World's Fair

Superpowers: Also hereditary

Let’s start this off with a mini-meme. Do you, or anyone you know, have apparent “superpowers”?

This request is not as weird as it seems – let me explain.

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You see my wife has a superpower. And it’s awesome in its own mind bending way. Best of all (and the reason why it’s coming to mind recently), is that it appears that this same superpower has been passed on to my daughter. It’s like it’s hereditary or something, but whether this is an effect of genetics or environment, or (as the case may be) both, has yet to be determined.

So what is Kate’s superpower? (Pause for dramatic effect)

It’s the ability to know the real name of anyone you care to point at on the television. I tell you it’s freaking amazing, although not something you could join the Xmen with (maybe the Mystery Men though).

Seriously, I discovered this way back, whilst watching something like “Facts of Life” and pointing indiscriminately at pretty much every one on screen. She would know everyone – it was eery. Then we’d move on to a whole bunch of other shows, and it was the same freaking effect. It was like she was Wonder Woman, and I was zinging her with these questions, “Who’s the little boy in Who’s the Boss”, and she would fire right back with her magic bracelets, “Danny Pintauro!”

Anyway, a few weeks ago, we noticed my daughter Hannah doing something similar with a movie we were watching.

“That girl looks familiar – wasn’t she in this other show?”

“Oh yes, that’s so and so – she’s was in this and that movie…”

She’s only 6 though – so who knows how awesome her powers will get in the future.

Oddly enough, for me (sadly with no superpowers), it does get me thinking about the concept of things like genetic determinism (i.e how folks may be hard wired in a certain way), and certainly how easy it would be to fall into the trap of thinking that way (especially in light of a comments in the GAP Ad Celebrity post).

Anyhow, back to the meme. Anyone else has a superpower they care to share? No judgement here, as clearly the bar has been set pretty low (aka “knowing the real name of the boy in Who’s the Boss” – even though that sounds pretty awesome to me).

Comments

  1. #1 Holly
    August 18, 2008

    I make the best oatmeal raisin cookies, always from scratch, and always without the use of measuring utensils. I’ve been told that this is a superpower, and that I should fight crime with it. If I could get medical benefits from this line of work, then I’d be so in.

  2. #2 Brandon
    August 18, 2008

    I can rip an apple in half. The same is true for peaches, plums, and nectarines. I’d like to think that this could come in handy some day.

  3. #3 Cam
    August 18, 2008

    I am completely immune from that brain freeze thing. My kids, however, are not (or not yet). Just so that everyone feels better, I’m completely ready to do my duty for the day when someone has to eat ice cream really fast in order to save the world from total destruction.

  4. #4 Paul
    August 18, 2008

    My superpower, as I have lamented at work during a recent bout with a virus, is the ability to blow my nose in a extremely loud manner. I’ve been compared with trumpets and geese…

  5. #5 Timon
    August 18, 2008

    I kinda fold my toes over themselves when I go to sleep. Specifically, it’s market piggy over stay-home piggy and wee-wee-wee piggy over had-none piggy on each foot. (Perhaps this is becoming to personal…) The weird thing is that when I was in my early 20s I learned that his weird digital origami superpower actually comes directly from my father, who has done the same thing his entire life. It almost makes up for the duck-walk I also inherited from him.

  6. #6 qetzal
    August 18, 2008

    I have no superpowers, but my wife has one that’s totally awesome and useful. She can make companies give her what she wants.

    She made Dell give her a new, better laptop when the old one had problems. Then she made them give her an even better one when that one had problems.

    She made Comcast give us nine months of free cable and reimburse us for cleaning expenses when their contract installer made a huge mess.

    She made Goodyear give us a new engine for our car when they forgot to change the oil filter and the engine later seized.

    That, my friends, is one awesome superpower. Now, if only I can figure out how to market her services….

  7. #7 skyotter
    August 18, 2008

    i have a lame super-power, possibly the lamest: immunity to other super-powers. true story. a guy tried to set me on fire with his mind the other day, and it didn’t work

  8. #8 Keith B
    August 18, 2008

    I have two superpowers:

    1) The ability to reach things off of high shelves (6’7″), and…

    2) The ability to somewhat easily disassemble and reassemble simple to halfway complicated electronics and hardware whilst retaining their complete functionality, all without reading instruction manuals or having prior training. Ich bin magisch wie das, yo.

  9. #9 chezjake
    August 18, 2008

    My wife has what I call a “phonographic memory.” Not only can she recall verbatim almost any significant conversation she’s ever had, she can also hear a song once on the radio and sit down and write out the entire lyrics, melody, and chords for guitar.

    I share Keith’s disassembly/assembly gift, but have always regarded it as a useful but not unusual ability.

  10. #10 Dave S.
    August 18, 2008

    My superpower: the ability to resist doing stupid things despite really wanting to do them. For example, I wanted to respond to your meme with the following:

    You mean either than being totally awesome? Well, then I’d have to say kickin’ ass and showing what’s what.

    Oh, and modesty, definitely modesty.

    But I didn’t! Point Dave.

  11. #11 Joseph Hewitt
    August 18, 2008

    I have two superpowers: dog charisma, and the ability to identify giant robot cartoons from a two second clip that doesn’t need to show the robots or even any characters. My wife has the brainfreeze immunity thing.

  12. #12 Stephanie C.
    August 19, 2008

    My ex boyfriend had two superpowers:

    1 – Correctly guessing the temperature within 1 or 2 degrees
    2 – Correctly guessing the time within 1 or 2 minutes

    I tested him on both, when we’d been away from clocks or thermometers for hours. It was uncanny. He was never very far off at all. We’d have been walking and hanging out aimlessly all night, I’d ask him what time it was, he’d think and say “9:32″. And it would be, like 9:33. This was so cool.

  13. #13 Mikaela K.
    August 19, 2008

    I have inherited from my father the ability to adjust my ears to pressure changes by “popping” my ear drums. We never get “blocked ears” in aeroplanes etc, which is actually really useful.

    I am also able to visibly wiggle my ears both horizontally and vertically, and to control many of the small muscles along the scull. When I hear a loud noise or try to concentrate on hearing something that’s barely audible, I automatically perk my ears like a dog. My husband considers this extremely weird.

  14. #14 Despard
    August 19, 2008

    My superpower involves being perfectly able to make my way through life despite apparently having no frontal lobes. It has been remarked upon by my mother and successive girlfriends that planning is not my strong point. I will generally just do stuff rather than thinking it through, and it appears to work.

    So far, anyway…

  15. #15 tony
    August 19, 2008

    Other than ‘no brainfreeze’ – which appears to be more common that I thought (there will be a fight in the line for ‘ice cream eaters to save the world’) I only have very annoying superpowers.

    I tap, with strange and compelling counterpunctual rythms to any sounds I hear — the windshield wipers, a jingle on an ad, someone walking on tile with heals… it drives my wife to the point of insanity (perhaps beyone?)

    I snore – with a vehemence and volume previously reserved for large herbivores. I (apparently) also snore while my eyes are open.

    Lastly, and perhaps in self defense for the previous, I can sleep though anything. (A car once left the major highway in front of our house, and smashed very noisily into three parked vehicles – ending on the roof of another right outside our door, and right under my bedroom) Totally oblivious.

  16. #16 Zach Miller
    August 19, 2008

    If you give me an object, I can balance it on two fingers very quickly. That is, I can find its center of gravity without much effort. Yay! I’m also very good (but not ridiculously good) at Guitar Hero.

  17. #17 G Felis
    August 19, 2008

    I am blessed with Fallacy Sense. It’s like “Spidey Sense,” but instead of warning me of danger, it alerts me to logical and evidentiary flaws in arguments. I try to use my power for good, but pseudoscientists and religious believers seem to think I’m some sort of supervillain.

    But I’ll show them. I’ll show them ALL! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  18. #18 GAC
    August 19, 2008

    Hmm …

    I can hear very high pitches (the screens of some TVs can be very loud to me). Unfortunately there’s an automatic downside in that I’m very sensitive to sudden sounds. Also, my auditory attention isn’t always good — I can have difficulty filtering noise.

    Also, though I have terrible unaided vision, my eyes can still be corrected to 20/15 (Ok, maybe not so impressive).

    I am also very talented at learning languages. Producing difficult sounds is usually not a difficulty for me — I am currently fluent in Spanish (and capable of speaking in a native-sounding accent with trills and all the proper lenitions) — and I am learning Mandarin Chinese, and have found the tones and the more difficult sounds (IMO, some of the odd sounds are much harder to master than the tonal system) and after only a year I am already somewhat conversational and can recognize a fair number of characters (though still not enough to read the average newspaper). The superpoweredness of it mostly centers around my affinity for producing odd sounds and internalizing the grammar, though — I don’t have anything to help me memorize vocabulary.

    Corrolary on the language talent (and maybe more superpowered), is a tendency to pick up local accents. On two trips to Northern Ireland, I found myself involuntarily beginning to use something like a Belfast dialect — not an easy dialect for an American to mimic even if you’re trying, especially with many of the diphthongs. Again, it was involuntary — I eventually had to make a conscious effort to retain my native accent in order to avoid embarrassment.

  19. #19 Max Paddington
    August 19, 2008

    My superpowers are of the disgusting sort. I can eat almost anything without becoming sick. Including huge quantities of raw meat, even meat that’s starting to go off. Oddly enough though I have a very low tolerance for alcohol and three beer is often enough to make me puke.

    I can also belch on command.

    On top of that I also have very strange hearing…. like the ability to be both immersed in conversation and hear things like a car pulling up or an animal call in the bush, though when too many people are talking at once it gets highly overwhelming and almost painful.

    Finally I also seem to be blessed with extremely strong jaws and teeth. I have been known to eat bone and I always chew the cartilage off of chicken bones. My friend thinks it’s highly disgusting.

    Perhaps I could be called “Hyena Man,” though I’m glad to say I have no interest in well-hung females.

  20. #20 Fernando Magyar
    August 19, 2008

    My ex boyfriend had two superpowers:

    1 – Correctly guessing the temperature within 1 or 2 degrees
    2 – Correctly guessing the time within 1 or 2 minutes

    I tested him on both, when we’d been away from clocks or thermometers for hours.

    Yeah, so can I, no, really. I also haven’t used an alarm clock for over a quarter of a century and I always wake up on time. However I’m willing to bet both your ex and I would quickly lose our powers were we to spend a week in a dark cave where we would completely lose contact with any daylight and our internal clocks would be reset to a new circadian rhythm.

  21. #21 Brendan
    August 19, 2008

    I can make frybread from scratch, with no measuring utensils. I have a feeling it may be hereditary, because frybread power is fairly common in my family. Also, I learn things really well. This makes unskilled people think I’m amazingly talented. It’s kinda cool, until someone with actual skill comes along.

  22. #22 Jared
    August 20, 2008

    I can read an entire science journal without falling asleep! I read five different publications on Candida albicans today, didn’t drift off once, either!

  23. #23 Epinephrine
    August 20, 2008

    My wife has the “identify every actor” gene, and also the “I can name songs from the opening milliseconds” gene.

    I have no particularly amazing abilities, though I can fall asleep very fast, can eat anything for breakfast, and can hold my breath for over 2 minutes. Ooh, and I have the fantastic power to be completely oblivious to women trying to pick me up.

  24. #24 Ugly In Pink
    August 20, 2008

    I can speed read with full comprehension. I can read a typical novel within 2 or so hours (sometimes less) and can do my law school reading on the train on the way to school and remember it well enough to participate in class. My classmates hate me.

  25. #25 Alan
    August 20, 2008

    Thanks to the superpower called “speech” I can find out (more or less) what is actually going on in peoples heads. In fact, owing to the even more amazing power called “reading” I can even read the minds of people who have been dead for thousands of years. Alright, these are not superpowers from a human point of view – but they are from a gorilla’s – all they can do is guess.

  26. #26 minouette
    August 20, 2008

    I am a dog-charmer. Dogs universally like me, and always have, including service dogs and guard dogs. A German shepherd guard dog curled up contentedly at my feet, much to the shock and horror of his owner and trainer. Friends’ dogs are devoted to me. Many dogs have desperately tried to befriend me, with great urgency. It’s often rather annoying. I explain patiently that I am a cat person- but they won’t believe me.

    Also, I always know which way is north – even at sea. Must have magnetite in the brain.

  27. #27 kar?nca ya??
    September 2, 2008

    She made Dell give her a new, better laptop when the old one had problems. Then she made them give her an even better one when that one had problems.

  28. #28 freelance webmaster
    September 2, 2008

    Hello…

    Producing difficult sounds is usually not a difficulty for me — I am currently fluent in Spanish (and capable of speaking in a native-sounding accent with trills and all the proper lenitions) — and I am learning Mandarin Chinese, and have found the tones and the more difficult sounds (IMO, some of the odd sounds are much harder to master than the tonal system) and after only a year I am already somewhat conversational and can recognize a fair number of characters (though still not enough to read the average newspaper).

  29. #29 gö?üs büyütücü
    September 2, 2008

    Hi !

    It almost makes up for the duck-walk I also inherited from him.

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