but would the shape of my nose still be there? Huh? Would you enjoy looking in the mirror and see just smooth skin between your cheekbones?
Have you ever seen a person without a mouth? Just a continuation of the skin from the nose to chin? Nope. No doubt you’ve seen various shapes to the upper or lower lips. The mouth provides us the ability to smile exposing the white teeth. It can grin, and cause the lips to droop and the tongue to stick out when you wish to express your emotion to a friend you suddenly hate. With the mouth, you separate the two lips and with the teeth chew your food. The ability to eat and drink that coffee first thing in the morning would be removed. You exhale and breathe through those two separated lips. You taste that java and the roasted bar-b-que hot dog, and the, oooh, hot spicy jalapeno pepper. The words you speak are propelled out of your mouth. Would you give it up? The Alien wants your mouth. Tough buddy, get one of those needles inserted into a vein to provide you with sustaining food.
Hey neighbor, the Alien greets you and holds you down and removes the sense of touch as you swap the fly. No big deal, or is it? Now, you wonder what’s going on as you walk barefooted to the Living room and you can’t feel the difference between soft carpet and the hard slippery ceramic tile you so carefully placed together. You raise your hand against the wall to help your balance, hearing a thug. Your fingers do not sense the difference between cotton fleece or sandpaper, the hot pan or ice cubes. You want to operate the remote that your hand is holding and you’ve got to look to see if it’s really in your hand. You turn on the water faucet not knowing when the water is cold or blistering hot. You spend some time outside breathing in the steaming hot 105-degree afternoon wondering why the sweat is pouring off your forehead. You go to scratch the itching back but, did your hand reach the spot. You lay down in bed and pull the covers over. You see it over your shoulder, but you don’t feel the warmth and comfort. You jump into the pool and see it splash, but can not sense the touch of the cool water surrounding you.
Unlike the others, the sense of touch is without a single physical object like the nose, your ears, eyes, or mouth. It’s not confined to just your fingertips, the skin of your cheeks feeling the raindrops, or your ankles being cooled in the rushing waters of the creek.
“Nope, sorry,” the Alien says, “but we’re going to disable all those itty bitty nerves at the roots so we can finish our project. We’re taking that sense of touch, as you did not choose one of the others.?”