Fillyjonk, Friday Fluff

Friday Fluff: What’s your tiny superpower?

In Kate’s post asking for volunteers to help out with the fat rights movement, Mary wrote:

If you need someone to make phone calls, it’s a superpower I have to charm people on the phone. I can charm people with severe paranoia to some in to see me and I can charm frustrated family members whom I can’t provide information to because of confidentiality.

In the children’s book Just Grace, the main character has a similar ability:

It’s not a jump-over-buildings, see-through-people’s-clothes, or lift-a-train-over-my-head one…My power is that I can always tell when someone is unhappy, even if that person is pretending to be happy and is a really good actor.

A recent issue of Funny Times (which, seriously, is all that keeps me sane sometimes) even featured a cartoon that stated “My friend has a tiny superpower: He can always find James Taylor on the radio.”

Tiny superpowers abound. You have one, though you might not know it. Maybe you can always find a parking spot, or call a friend at just the right time, or pipe a perfect frosting rose. What can you do that seems a little bit magic?

152 thoughts on “Friday Fluff: What’s your tiny superpower?”

  1. I have the tiny superpower that nobody wants: Supersmell. (I don’t mean that I smell bad but that my sense of smell is weirdly acute.) If I had to have a supersense, I would not have chosen smell for myself. In one office I worked in, I knew exactly when a co-worker ill-disposed to showering would walk in to the building. I could smell him that far away.

    I can smell someone smoking a cigarette two cars ahead of me or detect if someone was in a smoky bar a week ago. Needless to say, perfumes and most other fragrant-type products are right out. :)

    I think that perhaps in another time I could have been a food-sniffer for royalty or something. Now, I just spend a lot of my waking hours trying to keep myself from wrinkling my nose at some new smell-assault.

  2. I can find $3USD worth of good, crowd pleasing songs in any jukebox in any bar, no matter how barren and hopeless it appears.

  3. Nicole, do you have poor eyesight? I have a really keen sense of smell too, though I think not as keen as yours, and I’ve always half-joked that it’s because my eyesight is so bad.

    Even with its downfalls, I’m not sure the opposite is preferable. My mom actually lost her sense of smell a few years ago due to a knock on the head, and oh my god she whined INSUFFERABLY about it. She even wrote an article about how much it sucked not to be able to smell. And you know, I was sick of hearing about it, but I would hate to lose my sense of smell entirely too — I would feel so disoriented. (She got it back.)

  4. I can remember dates ridiculously well. I’m talking, like, I can remember the exact date I met my oldest daughter’s biological father (May 13, 1989). Things that seem absolutely asinine for other people to remember just stick in my head for some reason. Ask me what I did yesterday, and I’ll have trouble telling you. But ask me something like what I said above, and I’ll be able to give you an exact date, day of the week, and possibly even the time!

    (Yes, I’m weird. It’s a family trait. ;) )

  5. My cousin Danny, who is otherwise neurotypical, can do the autistic savant thing where he can tell you the day of the week of any date you give him. We get a big kick out of making him perform. At Thanksgiving he was telling the story of proposing to his wife, and everybody interrupted to say “but Danny, what DAY was it?”

  6. I can remember strings of numbers I haven’t needed or seen in years – like the license plate number of my mother’s 1993 Ford Tempo, or our phone number when I was a preschooler. I don’t try to remember them; they just went into my head years ago and never left.

  7. I can remember the lyrics of every song I’ve heard more than a few times for just about ever. Also, commercial jingles, lines of dialogue from movies, and lines of poetry I love…”In the room the women come and go/Talking of Michelangelo”

    This is an especially unfortunate trait for anyone I’ve dated.

    Okay, maybe that’s me and everybody.

    More than anything, though, I’m an exceptionally good reader of blog comments. And Shapely Prose has the best :)

  8. I can learn song lyrics off ridiculously fast. If I like a song and pay attention to it, I’ll usually have the chorus down by the first or second time I’ve heard it. Listen to it more than ten times in a row, and I will have that whole fucker memorized. I can’t help it, it just happens! I have no idea when it will come in handy though : (

  9. riddlebiddle, that’s mine too (I realized I forgot to put it in the post)! For stuff that’s vocalized rather than read silently, I can also remember the sound — so, for instance, I can recite Where The Wild Things Are with the exact same inflection my mother used to read it to me. This is useful for reciting comedy sketches, as Sweet Machine could attest.

    Dani, I think it’s awesome that you remember your childhood phone number. Along those lines, I still remember my high school boyfriend’s Social Security number, even though I have no conceivable (legal) use for it.

  10. I’ll have to think about mine for a bit, but my boyfriend has a good one.

    He can remember ages/DOB/DOD of anyone ever.

    Pretty much any celebrity that has ever lived, he can tell you when they were born and when they died (if they have… he’s not psychic) and also everyone he’s ever met who has given him this information, relatives, friends, coworkers, etc.

    It’s a really fun game to name people and ask when they were born/died.

  11. I can wake up sans alarm clock, regardless of how much sleep I’ve had (or how much I’ve had to drink). I think this might come bundled with my more general Morning Person Superpower.

  12. I wish I had Morning Person Superpower.

    Lexy, your boyfriend is a savant! Mine knows the ham radio prefixes for every country and political entity, a fact of which I am absurdly proud even though nobody knows what the hell I’m talking about when I make him show it off.

  13. I have the uncanny ability to think about an episode of an old tv show and the next time I watch that show, it’s that episode. Also works with old songs on the radio. (Old=eighties, sorry if that is new to anyone out there).

  14. riddlebiddle, that happens to be my tiny superpower as well. And it seems my lovely autistic son has inherited it from both my husband and myself.

    My husbands other tiny superpower is that he can make a string of insanely strange puns. He, his brothers and his father can hang out for 10 mins and after just that little bit of time I threaten to put a cap on how many bad puns they can make in an hour because it just gets bad. Although, secretly, I love it because it keeps me entertained when everyone is together.

  15. My superpower is packing. I can pack a suitcase for a trip and fit everything in just so. I can also pick out the exact right size tupperware for leftovers so that the leftovers all fit.

  16. I can pretty much spell any word I’ve ever seen written once. (Though some still mess me up. I have to force myself to remember there are two m’s in accommodate every time I write it.)

    However, I need to write the word to guarantee accuracy. When I try to spell out loud, the wires sometimes get crossed, and I say a letter even if I don’t mean it, or don’t say one I do mean. I’m going to be competing in an adult spelling bee in a couple weeks, and this scares the shit out of me. I am still smarting from losing a spelling bee in fifth grade because I spelled “aggressive” with one g, even though I KNEW IT HAD TWO. I KNEW THE FUCKING CHEER! But only one g came out of my mouth. Sigh.

  17. My superpower is passing as a twelve-year-old (at the age of thirty, mind you). As a result, I’m quite adept at fending off lecherous old men.

  18. My superpower…eh. I dunno that it’s a superpower more than the fact that I watch WAY too much reality tv, but for certain shows I can recite the contestants from past seasons. This applies to American Idol, Americas Next Top Model, Project Runway…yeah. Shows like that. I can tell you what they sang, what they sewed…

    Cripes. I need a life. :-D

  19. Kate, you NEED to get out of my head. “Accommodate” is my stumbling block too! I only even knew it was right just now because Firefox didn’t underline it. I also have trouble with “necessary,” but only when hand-writing it, not when typing. Oh, and “embarrass” all the time.

    I used to fuck up “independence,” but then my mom told me about a poem she wrote in school that went “Lafayette was one from France / Who helped us win our indepen-dance.” If she didn’t say it in such a silly tone (see above about remembering inflection) it might not have helped, but the tone made it obvious that “indepen-dance” was NOT correct.

    Okay, sorry about the spelling hijack!

  20. Cripes. I need a life.

    Life nothing, you need a snarky recap blog. You could become the next internet phenomenon.

  21. FJ, I don’t have trouble remembering “necessary” anymore, but I did for a long time — that and “disappoint.” Had to say “ONE C” and “ONE S” to myself many times before those sunk in. And “embarrass” isn’t on the order of “accommodate” for me, but yeah, it does still hang me up on occasion.

    The one I’m working on now is “Ruettimann.”

  22. I only discovered my problem with “necessary” because I was writing it on student papers so often — frequently wrong. That was embaRrassing.

  23. Miranda- I can do the thing with the radio, too!

    But even more tiny superpowerfully, I will think about calling someone (usually my mom, a close friend, or the human boy), and they will call me within seconds of my thought. This happens every day, for the most part. I think it is genetic, or something, b/c when I call my mom, she often says, “OMG! I was just about to call YOU!”

  24. My spelling problem is recommendation. For some reason I just really, really want there to be 2 c’s and 1 m.

  25. Hmm..I’ll have to think on that. But my dad has one.

    You can give him any longitute and lattitude coordinates and he can tell you what location you are referring to, anywhere in the world. He may not always know the closest city, but he’ll know the country for sure and usually about where in the country. (Like, “Well that would be the very northeast tip of Tanzania…” or where about in the ocean if you’ve tried to trick him…) Used to amaze me as a kid – he would be in another room and I would sit at our dining room table, spin the globe and just put my finger down at random and then yell out the coordinates. He was NEVER wrong!

  26. Kristin: THAT’S the one, not “necessary”! I knew “necessary” didn’t sound quite right. “Recommend” is what I kept writing on student papers and putting too many Cs in.

    Man, fuck double letters.

    (Usually my spelling is a point of pride, so I get really overwrought about the things I have persistent trouble with.)

    luckyliz, I am totally in awe of your dad.

  27. My tiny superpower is that I have a very detailed and strong visual memory*. It tends to be strongest with places or numbers/lists of things. I work in publishing (on the production side of things) and can remember the ISBN-10s of most of the booking our imprint has published in the last two years (I’ve been here 8 months). I did the same thing at my last job (though with book codes, since we didn’t work in ISBNs). My map reading and navigational abilities are quite good, even if I don’t have the map on hand (I can think about where I am and what I see on a map and turn it 3D in my mind and visualize where I would be going – though this may be really common and I just don’t know it:-). I was also that obnoxious kid in grade school that knew every President, every President’s wife, every vice-president, years of office, every monarch of England/UK, etc. To this day, I can still give a detailed explanation of apartments I lived in when I was five or pages of books I read when I was eight.

    As I said, this all may be more common than I realize…

    *This delightful superpower comes with a bizarre curse, though: I am terrible at remembering people’s faces (so much for the visual memory, eh), especially if I haven’t known them well. After a couple of years of not seeing someone, I wouldn’t recognize them if they came up to me and shook my hand.

    I also tend to hid my superpower when talking to people, because I find that my ability to remember really specific things can bother them.

  28. Oh! I’ve got mine. I can almost annoyingly remember my schedule and that of anyone else I happen to hear.

    Never in my life have I kept a date book, but I could pack my schedule to be in 20 different places each day and always remember where and when I have to be, no matter how far in advance.

    And when I hear other people talk about needing to be somewhere, if they bring it up again, I can tell them the when and where instantly.

  29. Oh I thought of mine!

    I have a super acute sense of direction. I am 99.9% of the time aware of North, I can get anywhere in my city with an address (I may not get there in the most efficient way and I might think I can turn the wrong way on a one way street but I can get there) And when I vacation it usually only takes a couple of days to beome comfortable with my location.

    I link this to being spatially oriented, and I think it contasts nicely with my boyfriend’s time orientation. Together we will fold the time/space continuum, I’m sure of this.

  30. Once I described my tiny superpower to a friend who I was giving directions to as “I’m like f-ing Yahoo Maps yo’ “

  31. My tiny superpower has to do with sewing (I think it might actually be two powers there). I can look at a piece of fabric and know what pattern I have at home that will make that fabric sing (I’ve done this with fabric that a friend thought was fugly and the blouse turned out gorgeous and she loved it). The related power for that one is that I can have a top in some color and need matching or coordinating slacks, and I don’t have to take the top with me to match colors. I’ve done that a lot with pants I have too, I’ll buy the fabric to make them and then later on find the perfect fabric for a top to match, all without having anything but my memory of the color on which to rely. The outfit I made for my son’s wedding is a case in point: I bought the fabric for the top online and went to Hancock Fabrics for the pants fabric and forgot to take a sample of the top’s fabric with me (I think I matched them pretty well, you can see it at my flickr site (link) if you’re interested.

  32. Haha, lexy, when you figure out the space/time continuum thing, let me know! There’s a few people I’d love to go back in time and give a swift kick to!

  33. Eve – my superpower is packing too, though my specialty is packing things into a car for a trip. When I moved to a city 1000 miles away for my first “real” job, I somehow managed to fit everything I owned – futon & frame, dining room table and chairs, boxes and boxes of books, clothes, photo albums, knick-knacks, you name it – into the back of a small pickup truck. There was hardly 6 square inches of open space left. There’s something so fulfilling, almost, about finding just the right object for each space – like a 3d jigsaw puzzle.

    Sigh…what was that someone said earlier about needing a life? ;)

  34. My tiny superpower is being able to write fat-positive parodies of Broadway musicals. Really quickly, pretty accurately (in terms of meter), and usually I can make people laugh. I can give you the first 2-4 lines within 30 seconds of someone putting the old lyrics or melody in my head. I can produce the entire thing within a concentrated hour or so. 20 years ago I would have been in Fat Lip Readers Theater. Now I just go with it and write the rest of the script to match.

  35. I think my superpower is a freakish memory for the useless. When I worked on the yearbook in high school, I remembered everyone’s names, I remember song titles/artists and song lyrics super-easily (which is aggravating sometimes-even if its a song I hate, I seem to know the words!), I can recall exact dialog from tv shows and movies. The whole time I was studying for my PhD, I kept wishing I could dump out the useless stuff and put in the stuff I actually had to remember! Too bad memory doesn’t work that way!

  36. Even though I cannot draw a decent stick figure, I have an amazing ability to cut any kind of silhouette out of paper with startling accuracy.

    People *still* talk about my line-dancing paper-doll-turkeys. I’m just sayin’.

    I can also tell when milk is about to turn long before anyone else because of a faint Band-Aid-esque scent it gets. I was the official milk-tester for my mother throughout my childhood, though now I think it’s bad parenting to give your child possibly spoiled milk to drink *on purpose*.

  37. I can learn almost anything as quickly as I’m taught it, as long as I actually use it.

    I had never even heard of Adobe when I got hired for a small graphic design manager position. Yeah, I don’t get it either, but within a week, I knew the job.

    Within a week I was training a new person for my department. Within two months I had taken the department that was always months behind the others with the highest occurance of errors and turned it in the department that was two months ahead of the other departments with the lowest occurrance of errors.

    I’m also quick to adapt as things change and rarely make mistakes unless I was taught to do something incorrectly. Even then, I tend to self-correct because I can tell when things aren’t working.

    Of course, the balance to my super power is that when I suck at something, I REALLY suck at that thing. Job hunting is my kryptonite. Writing cover letters literally gives me hives.

  38. I have more than one, actually…

    -I have extremely acute hearing. I used to spook the student workers at my old job by answering questions from my office.

    -I can pack four adults, food and camping equipment for all, including backpacks, into a hatchback.

    -I can find my way *anywhere*, even in cities I’ve only just arrived in, without a map.

    -I also have a psychic bargain sense. I will show up the very day something I would like gets marked down from $120 to $12.

  39. The related power for that one is that I can have a top in some color and need matching or coordinating slacks, and I don’t have to take the top with me to match colors

    Ooh! I have that one, too! It used to blow my mom’s mind that I could pick something out in a store and say, “This would totally go with your ____,” and she would get it home and find that I was right, even if she’d been convinced the colors were off, and she’d have to return it.

    Oh, and my related tiny superpower is being able to pull the most interesting color out of a multi-colored print when choosing a solid top or bottom to go with it. I have gotten more “I NEVER would have thought to go with the yellow/green/purple/blue in that, but it’s perfect!” comments than you could shake a stick at.

  40. One of my superpowers is having a brain that is just filled to the brim with useless information and factoids. As Penn Jillette once described it, “Knowing too many things about too many things”. Nine times out of ten, if someone asks me a question about a subject, I can give them some sort of answer…always prefaced with “I could very well be pulling this right out of my ass, but as I recall…”

    I’m also excellent in a crisis. I’m really good at detaching and getting things done when everyone else around me is flipping out. I would be described as “the strong one”. Though it was sorely tested earlier this week in a particular situation–but I think that was because it’d been a while since I’ve had to summon up that power. I was a little rusty, but eventually snapped to. Doesn’t mean I didn’t cry in relief once it was resolved, however. Eeesh.

  41. I have the memory thing too. Selective, of course (can I remember my mobile phone number? Can I heck!), but song lyrics, poetry, whole chunks of books if they’re in rhyme (I think I can still recite The Lorax by heart).

    Recently I’ve realized that it also works with tunes. Classical as well, which surprised me. Haven’t yet tried it with a whole symphony, but at least for short pieces, if I listen to something more than about four or five times, I will get the notes stuck in my head. This is handy for playing things from memory, but kind of annoying if, like I am now, you’re trying to learn to actually read music, as you can only effectively practice on stuff you haven’t yet heard…otherwise you just memorize it rather than actually reading the notes!

    Also, i have this knack of getting an infinite amount of books (or it seems that way) into a finite number of bookcases. Don’t ask me how I do that.

  42. I can always make a perfect loaf of bread, whether I’m following a recipe or making it up.

    (I occasionally sacrifice a finger or a batch of cookies to the Kitchen Gods, but never bread)

  43. -I also have a psychic bargain sense. I will show up the very day something I would like gets marked down from $120 to $12.

    I want that! Along with Sniper’s superpower for finding Igigi dresses in 14/16 for $25.

    And Vesta, yep, totally automatic. In fact, if I DO think about it, it doesn’t translate. When I’m designing headers and shit, I have to try a million colors to figure out what works, because I’m still no good at saying, “This has too much blue/not enough yellow” in it. I just know it’s wrong, until it’s right.

    And even then, sometimes I just give up. I’m not terribly happy with how the current header goes with the rest of the template, but oh well.

  44. My tiny superpower is an innate sense of how computer software is set up. Even when I’ve never looked at a program or screen before I can usually figure out what the user is supposed to do. I’m great at clicking on buttons!

    Maybe I can read the minds of the people who set up computers? This may be related to the high school ability to understand what teachers were *really* asking on essay tests.

  45. I’m an excellent gift-giver. I always find something perfectly appropriate!
    Also, I learn names extremely quickly. Do one of those “go around the circle and have everyone say their name” games, and most times I can remember them all at the first pass.

  46. I can sense bullshit. I can’t always pinpoint it or determine why its bullshit, but I know its bullshit. I have a knack for sensing when someone is insincere or lying.

    The shrinks tell me this is a bad thing, child of an alcoholic, over sensitive, need for control, blah blah blah.

    They can bite me. I like my superpower, it has served me well and I’m keeping it. :)

  47. Nine times out of ten, if someone asks me a question about a subject, I can give them some sort of answer…always prefaced with “I could very well be pulling this right out of my ass, but as I recall…”

    I think the ability to make someone believe that you definitely know the right answer even if you have explicitly said that you could well be making it up is also a superpower. One that I have to my occasional detriment — like, my mom put something in a book once on the strength of my having told her it was true, without asking me for an independent source! And the interns this summer kept asking me things because I kept giving them answers, even though I frequently determined afterwards that my answers were not quite right (and they could have done the same if they’d asked Wikipedia instead of me).

    Basically, I have the superpower of plausibility.

  48. I have a vaguely creepy touch with animals. Wild, domestic, hostile, scared, injured, doesn’t matter. I can usually communicate my intentions to them with body language and touch, calm them, etc. It doesn’t always work — territorial dogs, for example, are very difficult to deal with, and oddly enough I have a hard time with parrots of any kind — but it works often enough that I am known for it in the family. I’ve done things that have amazed and/or scared the crap out of people watching. It even works on snakes, and with cats it is a genuine gift.

    I can make very convincing cat and crow noises, for all the good that will ever do me.

    I have a good direction sense, and a better-than-average sense of smell. These are wildly helpful. Especially since I live with a man who pretty much has neither.

    I can pick up any sort of crafty-type skill with uncanny swiftness. I don’t usually get VERY good at or learn in depth about any one thing, though, mostly I think because I pick things up so quickly, it makes it rewarding to hop around a lot. A jill-of-all-trades, mistress of none thing, as it were.

    Of course, if I were to list all the anti-powers I possess — seemingly simple things that I just cannot do — the list would be much longer and very humorous.

  49. My tiny superpowers:

    * Generally, I’m ahead of “the rush.” Go to dinner with me, and we’ll beat the crowd by at least five minutes. We can drink margaritas and laugh at the people still waiting to be seated. Hahahaha.

    * This might be experience or something, but I can walk into my classroom without a solid lesson plan and come up with something decent and informative as I write the “to-do” list on the board. Makes my life easier.

    * I’ve also got the spelling thing going on — though I also struggle with “accommodate” (thank goodness for Firefox spellcheck!), I usually just have to see a word to be able to spell it.

    * I have a bit of synaesthesia, so I strongly associate certain numbers with certain colors. While I can’t always remember the order of the numbers/colors in a phone number, I can always visualize the numbers/colors included — which helps me figure out the order eventually. (This is also a small Achilles’ heel.)

    * I can match up authors and literary eras, as well as literary eras and their general dates. Another (college) survival mechanism cum superpower.

    * People seem to open up to me soon after they meet me. Apparently I’m easy to talk to. *shrug* I think I’m sort of mean and overly defensive, but I guess not.

  50. Oh yeah! I can also make up songs about pretty much anything…you can just tell me what you want, and I can do it. It is a great party trick….

  51. People seem to open up to me soon after they meet me. Apparently I’m easy to talk to. *shrug* I think I’m sort of mean and overly defensive, but I guess not.

    This reminds me of another one I have. I’ve got the bizarre ability to draw children to me. I’m like some sort of warped Pied-Piper. But I’m not really a fan of kids.

    I’m an only child who was friends with a bunch of only children and had no younger cousins, so I had no exposure to little kids until I was in my pre-teens. I just can’t really tolerate the constant questions, the noise, the misbehaving…

    And yet, in a room of small children, they flock to me. The more I try to get them to leave me alone, or the more I enforce the rules, the more they want ME rather than anyone else.

  52. Although I’m a an absent-minded person for the daily stuff, I remember other people’s lives better than they do. This tiny superpower is actually useful in my mariage, as I remember events, conversations, and special times, and he remembers to lock the doors and turn off the computer.

  53. After reading some of the other comments, I’m reminded of two other mini-tiny-superpowers.

    * I’m a great speller, usually (typos don’t count!). Even as a kid, the adults in my family would come to ME if they needed to spell a word and weren’t sure about it.

    * I can sing a song verbatim after about 2 or 3 times of listening to it. I’m convinced this is an inherited superpower, as my father has something similar. He’s self-taught on the guitar, and even from a very young age he could listen to a song 2 or 3 times and play it back perfectly. I’m no good with a guitar (I tried learning, and I suck), but I’ve got a good voice, so I guess it’s pretty much the same, but my voice is my “instrument.”

  54. I have the spelling thing going on too. I’m also very good at working out the meanings of words I’ve never seen in my life before, even decontextualised, which has proved to be very helpful at :)

    I’m great with remembering schedules – mine and my husband’s, others if necessary, so I never use a diary (I’ve tried, but I forget to fill it in or check it!). I’ve only once in my entire life forgotten to be somewhere. And I’m great with names and birthdays, which seems to be a connected superpower. And yet somehow, despite having an amazing memory for schedules and birth dates, I often miss the actual birthday as it passes by. I’ve never quite understood why that happens, but I think I fill schedules with both day of week and date, and since I just have the date for birthdays, I miss them as they pass. So, it’s a tiny superpower that’s fallible in one area.

    One tiny superpower I’m just discovering is the ability to find my way around unfamiliar cities very fast. I look at the map, I read the guidebook, and then I leave it at the hotel and off I go. Whereas my husband, who has a brilliant sense of direction at home, is completely befuddled.

  55. I’m starting to wonder if a great sense of direction is a risk factor for obesity — I’ve got one, too. But then, my fatter sister and boyfriend can’t find their way out of a paper bag.

    And my great sense of direction is hampered by the fact that — sort of like the wrong letters coming out when I spell aloud — I say “east” when I mean “west” (and vice versa), about as often as I get it right. I totally know east from west, but I will still say, “Go east” when I mean, “Go in the direction of California.” No idea why. And I don’t do it with north and south.

  56. hmmm…I have two. One is a sort of internal homing device. No matter where my destination is, I can always point myself back to the starting point. I can’t necessarily retrace my steps turn by turn, but after wandering a city or State Park for an afternoon I can close my eyes and point to where I parked the car, even from across town. If I drive somewhere I can always point to my house and find my way back no matter what direction I was going.

    The other one is really only a superpower for my friends…I can go into their kitchen and cook a meal (usually for ten) even if they think there’s “nothing to eat” because they haven’t shopped for a week. Really it’s just a matter of improvising, but they seem to hold it a little in awe :-)

  57. I say “east” when I mean “west” (and vice versa), about as often as I get it right. I totally know east from west, but I will still say, “Go east” when I mean, “Go in the direction of California.”

    ME TOO

    I also say left when I mean right and vice versa.

    Even though I inherited my dad’s “magnet in his nose” to at least some degree.

  58. I also say left when I mean right and vice versa.

    I don’t do that nearly as often — it’s all about east/west for me. But I really am starting to think we share a brain.

  59. I’ve got two big ones that I boast about.

    I can read bad handwriting. It’s partly acquired, because I work as a legal word processor, but even when I was new at it I was uncannily good at figuring out what meaning that undulating line was supposed to impart.

    I can find lost objects. It correlates with a good visual memory, because usually I just look where I’ve seen them before, but once it was just a flash of genius. I was helping a friend move house, and when we got to the new place she couldn’t find her purse. I’d never been to the house or laid eyes on the purse before, but I went straight to the laundry hamper and there it was. Creepy, huh?

  60. Hm. Add me to the list of navigators. I can get somewhere I’ve never been with only the barest sense of where it is – city or sticks. Even military posts (which, if you’ve never been on one, is a feat).

  61. I’ve a peculiar facility for picking out very minor gradations in color, texture, and shape, and a good memory for them too. Back in grad school, I could sort bags of faunal material from archaeological sites and shell-midden microconstituents in no time flat. These days, it means I see more of the spiders in the garden than anyone else (good thing I like them). I’m pretty good at finding lost contact lenses, earrings, and so on too, really good at mystery jigsaw puzzles, and have no difficulty seeing the differences between all the shades of off-white at the paint shop. For what *that’s* worth.

  62. I can rearrange furniture to make rooms much more efficient. I can also organize the heck out of anything (though I suspect that’s more of a compulsion than a skill, *ahem*).

    I echo a couple of these: excellent sense of smell (bothersome at times), ability to remember names and faces (I can name everyone in a circle after hearing their names once), and uncanny sense of direction. If I’ve been there once, I can always find my way back. Memory is good too–details, trivia, words, and stuff from other peoples’ lives.

    Oh and the color thing! I do that too. It came up a lot when my mom forced me to scrapbook pictures from my study abroad trip. I could always pick the right colors of paper to frame the photos without thinking about it. I couldn’t also explain why one was right and why one was wrong.

  63. I can remember people’s middle names really well. Even people from years ago (the super popular middle school girl’s middle name was Royal).

    I’m excellent at deducing exactly what a teacher or professor wants in an assignment. Even if they tell you something different, I know what they meant. It has made school a lot easier for me.

    For the anit-tiny superpowers: I *always* mix up right and left. Not because I don’t know my right from my left, but because I mix up the words. Also, saying “Turn right” has remarkably little meaning to me, unless I think about it for a minute. Also, I can’t spell out loud. Only when I’m writing. Ask me to spell an easy word aloud, and I will pretend to write it on my hand with my finger so that I can get through it. I also can’t spell things I’m looking at. The words for letters (“Bee” for B, “Sea” for C, etc.) apparently have no association to the letters for me. No idea why.

  64. I can make a long, insightful, argumentative speech on any given topic with no preparation. My brain organizes the subject into 2-4 key points or themes before I even have much of a chance to think about it, and I can just flow from there. This is especially awesome when writing essays on tests; with even a rudimentary knowledge of the subject matter I can go on and on for pages convincingly.

    My other tiny superpower is stolen from my father, who does it much better than I can. Give me any instrument, teach me how to make a noise come out of it and within half an hour, I will be able to play you a complete, recognizable tune. Comfortably Numb on recorder? My Heart Will Go On on trombone? You got it. It’s how I got through years of music lessons without ever having learned to read music, much to the chagrin of several instructors.

  65. I like this thread!

    I also have a “finding things” tiny superpower. My house is kind of a mess, but when I want something, I just stand in the middle of the apartment and think for a few seconds, then go right to it. I think this is adaptive, though, because when I was a teen I would lose things all the time and got in trouble a lot, so at some point I started paying attention to and making mental notes of all objects. I can now find anything in my office, my apartment, and my boyfriend’s place without trying. And considering the state all those places are in, it’s kinda nuts.

    My other tiny superpower is communicating with people who don’t speak English very well or are very heavily accented such that others have trouble understanding them. I think I acquired this, too, from growing up in a country where I wasn’t fluent in the language, but I can understand and make myself understood with just about anybody. I think it’s mostly a matter of knowing when the other person hasn’t understood what I’ve said. Also, I pick up languages very quickly and within a few days of arriving somewhere, have picked up enough words/adapted to the way people communicate to get around just fine.

  66. I can remember the peak chart position in Billboard of any hit single that made the top 40 during the 60s, 70s, or 80s. I can also remember the title of the album that the song is on, if it came out between 1965 and 1985. Before and after that it’s a little more sketchy. Now, if only I could remember when the Qwest bill was due.

  67. I have google superpowers. If it’s on the internet, I can find it. That goes with my power to make a computer do just about anything I want by sheer force of will.

  68. My tiny superpower is hard on the wallet. If I’m looking at a spread in Glamour or a display at Nordstrom of, say, shoes or handbags, whichever one I like the best will turn out to be the most expensive one. Every single time. Unfortunately this means that I have a really hard time settling for cheaper items (thank goodness for places like Nordstrom Rack and Bluefly).

  69. I have what I refer to as “psychic texting”–I often know a text is coming about five seconds before my phone starts buzzing. This is not an extraordinarily useful superpower, it’s true, unless when the aliens decide to take over the world they notify everyone of their plans vis SMS, and I guess I’ll…have a couple of extra seconds to welcome our new overlords?

    My real superpower has to do with your secrets, though. Do you have something that’s really bothering you but you need to talk about? You’ll tell me. Doesn’t matter if you know me or not, doesn’t matter if we’ve been friends for years or if we’ve been sitting next to each other on the bus for five minutes; if I’m gently asking you leading questions or if I’m desperately trying to ignore you by ostentatiously opening my book, putting in my earbuds, or feigning a sudden coma: you will tell me. This came in handy when I was a training to be a shrink, it’s true, but socially it can be a little awkward sometimes.

  70. but I will still say, “Go east” when I mean, “Go in the direction of California.”

    I’m such a Chicago girl, the first thing I thought was “…the street?”

    Other superpowers include an ability to hook up audio/visual and other related equipment without consulting the directions, and I’m really great with dogs. A friend of mine dubbed me the Dog Whisperer.

  71. If I’ve read the book (and sometimes even if I haven’t) at any point in my life (and I’ve read a LOT of books – still reading more), then I can name the book’s title and the author if you read the first sentence or two to me. No matter how not revealing to the plot that sentence might be.

    My friend once spent an entire afternoon making me sit facing away and not looking while she grabbed random books from my hundreds-of-books-shelves, read a line, and I would answer with the title/author. She thought it was the most amazing thing she’d ever seen. The one that really got her was

    Her – “It was a nice day.”

    Me – “Good Omens – Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett”

    Her – “That could have been anything!!!”

    Me – “Yeah. I haven’t actually read that one yet.”

    I wish I had a more practical superpower, though. Like I have this one friend who always knows what time it is. He doesn’t wear a watch – he just knows. He has withing three-minute accuracy, no matter how long he’s gone without seeing a clock. It’s eerie, but also damn useful.

    Or my brother, who is the best cook of easy-to-cook things I have ever met. Which is to say, he makes things that everyone can make, but somehow when he makes them they taste awesome and gourmet and professional. Like he’ll make Kraft macaroni and cheese and it’ll taste like a gift from the gods. I’m always trying to figure out how he does it. Because I swear, instant cake mix or scrambled eggs – it doesn’t matter. He makes it taste like it should cost $20 in some restaurant. That’s a useful superpower.

  72. but I will still say, “Go east” when I mean, “Go in the direction of California.”

    I’m such a Chicago girl, the first thing I thought was “…the street?”

    Heh. But hey, California’s west of where I live, so it still works.

  73. Wow, Time-Machine! You’re good…I can’t do that with novels.

    I CAN do that with Shakespeare, though. Case in point: lil bros (my stepbro was visiting that day) came in my room to ask what “havoc” was:

    Lil Bro 1: I bet she doesn’t even know what play this is.

    Lil Bro 2: Yeah, she does. I’ll just ask what the word is, man, and she’ll give us both the line and the play. Sis!

    Me: Yo.

    Lil bros 1 and 2: What’s “havoc” mean?

    Me: Ah, yes. “Cry havoc! and let slip the dogs of war”. Good old Julius Caesar. Havoc means—

    Lil bro 1: I KNEW Julius Caesar said that!

    Me: Eh, no. That was Mark Antony. Something tells me y’all need to be reading instead of makin’ bets.

    Heh. This superpower was awesome when I did brain bowl in high school and college. Now, I just use it to wow my siblings’ friends. Kinda like a sideshow attraction, if you will.

  74. I have a nose for books. I get this mad compulsion to go to a bookstore and it’s probably the day that: 1.) one of my favorite authors put out a book that I didn’t bother looking up 2.) the publisher just remaindered a book that I want but wasn’t willing to pay full price for 3.) said book just came into the used bookstore. I ignore it a lot and miss stuff, but it happens too often to be coincidence. (And if I look up when someone’s putting out a book, I’m more likely to miss the day. Because I care about these things.)

    I can also tell you the general state of any mechanical device by the sound. I informed my parents that their fridge was going to die about 3 months before it did.

    My boyfriend’s tiny superpower is that if you hand him an instrument, within a ridiculously short period of time he’ll be able to play it well enough to be in a community band or orchestra. We’re talking a month, tops. Yeah, he’s had years of training, but he’s ALWAYS been able to do that.

    I have the left/right ANTI-superpower. I honestly can’t tell the difference between left and right without conscious thought. I suppose I could say it’s the words that I confuse, since I obviously know which direction I mean, but still.

    Whereas the boyfriend has the east/west problem — he mixes the words up and I get to correct him, since I at least have THAT figured out. :)

  75. Julia,

    I also have the expensive taste tiny-superpower. Not just with clothes but art and cars and really pretty much anything. If you show me a picture of several near identical item the one I like will be the most expensive every time.

    Another example, I went to a vintage fashion show this week and it had a program with a list of the models and what they were wearing and the prices. Whatever I liked best on the model, be it dress, earrings, shoes or hat was the most expensive item she/he had on.

    It’s kind of eerie, and sort of useful… maybe.

  76. I have to two tiny super-powers. I can tell, give or take 3 minutes, what time we will arrive at our destination when we’re on road trips. This includes bathroom and random stops along the way. I can also recognize passages, or note patterns, from one piece of music used in another piece. It drives my sister crazy. I’ll say, “You know the next section coming up in song X is exactly the same as the beginning of song Y.”

    My anti-super power manifests itself most often in the grocery store. There will be some sort of glitch in the cash register in the line I’m in. I have warned everyone I know that if you see me in a store, do not, for the love of the gods, get behind me. You’ll be stuck forever.

  77. I have perfect color “memory.” I can look at a color and then walk into a store and pick out other colors that fit into the palette perfectly.

    This would probably be a super power if I was an interior decorator but I’m not so I just become the go to guy when someone needs to buy towels for their bathroom.

  78. I am still smarting from losing a spelling bee in fifth grade because I spelled “aggressive” with one g, even though I KNEW IT HAD TWO. I KNEW THE FUCKING CHEER!
    I won the regional spelling bee in fifth grade. So the next year, everybody knew I was the one to beat. I got up, and on my first word, said, “Piano. P-i-n-o. Piano.” Yep, still bitter.

    My tiny superpower is the ability to write porno dialogue for any situation. Linguistics class? “I think you’ll enjoy it when I apply this fricative to your bilabial.” International peace talks? “I’m no isolationist. I’m going to invade your territory.” It’s a gift.

  79. I have several wierd tiny superpowers. One is that I get eerily calm in crisis situations while everyone else is freaking out. I can manage to get everyone calmed down and deal with the crisis while keeping calm and collected myself. In those circumstances my brain always starts thinking, “okay, how do I get us out of this,” and while thinking my way through the crisis I do not panic at all.

    I also have an amazing sense of direction. I once had a friend try to get me lost in an unfamiliar forest. After turning the group all over the place to confuse us, he asked if anyone knew the way out to the road. I was like, “yeah, it’s that way.” I thought he was going to trip over his jaw it dropped so much.

    I’m also a mirror. I reflect back to people what they most dislike about themselves. It is not really a fun superpower to have because sometimes people (even people I just meet casually) won’t like me because they see the things they most dislike about themselves when they look at me. I had a fat-hating, yet fat herself, doctor who lost it once because of this mirror phenomenon.

  80. I have the remembering-colours-in-my-head tiny superpower; and the remembering every phone number I’ve ever had since I was tiny-wee one; and the find-the-most-expensive-thing-in-the-shop-blindfold one, (every woman in my family has that particular power. It’s uncanny).

    …but my friend Graham managed to locate, and produce unscathed, a contact lens that popped out of my eye and onto the cinema floor in the dark. All hail the mighty Graham!

  81. Asbestos hands. I can pick up, for example, a metal pot out of an open fire and it won’t hurt or burn me. Weird, huh?

  82. The Shapletariat is starting to scare me a bit. I’m pretty sure if the mental power behind all these tiny superpowers was somehow joined, it could write “Shapely Prose” on the moon.

  83. I’m pretty sure if the mental power behind all these tiny superpowers was somehow joined, it could write “Shapely Prose” on the moon.

    Or at least “SHA.”

  84. I can learn any musical instrument to a reasonable degree in a short period of time too. Except the harp. The harp is kicking my arse, which makes me love it even more.

    But my main tiny superpower is that I am the Visualisation Queen. I can sight-read music excellently, I can see a garment and draw the pattern pieces freehand (and vice versa), I can see pretty much any fabricated object and know what pieces and parts I’d need to make one, I always get 100% on the ‘rotated 3-d object’ parts of IQ tests, I can sketch very well though I lack technique, I am good with directions even if I haven’t seen a map because my brain is like Google Earth, etc. And all those visualisation exercises that are used for meditation, therapy, etc – I never realised until quite lately that some people actually had any trouble doing those, and I was genuinely astonished because I could see everything about that apple floating in the air or whatever, instantly. (Which kind of renders the exercise null, but anyway.)

    Also I have great musical memory but that’s been helped by three gazillion years of music theory classes.

  85. La di Da, I both admire and feel familiar with your visualization superpower. I have a question for you about the sightreading/music stuff, as I also do quite well with sightreading (saxophone and piano): Have you played any Guitar Hero? If so, how’d you do?

    I can’t play that game worth a shit (anti-superpower?) because of all the music training I’ve had. My non-musical SO cannot seem to understand why I have such a hard time converting my sightreading to read up and down and colored notes rather than black notes left to write. Desperately seeking company in this department. :)

  86. La di da – Did you know Harpo Marx taught himself the harp? You probably did but I just learned that recently :)

    Ann#2 – Asbestos hands are awesome! I can flip bacon bare handed but that’s more because I’m sneaky than because I don’t feel the heat.

  87. In addition to an incredible sense of smell that accompanies my terrible eyestight, I have the ability to detect even the slightest precipitation.

    I’ll see drizzle before anyone else can even feel it (even before you can spot it hitting people’s glasses or windows). And, with a mere glance, I can know if it’s snowing even if no one else can see or feel it.

    I can also recognize snippets of movie soundtracks used in commercials. I’ll know the movie and often the scene that music was used for right away.


    Because spelling is my #1 superpower, for sure. I’m actually really good at spelling things aloud–the word just happens in my brain and I can say it with no problem. I was playing Cranium a few weeks ago with some friends, and this other team kept getting the kind of question where the group has to collectively spell a word backwards, and my team never got any! I was so mad!

    My other superpower, which is maybe related, is public speaking. Not that I’m the world’s greatest, but I have always had a way of speaking to a crowd (whether in a class, in a poetry reading, in a meeting, whatever) so that people a) pay attention, and b) follow what I’m saying. This is really handy for teaching.

    Also, I am insanely jealous of all you direction-powered people. That’s my anti-superpower. I have gotten completely lost because I left buildings from a different door than the one I entered. I always know my left from right, but I could get lost on my own street.

  89. I have incredible Wii luck. I randomly suggested going into a game store a couple of days after Christmas last year and happened into 3 Wiis for us and 2 of our friends. Then, right after it came out, I went into a game store that I was going to skip (it was across the street so a pain to get to) and found Guitar Hero 3.

    I also have very good shoe sale luck. =)


    Dude, I knew I should have e-mailed you about that! It’s Dec. 12 at Morseland, and it’s a benefit for the Howard Community Center’s Literacy Program. So it’s a $10 minimum to sign up, $5 to come and watch. (I was gonna do a post closer to the day to invite Chicago-area Shapelings out to watch.)

    I think sign-up is technically over, but I bet you could e-mail the guy in charge and ask if you could still get in. I’ll send you the info.

  91. My tiny superpower isn’t that useful most times. But I can untangle anything, no matter what, no matter how tangled. Yarn, jewelry, power cords, you name it. And without cutting either. I’m pretty sure had it been me faced with the Gordian knot, I wouldn’t have needed a sword. The downside of this is that its a compulsion and I pretty much can’t look at something tangled without needing to get it straightened out.

    I do also have the superpower mentioned earlier of looking at a spread of items and liking the most expensive one. Whenever I go to a place like TJ Maxx, the only purse in the whole place I like is inevitably the most expensive one there, like the one that’s $300, but retails for $700 or something.

  92. I forgot the one where I can always find great clothes for Sweet Machine, even in her neighborhood thrift stores that she’s already scoured countless times.

    And I wanna do the spelling bee, too! Dammit!

  93. L, I haven’t played Guitar Hero but I’ve played SingStar and I’m fairly terrible at it because the ‘music’ sounds as though it’s displayed similarly – relative ups and downs, not notation. I am fine with regular karaoke where you only get lyrics. :) Now, if there was a game where you could plug an actual guitar into the console, I’d be all set.

    Lexy, I did know that. :) I love Harpo! (He actually learned to play at first with the harp on his left shoulder and then just re-learnt everything when he found out it goes on your right, which is pretty impressive.)

  94. oooo I thought of another one (OMG I am being the biggest post whore today but this is too much fun)

    I haven’t used this in a long time so I may be a little rusty, but back when I was single and went to the bars a lot (a loooooooot) I could always get at least a few drinks bought for me and my friends if not get our tab paid. Without being a whore either. I just had a nose for the generous sucker in the bar that liked spending money on the ladies.

    I don’t really think this is something to be proud of, but when you’re 21 and like to drink but work at a hotel for barely more than minimum wage… it sure came in handy.

  95. I have an incredible memory for the context around conversations and other people’s actions. I can remember what was going on during a conversation, and I always remember where other people put their keys or what 5 things they were doing.

    I can also find patterns in anything, which I think is partly due to getting a degree in linguistics and partly due to my rather surreal/childlike view of the world around me… I connect things and find patterns much more easily and differently than anyone else. It probably has something to do with the context remembering. But I can do math in my head damn well!

  96. Im decent at public speaking, I have no idea why some people have to practice presentations before getting up and giving them. Even with presentationsfor school in Spanish I never think about what I am going to say beforehand.

  97. I work in IT, and starting as soon as I moved from my old position in administration to my job in IT, I’ve had the ability to fix computers just by watching people show me what’s wrong. I don’t even actually have to do anything, it just magically fixes itself. This works at home and at work.

  98. I know the word on the tip of your tongue. The one you’re thinking of but you can’t quite say. Also the one you’re not thinking of, but you know that somewhere out there is a perfect word for what you’re thinking.

    They call me The Word.

  99. Hmm…
    1. I have a good ear for music. I can remember and play almost any song after hearing it once, and I never forget a song (this is not always a good thing.) Unfortunately, music is the only thing I can remember- it took me a year to memorise my own phone number.
    2. Like some else said, I can learn almost any instrument in short order, as long as you show me how make a sound with it first.
    3. I learn languages very easily. I just absorb everything without ever really having to think much about it.
    4. Give me a pen and a piece of paper and within ten minutes I can produce a mind-blowing drawing without any thought, planning, or source material at all. I have an uncanny ability to combine colours, shapes and lines in a way that you really wouldn’t think would work and made it look like the coolest thing you’ve ever seen.
    5. I am an expert bullshitter, but that’s thanks to having done the IB diploma and TOK, which we actually nicknamed Advanced Bullshitting.

    That was long, but the list of my anti-powers could probably fill a small book.
    Except for music and languages, I have a memory like a sieve. I have no sense of direction at all. I am comically bad at remembering faces. Despite being good at art, I am a very auditory learner and I forget everything I read. I have the most amazing ability to fuck up anything I try to cook. Plus, I have ADD, and I’m sure a lot of people here know what that can entail.

  100. My tiny superpower isn’t that useful most times. But I can untangle anything, no matter what, no matter how tangled.

    Rose, that is an AMAZING superpower, as far as I’m concerned. Want to come over and go to town on my jewelry box?

  101. I share one of my superpowers with Sara (above) – I have psychic bargain ability. I can walk into a store and literally smell any awesome deals, down to their exact location. ($4/were $70 Ralph Lauren sunglasses; $8/were $60 Liz Claiborne handbags; $11/ were $90 Carlos Santana suede & patent leather pumps. I’ve got ’em all.) Whenever I get anything new and cool, my friends immediately ask how much I paid for it – because they know I will have gotten it for some ridiculously low price. Just this week I complimented a friend on a gorgeous tote bag – turns out it was Kate Spade and she’d picked it up for $3 at a teen consignment store. (They obviously didn’t know its value.) When I told her she sucked, she said she took that as the highest compliment, coming from me.

    My other superpower is that I can dress anyone. I can take one look at you, run around the store for a couple of minutes, and bring you back a bunch of clothes that will not only fit you perfectly, but will make you look fabulous. Men, women, children, any shape or size, with any physical characteristic – flat chested, big butt, long waisted, narrow shoulders, whatever – I can do it for anyone.

  102. Oh yeah, one more. I have a “sympathetic ear” when it comes to accents. I pick up whatever I hear and bounce it back to people, without meaning to.

    In a room full of southerners (I’m one myself), my accent is thick as molasses. But it disappears around the myriad of “transplants” down here. They all ask where I’m from. When I visited my future in-laws in New Jersey and Philly, people didn’t know I was a southerner after the first day. And you know how people give Madonna shit for her fake Brit accent? That would totally be me, too, and I wouldn’t be able to help it. I used to have a British co-worker. One day I answered his phone and it was his mother, calling from England. In our very brief conversation, I picked up enough of her accent that she thought I was a Brit, too. My coworker said she told him, “I didn’t know you had an English girl working with you.”

  103. I can usually find someone else’s keys (not my own) if they are missing.
    I am really good at picking out the very best thing for you on a menu. Tell me what you’re in the mood for, and I’ll comb my cataloged memory of what you like to eat, and come up with one or more things on the menu that will suit your exact fancy.
    And this one is weird, I’m not sure if I have the power of premonition about very random, usually unimportant things, or I have a bad, bad recurring case of deja vu.
    This is a very fun thread.
    I have many super-antipowers, such as the ability to forget your name long after any reasonable person would have learned it.

  104. I have many super-antipowers, such as the ability to forget your name long after any reasonable person would have learned it.

    Oh, heavens, yes.

    I am in a creative writing class, and we’ve been in groups of four people working on our stories for at least six weeks. Yesterday on our quiz we had to answer a question using the story of one of our group members as an example. I seriously could not remember any of my fellow authors’ names. I finally just pulled a kind of “In the story about Eric and Sam” cop-out. Which, I have no doubt, my teacher totally saw through.

    Speaking of super-antipowers, you know those people who always know which way is north? That’s not me. I could be standing at the South Pole and still not know which way to point.

  105. MarqueeMoon, lemme guess, you’re a Television fan? That’s one of my favorite albums.

    I thought of another one. I have a knack for getting to restaurants, coffeehouses, etc., just before there’s a huge long line out the door.

  106. My first tiny superpower is buying presents for people. Once I know them, even a little, I tend to buy unusual, but brilliant gifts.

    The second? I am fairly excellent at sightreading music, to the extent that I am better at playing when sightreading than if I know the music.

  107. What a fun thread! I thought of several as I read through the answers even though none of mine are listed!

    I can soothe and put to sleep almost any baby even though I have none of my own. As long as they are fed and changed I can have them sleeping soundly in mere minutes.

    I can re-create almost any dish I’ve had without a recipe. I also just know what will taste good in a recipe and can modify and improvise cooking with no bad results.

    I can answer almost any multiple choice question correctly even if I don’t really know the subject matter. It almost feels like I can see what the writer of the question was thinking. This came in really handy in school but isn’t good for much in the real world except in trivia games.

    And, possibly the most useful, I can always get a seat (or two if I’m with someone) at a bar even when it’s teaming with people and nobody looks even close to ready to leave.

    For anti-super powers, I’ve got a terrible sense of direction and a poor memory for the events of my own life. People are constantly reminding me of something we did together and I remember little or none of it. I also have almost no ability to stay organized even though I’m a virgo.

  108. Kate and OTM, I’m probably not as young as I sound. I just realized that when I said old I was referring to cheesy stuff like “Full House” and “The Facts of LIfe” back when it was on Nick at Nite.

  109. Mine is bill juggling. No matter how much we overspend, or what unexpected expense comes up, I can always juggle the bills in such a way that I can pay them all without being late.

  110. Oh, oh, and I can cook things I would never eat and make them really good (according to the people who eat it and are surprised). My anti-superpower in this is that my favorite food – macaroni and cheese – I can’t make at all!

  111. Mine is bill juggling. No matter how much we overspend, or what unexpected expense comes up, I can always juggle the bills in such a way that I can pay them all without being late.


  112. My tiny superpowers include teaching basic computer skills to people older than 50, making the wind blow, speaking Cat fluently enough to pick up anti social barn type cats for a nail trimming, and being magnetic. (Really, truly magnetic. As in every compass I have ever owned got to the point that it would point at me, and only me, if I was within three and a half feet from it.)

  113. Almost every time I’m out at night, at some point I pass a street light and it goes out. It works better when I’m on foot but has been working lately in the car too. And I know it’s not specific lighting patterns because it’s happened in every city I’ve lived in or visited, at all hours of the night, in different lights every time. I first noticed it my freshman year of college. 12 years later, it happens so frequently I’m no longer convinced it’s some weird, very long string of coincidences or that it happens to everyone.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to make it work to my advantage.

  114. Lisa said:
    My anti-super power manifests itself most often in the grocery store. There will be some sort of glitch in the cash register in the line I’m in. I have warned everyone I know that if you see me in a store, do not, for the love of the gods, get behind me. You’ll be stuck forever.

    That is mine also. I always tell everybody with me, “Don’t let me pick the line when we are shopping.” Whichever line I will pick will ALWAYS end up being the longest (even if there is only one person ahead of me), and if I change lanes, the one I move to becomes the longest.

    I guess my mini-superpower is that I can look at a recipe and know exactly how it’s going to taste before I ever try it out. I can tell how all the ingredients will blend, and what the overall taste will be. In recipes that look good but ‘iffy’, I can then substitute to where it’ll taste good (by my taste, of course). This has helped when I’ve developed some of my own recipies as well.

  115. I’m still trying to figure out how to make it work to my advantage.

    Ooh, sumac, there has to be a way to harness that for evil.

    (Also, can I just say, you commented under that name like 5 times before I noticed who you were. Duh.)

  116. I know the word on the tip of your tongue. The one you’re thinking of but you can’t quite say. Also the one you’re not thinking of, but you know that somewhere out there is a perfect word for what you’re thinking.

    Deborah, I need you to come around and sit next to me when I’m talking to people. If I’m ever rich I’ll hire you for it. Despite the fact that I’ve had a college reading level since I was nine and that I can pwn at almost any vocabulary game, somehow when I’m actually trying to use the words, they evade me like I’m a freaking Cthulu. I am also the queen of random typos. *sigh*

    And RoseCompion – your username made me think “Rose Companion” as in Rose – the Doctor’s companion in Doctor Who, and it made me a bit happy. I don’t know why.

  117. Wow! I’m amazed all all these tiny superpowers!

    I have the “easy remembering lyrics/songs/things in rhyme”, and can make up new lyrics to songs on the fly. I can also do most things that are art-related well. :)

  118. My tiny superpower relates to reading people. When i was in college i could sit through a lecture and tell you exactly what the professor was going to put on the test. I knew how the professor stood and the patterns in each of their voices when they considered something truly important to know. I had one professor in particular that would lean forward and speak slightly softer when he was going to put the topic on an upcoming test.

    My other tiny superpower also relates to reading people. Like many other people I am a fount of random facts and otherwise useless information. It allows me to know a little about everything that could possibly come up in conversation. The superpower comes in because I seem to always know the topic that will relate to the other person. I had a friend tell me once that people like me were the reasons that parties (it was a dessert social for students and professors at my college) were possible. Always weaving around starting conversations between people and drawing even the most recluse into the mix. My secret is i am so very uncomfortable while doing it, i am a social phobic at heart.

    My Kryptonite is my inability to spell anything correctly even if my life were dependent on it. And my horrible sense of direction, i get lost in the small city that i have lived in my whole life.

  119. I can think of a couple. 1) I am the confessor. Perfect strangers come up to me and tell me all about their problems. People I know, well, sometimes I wish they would realize that maybe I didn’t want to know that.
    But related to that, somehow I have the resource they need for the situation- usually one I had just discovered the day before, or had glanced at on a flier.
    2) I, like Rose, can untangle anything.
    3) I can look in a cupboard and throw together a good meal out of seemingly random ingredients 9.5 times out of 10. I think this was a survival skill from when we got food boxes.

  120. I can precede trends by a good six months, sometimes a year.

    The greatest example was my wedding gown. It was January 1998 and I was looking through the bridal magazines saying, “Dammit – all I want is a simple white satin dress with multi-colored embroidery on it. Is that so much to ask??” Apparently it was.

    Got married in October 1998. Six months later, all the wedding magazines were trumpeting how the Big! New! Trend! was color! Color! COLOR! And damn near every wedding gown had either a single color embroidery on it, or multiple colors of embroidery on it.

    Yeah, I’m still a little bitter about that one, I admit.

  121. I have the navigational mini-power. Even if it’s a city I’ve never been in before, even if it’s 5 years later, even if there’s been some redevelopment, if I’ve driven there once, it’s almost certain that I can get there again. This never ceases to amaze my husband, whose sense of direction seems to be misplaced.

    The funny thing is that this is coupled with the “really have to think about which is left and which is right” anti-power, so getting there the first time could be an adventure. (But I’ve taught myself some techniques to make that a little better.)

    I also have the finding mini-power. I’ve thought about how this works, and far as I can tell I subconsciously take mental pictures of places just going about my normal activities. Then when I need to answer the question “where is (whatever)”, I kind of let my brain relax and it sorts through the pictures and comes up with an answer.

    We recently moved, so this power is still recalibrating itself – but I still found something today I’d put in a drawer when I first unpacked it 3 months ago and hadn’t thought about since.

    This power also seems to work over the internet. I was on a mailing list awhile ago where one member was complaining that she couldn’t find something. I wrote back to look in the trunk of her car. She said she already had. I said “please check again.”. Darned if it wasn’t there!

  122. *sigh* great. I finally get the courage to leave a comment and I misphrased…I meant “even if it’s a city I’ve been in only once before”. My apologies!

  123. “Courage to Comment”

    I was just thinking about that, and realized that was true. We are posting in a public forum, publicly outing ourselves as involved in Fat Acceptance at some level.

    That takes courage, and makes the Shapelings some of the coolest people I know!

  124. My tiny superpower is my unusually high platelet count — usually around 400. This is useful for donating platelets twice a month (they love me there and usually have me do a triple) and, um, clotting, I guess. (There has to be a kryptonite-aspect even to tiny superpowers, right?)

  125. Ooh, first comment for me! Let’s see…

    At work, I can figure out how to solve other people’s problems in Microsoft Office so quickly that it seems like I knew exactly what I was doing to begin with. I think the IT department needs to pay me a stipend. :)

    I can talk my friends into wearing fabulous, wonderfully skanky outfits.

    Also, I can somewhat consistently make people return my emails almost instantly by complaining out loud that they haven’t returned my emails. (Not when they’re within hearing, of course. That would just be stupid.)

    My anti-superpower is being the discoverer of/bearer of bad news. “Hey, guess what: the cds are missing; the bartender gave your credit card to the wrong person; the file is screwed up.” Fun.

  126. My tiny superpower is super-reading. As in, I read *crazy fast*. I can get through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, *plus appendices*, in about five hours. ~proud~

  127. I share many of the above tiny and not-so-tiny superpowers, and am in awe of many others. In addition to responding to blog posts almost a month late, I consider my obsessive-compulsive tendencies to be a superpower whenever they come in handy, and ignore them whenever they don’t. Also I frequently have the uncanny ability to buy exactly the right amount of bulk rice or beans or whatever at a hippie food store, just enough to perfectly fill whatever container I forgot to bring from home. This is related to my powers of guessing exactly the right amount of food to make, which in turn is tied to whatever you want to call knowing whether food in container X can safely be transferred into container Y without overflowing or being ridiculously too small for the available space. Yay for superpowers that can be practiced! And yay for Shapely Prose!

  128. Over a year late – go me!

    I also share a lot of these tiny superpowers! In particular, the spelling one, complete with the “words I just can’t ever remember” nemeses (is that the plural of nemesis? I just made it up!). For me, the worst one is separate (which I just had to spell check – and I had it wrong!)

    My other tiny superpower, which I haven’t seen mentioned, is the power of Awesome Desserts. Ask anyone I know, they’ll all say I cook the best desserts ever.

    Also, someone mentioned a superpower of being able to identify which day of the week any day in any year was. That superpower can actually be learned. Check out this guy, he has that one down, along with many other superpowers that impress the maths-nerd in me!

  129. Also, I’ve been playing with FreeRice since I saw someone mention it in their comment – apparently I also have the meanings of words superpower – even in other languages! Who’d have thought?

  130. If it involves textiles, I am good at it. Which is not as useful these days as it would have been in the 1890s.

    But my real mutant power is: I don’t appear in random pictures. Like, if I’m at a party and someone’s going around getting snapshots, I won’t be in any of them unless the photographer specifically sets out to get at least one shot of everyone there. This power even extends to my house; neither Google Street View nor the county’s property ownership website has a good shot of my house.

  131. At first I was quite stumped, but I think I have it! I have successfully taught myself how to do just about anything with yarn/thread. Macrame, knitting, crochet, tatting, weaving, spinning, etc., etc. with the added complexity of me being a leftie while all the directions are designed for righties. Although…. I have not yet tried bobbin lace. Hmmm.

  132. My tiny superpower is that I can cook anything out of anything. Well, except beans (I always manage to burn them, or at least make them look gross). But anyway, it doesn’t matter if you’re missing three of the essential ingredients for the recipe, I’ll come up with some way to work around it and make it anyway. Last night, I made a pancake dinner without eggs, butter, or buttermilk (although buttermilk’s pretty easy to replace — just add vinegar to regular milk) and only about a quarter of a cup of maple syrup, and nobody was the wiser.

  133. My tiny superpower is that I can get by on as little as 2 broken hours of sleep in a night for lengthy periods. Seriously – I did that from being 20 weeks pregnant (baby was crazy-wriggly!) to my son being 13 months old! He was NOT a sleeper and wouldn’t go longer than about 2 -3 hours at any stretch, which meant I got less than that as I’d be awake afte rhe’d gone to sleep. I’m also a very lgith sleeper, so the slightest sound from him had me waking up. And I can’t sleep in the daytime, so I got no catch-up naps through the day.

    So, yeah, if you need someone to be able to cope with pretty much anything on almost zero sleep, I’m your gal!

  134. Ooh, and my brain is a repository for millions of totally random facts. 9 time out of ten, when I’m watching an episode of QI I’ve never seen before, I will know a) the answer that will set off the siren and b) the factually correct one Stephen Fry is really looking for. In any given converstation, I’ll be able to insert an randomly quite interesting nugget of info that is appropriate to the subject – it may be the only thing I know on that topic, but it will sound impressive and will leave the pther person thinking I really do know my stuff – LOL!

  135. I can also untangle things. Possibly related, I can look at a graph and “unfold” it in my head to tell you if it’s planar, isomorphic with another graph, etc. For really tricky ones, I may need to model the unfolding with my hands, but I’m almost never stumped or forced to resort to doing it out the long way on paper. (Just recently discovered this one when we started doing graphs in my math class.)

    I can pack things so that there is no empty space in the container, no matter how oddly-shaped and varied the items are (although this will usually take more than one try).

    I am very good at math in general. I got incredibly frustrated in middle school because I would look at a problem, write down the answer, and get half credit or less because I didn’t write down all the tedious intermediate steps I hadn’t even consciously gone through.

    I can remember some things very easily. This mostly happens with things that aren’t practical- I have to keep each of my vital items (keys, ID, etc) in the same place all the time or I don’t know whether I have them, and I need to do every step in my morning or bedtime routine in the same order or I forget the ones I skipped and wonder midafternoon “wait, did I actually take my vitamins this morning?” On the other hand, anything I’m interested in takes up residence in my brain without my input. In elementary school I could quote huge chunks of the Harry Potter books from memory, knew what every spell did and where every portrait was. In middle school I could trace the family trees of every character in Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion. Currently, given a line of dialogue from Doctor Who (or any of the Vorkosigan books), I can tell you where it’s from, who said it, and probably at least three fan theories or crackfics it spawned. This has actually come in handy in the real world- I memorized my library card number without trying, never studied for a test until well into high school, and have three times this year alone forgotten my book for an open-book exam and done well on it.

    I can understand Shakespeare the first time I read it, even without any footnotes, although they certainly help.

    I can crochet a hat without a pattern.

    I have really detailed, plotty, science-fictiony dreams, many of which I remember.

    I taught myself to program my graphing calculator using only the manual that came with it.

    I can pick out any tune on the piano (melody only) if I know it well enough to sing it, and I can remember the lyrics to a song if I listened to the song twice through while reading along.

  136. I can sing you an ‘A’ at 440Hz with about 90% accuracy. I can also remember melodies almost the instant I hear them.

    (I know, I’m late to the party, but I wanted to play, too!)

Comments are closed.