Secret Super Power [NOT 4/8/21]

What's Yours?

I’ve mentioned this before but I have a super power. I can move in utter silence unless I start thinking about it. As long as I’m not trying to be silent, I am. The second that I try, I sound like a herd of buffalo. This means my super power is not only effectively useless, but is an actual nuisance.

How did I discover my power? Screams, mostly. Many of my days are punctuated by startled shrieks and exclamations from people who just realized I was standing there looking at them. If I head over to someone’s desk to ask a question or review something, I’m typically greeted with “Oh my God you scared me!”

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve found people looking at … uh, let’s just say sensitive materials while at work. (Which never ceases to be weird because holy shit, doesn’t everyone know that your IT administrator can review your browser history by now? I mean, ask a couple of them for their stories and settle in.)

Shopping is punctuated with constant squawks from other patrons, because I’m focused on getting what I need and thus not thinking about making noise. So I move through retail establishments like a ghost, generating screams whenever people realize I’m standing right behind them.

It carries over to the checkout register. I’ll materialize there, stand for a few seconds while the employee is folding shirts or wiping down the counter, and then I have to cough or rustle or make some other noise, and wait for the inevitable screech before I can pay. It happened to me yesterday at the grocery store. I’ve gotten to the point now that I steel myself for the inevitable yelp when I realize that I’ve done it again.

I’m no one-trick pony, though. I’ve got other super powers:

  1. I remember the lyrics to every song I’ve ever heard.
  2. I can infallibly point directly to where I left my car. My parents used this a lot when hunting for our car after a day at Disney World. I felt kind of like an English setter. “Bryan … point!”
  3. I get places fast by car. It’s not speeding or anything. Though I don’t drive slowly, I rarely go more than 10 MPH over the limit. It’s just that somehow I shave time off the trip. Again, my parents used to rely on this for family road trips after I turned 16. “Let the boy drive. He gets us there the fastest.”
  4. I can tell the color of a cat by smell. I’m really allergic to them, so this doesn’t get used often. Or at all, because when are you ever in a dark room with a cat? But different colors of cats have different smells.

So tell me. What’s your secret super power? Do you always find great parking spaces? Can you pack a week’s worth of clothes into an overnight bag? Can you tell which cantaloupe is ripe without touching it? Let’s see what you got.

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46 Comments

  1. Yup, I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been walking the rice paper for decades and routinely scare the hell out of people.  Although, I have learned how to be noisier in certain situations to mitigate that.

    Other than that, my primary super power is pissing people off.  It’s a gift and a curse.

    Another one is something Mrs. Butcher says to me periodically:  “you’re the only person I know who can sincerely compliment someone and put them in their place in the same sentence.”

  2. I have never met a dog that didn’t instantly befriend me. “Careful, he’s not very friendly.” “Well, he looks like a friendly fellow. Here, come say hello.” 

    I wish I had my mother’s superpower, which was The Glare. I think she was an X-Man (X-Woman, is that what they’re called in the franchise?) If you were arguing or horsing around you didn’t even have to make eye contact with her, you could sense The Glare, and all motion would come to a halt. All would be silent. This was especially effective on car trips. Dad always drove and Mom was in the passenger seat. There were few diversions available to the urchins in the back seat so bickering and teasing occupied our time. One look and we’d be frozen for a good two hours. 

    It’s too bad she wasn’t old enough to serve in The Battle of the Bulge during World War II. Entire Nazi army units would have quietly laid down their arms and walked away, very slowly and respectfully.  

    • My dad had that glare.  It was just withering stare that made men much bigger than him run away in fear.  Imagine being a kid.  It was equal parts rage, contempt and Terminator.
      I inherited it.  Apparently the only emotion that shows up on my face really well is anger.   Once in a while I’ve stared down bullies much bigger/stronger/powerful than I.  It comes in handy in meetings.

    • I can befriend small children. This is a power that must be used with extreme caution, for obvious reasons. But if I’ve got 10 minutes with a kid infant to age 3 I can have them laughing and giggling. I can usually get them to wave and laugh at me in public situations when I can’t get too close. 

    • Yeah I’m good with dogs too. Just the other day I spotted one hauling ass past the house. I went outside and got him to come to me and put a leash on him so I could figure out what to do with him. He’s one of those neighborhood dogs that doesn’t get much socializing so he enjoyed his bit of time with me. 

  3. I can time travel.  I drink waaaaaay too much, blackout, and wake up in the future!  The downside is I don’t always remember at what time I started my travels or what the hell happened right before. 
     
     

    • You just reminded me of another super power of mine. I can sleep on demand. I learned how to do it as a small kid when I discovered sleep as time travel. Then it became a means to avoid the reality around me. Then it became sort of a Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde thing where I was falling asleep against my will. I’ve gotten past that point but I can still zonk out in less than a minute. 

      • My wife grew up in the Bay Area of N.Cal.  They would go on ski trips to Tahoe when she was little & the second the car started moving, she was asleep & wouldn’t wake up until they got there.  She didn’t know it wasn’t a short drive until she was an adult & had to drive the several hour drive.  I wish I could do that kind of time travel but I have to self medicate to make that happen.

        • The Better Half can do this on flights. Before the plane even leaves the runway he’s out like a light. Extremely irritating on eight-hour flights to Europe, because I have never slept on any flight, ever. Actually that’s not true, I did once, on the Hawaii-to-LAX leg of our return. Once. In my entire life.

  4. I’ve got the silent walking too.  I’ve mentioned the only time I used my stealth walk for an actual offensive purpose and it turned out to be the garage door guy instead of my paranoid vision of Cokehead and her entourage of flunkies.
    Did that for a pretend “offensive” purpose playing paint ball several times including where I snuck up on a heavily out of shape dude (he couldn’t hear me sneaking up on him thanks to his panting) and got in right behind him.  I popped him and then took out the rest of his team before they knew what hit them.
    It’s handy when I work as a team lead.  No one notices me till it is too late.

    • My dad could do stealth at will, but with me it’s totally involuntary. He could move like a ghost. I don’t actually startle easily, and I think that’s why. I was just used to this 6’2″ figure appearing out of nowhere. 

  5. Here’s my super powers:
    1 Stealth walking
    2 Death stare
    3 Pack one week’s worth of clothes into one carry on bag (including a suit.)
    4 Sniffing out ambushes (mostly internecine office warfare shit.)  Spidey sense is real!
    5 Keen powers of observation
    My Kryptonite
    1 Detecting actual affection
    2 Pissing off superiors
    3 Not enough to be right, have to rub it in. (see 2)
    4 Insensitive boob
    5 Despite having keen powers of observation and sniffing out plots/ambushes, I lose those powers in romantic situations.

    • As far as pissing off superiors, I have what I call Cassandra complex. In mythology Cassandra could see the future but she was cursed so no one would believe her. I’m always telling my bosses what’s going to happen, and then I’m right, but they blame me because I’m the one who told them it was going to happen. 
       
      I worked at one job with horrific turnover — one person quit every 8 days on average. After I’d been there long enough to track the pattern, I pointed it out. Uhmm, it’s been eight days so somebody will quit today or tomorrow. They blamed me. No, it’s not my fault your employees are miserable. I’m just telling you that they are and one quits every 8 days. My tenure there did not end on a happy note.

  6. I used to have a literal photographic memory. I know some people think it’s BS, but I could look at a page in a book(textbooks mostly) and remember every single thing on a page and where it was placed. In school, everyone thought I was super smart – I wasn’t, but I liked to read so I would read all of my  text books for every class at the beginning of every quarter. When it came time for tests or discussions – I could remember every page and what was on it – so I wasn’t necessarily learning but memorizing. I knew who every single person was at my schools and what page they were on – just from looking through the yearbook once. 
     
    Getting older and years of partying have dulled it so now I can barely remember anything. It’s weird because my family depended on me to remember everything and now it’s just gone. 

    • Like I mentioned in the post, I’ve got a highly specific audio version of that. Song lyrics just stick in my head. There are thousands in there dating back to when I was very small. It freaks people out when you know ALL the verses to “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I also astonished a street performer at Disney by being able to sing every Disney song he could crank out. 
       
      It’s getting harder to learn them as I get older, though. As a kid/teen, I could hear a song once. Now I have to hear it several times to lock it in. Plus I blank out occasionally on older songs. 

  7. There were many stories about Bunny Wailer being an Obeah Man. In one Chris Blackwell was looking for Bunny to renew his contract but couldn’t find him. He rewrote it, making it more favorable to Bunny, got in his car to drive to Bunny’s house, and he claimed that Bunny just appeared in the seat next to him. Bunny always denied this and the other crazy stories like it.
    But, my daughter did the same thing on more than one occasion. Once I was driving her to school, she was already late but got out of the car to get a book she had forgotten. I was irritated and sat in the car staring at the door leading into the house when I heard the car door open and she got in.  And I am not kidding, I never took my eyes off that door and she didn’t walk through it. She did the same thing at her job. She worked at a Coldstone Creamery. It was closing and she and her boss had finished cleaning up. She went to return something to the freezer while her boss waited. Like me he was annoyed and stood watching the door to the walk in freezer when she asked, from the front door where she stood, if he was ready to go. He swears she never came out of the freezer, and was sort of afraid of her after that. A few of her friends have similar stories. It’s very, very weird. I used to call her an Obeah Girl. Just like Bunny Wailer she denies having any special powers, but I don’t know. 

    • I didn’t know there was a term for that, but I, too, have been accused of “being able to walk through walls!” 
       
      But I DON’T, I promise!😉
       
      I just learned how to walk really fast, back when I was a kid…
       
      Because all of my cousins were at least 6″ taller than me, and if I wanted to go *anywhere* with them, I had to learn to walk fast, in order to keep up!😆😂🤣 

      • I’m a fast walker and my daughter learned it from me. She and my wife are the same size, but my daughter can keep up with me easily (and even outpace me) but my wife can’t keep up with either of us. When we walk anywhere together my daughter and I exchange many eyerolls. 

        • Ngl, it’s an EXCELLENT skill to have in a large crowd!😉
           
          ‘Cuz when you’re short, you can see the gaps in between people easier, and if you’re short *and* can walk fast, you can basically just cut right on through–because the tall folks will often give you grace “so you can see better”😉
           
          Of course, if I’m leading more than just *myself* through that crowd, whoever behind me had better be good at keeping up–or I’ll lose them about 5 feet into the crowd, and end up waiting 10 minutes, before *they* make it through on the other side!😉🤣

        • Shhhhhh @Hannibal!🤣😆😉
           
          I’ve said for decades now, that if we ever end up sliding into the Dominionist Theocracy that folks like Michele Bachmann & that ilk want, there’s a very good chance, that I could end up burned at the stake!🙃

  8. I have no unique powers. All dogs love me? Check. The infamous “glare”? Check. Maybe we could add intent interpretation, handy in meetings etc. “What X really meant to say was”, followed by folks going “Ohhh I see”. I think that is just a matter of taking the emotion out of the subject, however.

    • It probably also involves language and communication skills. You need to be able to rephrase things in ways that resonate better with the intended recipient. You’d probably kill at sales. 

    • I am (at least, when we are in the office) the accent interpreter at work. A lot of our IT people are from Russia, China, India, etc so can have a heavy accent. For some reason, I can understand the words coming out of their mouth, if not the actual topic (that’s someone else’s problem). So i was the repeater or question asker in a lot of meetings, even if i didn’t know wtf we were discussing, bc I am not IT.
       
      But i think a lot of people just check out when they hear an accent. I don’t know if this is laziness or unintentional xenophobia. But it’s like, cmon guys we’ve worked with this guy for 15 yrs, stop with the deer in headlights when he talks.

  9. My greatest stupid human tricks are probably 1. Memorizing inventories, and 2. being assumed “trustworthy”
    I definitely do have skills that overlap with many of y’all, too!😉
    I can walk almost silently, and have been accused of walking through walls and/or dissappearing/vanishing quickly, then popping back up.
     
    And I am OFTEN befriended by children, older folks, folks who have mental illnesses, and animals–including the ones who are “tricky” and “don’t like other people!”
     
    That last skill, tbqh, comes in very useful, at my work–to some extent, both jobs–i can set frustrated/agitated customers at ease, by getting them to focus on *our* interaction, and block out the things making them nervous/anxious/distracted–keeping them moving & engaged, and  keeping them from “getting caught in their head”… but I’m also often able to pull my kiddos out of a meltdown once I know them–or head off a meltdown *entirely,* annnnnd i heard from a former roommate who dealt with anxiety & panic attacks, that I was one of the most effective folks she’d ever known, at helping her out of one, or short-circuiting it before it could really take hold…
     
    It’s incredibly helpful,with my kiddos, too.
    Because I’m usually able to make fast inroads–even with the kiddos that other staff have a difficult time “bringing around”/making connections with–in particular, the kiddos who can’t/don’t use words to communicate.  
     
    For *whatever* reason, I’m usually able to understand them, and they understand me… which means I can build relationships with them pretty easily, and get in there & start shifting undesirable behaviors into ones that move them around in the world with a LOT more success.😉💖
     
    Regarding ability 1, I didn’t know this was “strange,” (because both my parents have that ability, too!), until I was at my first “real” job.  One time, a co-worker needed something from another room, but I was busy and couldn’t help her get it… she needed a certain quantity, and I explained, “I thiiiink we have just over 10 yards–it’s in the back room, second shelving section, third shelf from the bottom, aboutva foot from the left edge of the shelving unit–right about *here*” (holding my hand at the level where she’d find that particular roll of fabric)…
    She came back and asked “HOW IN THE HELLLLLL DID YOU DO THAT?!?!???” because it was exactly where I told her.
     
    I just looked at her, and said, “but I put it back, of COURSE I know where it goes–don’t you remember that sort of thing?…
     
    And that was when I began to learn that “normal people” apparently don’t just *automatically* register all the stupid little details of everyday life around them, as they move through their day/through the world!
     
    That was a head scratcher!😉🤣
     
    It’s honestly both a blessing AND a curse–especially at my current grocery store!  Because it means I can literally just walk up and down the aisles, *read* the inventory on the shelves, and KNOW (without needing to go into the computer/ordering gun system!🤨) what sku’s are *not* being ordered at all….
     
    But apparently my managers don’t/can’t do that, so they have NO IDEA that we are constantly & consistently under-ordering/mis-ordering goods…
     
    It also is the reason I got kicked off the grocery crew–because in addition to memorizing the locations of every item that we stock on our shelves, I also tend to remember the general dates when those items will be expiring (and which items dog out the fastest!), whiiiiich my current grocery manager interpreted ax me “trying to one-up” him🙃🙃🙃
     
    Because between me rotating dates, pulling “dead” dates, and asking, “Why haven’t we ordered _______ since….” he apparently feels like I’m too much of a threat.😕
    So he fed management *some* line about how my “hours of availability are just NOT compatible with grocery!” and got me switched to the front end.
     
    Otoh, though, my memorization helps a TON, when I need to shop *myself,* or if a customer needs help finding a desired item… typically, the ONLY way I can’t find it for them, is if we’re out of it (and I WILL find the shelf tag!), or if our store (small square footage) simply doesn’t carry that item.
     
    It also make me *aces* at things like volunteering at the Scholastic Book Warehouse😁 Because within my first 2 hour shift, I know where ALL the displayed books go, and by about day 2, I can find nearly *any* book a shopper may be looking for–without needing a scanner to find it😉
     
    So I get those shoppers in & out, FASTER, and with more of the books they were looking for in their shopping cart🤗
     

    • Inventory is one thing I’m not good at. I’ll buy books I’ve bought before, for example. Fortunately, my wife the librarian excels at remembering things. She can tell you every book in her entire library. 

      • “She can tell you every book in her entire library.”
         
        This, except *fabric* rather than books, was how I got put in charge of the inventory & ordering at that first job!😉
         
        Because I knew how much we had in stock, where it was, and who the suppliers were, I ended up starting off “doublechecking yardage to order”
        Because the husband of our owner, who *was* doing that job refused to admit he had red/purple colorblindness, and he was repeatedly ordering aubergine purples for things that needed burgundy, and vice-versa…
        When I asked if he wanted any help, because I could check on stuff we needed, while the table was cutting orders, he had me do a few…
         
        I wax good enough at it, that I was told by the consultant they brought in (who was also a funder in the business!), that in that first half-year i did it, I saved the company more than 10% over the previous year’s materials cost, and basically singlehandedly kept us financially able to continue in business.
         
        Got shafted later, of course, but it *was* a great set of numbers to have on my resume😉

  10. i share your superpower….even in work boots people do not hear me coming…. with a side of invisibility
    in a group of 3 people i can dissapear…. happens a lot at work…
    hey… is brodie here?
    *waves*
    did he oversleep again?
    *im standing right next to you you fucking dipshit*
    i fucking hate the screams tho……loud high pitched noises are my cryptonite
    my other superpower is atracting junks and dealers..be they looking to score or sell…they flock to me…. seems to work in every country ive been to so far
    was useful back when i partook….is a little awkward now.. guess i have the look

  11. DeadSplinterites are all sneaky footed ninjas!
     …or perhaps people generally have become complacent creatures and have lost the need/instinct to be aware of their surroundings at all times…
     
    My super power is party pooping and sneaking up on people ;P

  12. …I don’t think overthinking stuff necessarily makes it into superpower territory so much as resembling a curse sometimes…not least on account of it having a tendency to lead to my being better at seeing someone else’s point of view than they might be at seeing mine…although in fairness that might be due to an ability to make people’s eyes glaze over once I get going

    …I’ve certainly been told I have an unnatural ability to fit too much stuff in not enough space…that might just about make the grade…although sadly it only seems to work in a spatial sense when it would arguably be a lot more useful if it were a temporal knack…then I might have gotten to this a little less late?

  13. This gave me a chuckle. I share a few of the ones already listed and then a few others:

    • I’m light of foot despite being a larger fellow. I’m not quite full ninja, but I’ve been known to startle people.
    • My spatial reasoning is extremely strong. My wife has always marveled at my ability to eyeball leftovers and pick a container that will inevitably fit perfectly. This also applies to packing and storage. 
    • I definitely have the comedy gene, for better or (usually) for worse. I have to control my desire to make the best joke possible.
    • I’m extremely fast at basic math in my head. I’m not quite as dandy at it as I once was, but when I was a kid, my mom would use me as a calculator if she didn’t have one handy.

  14. I am also an office ninja. I’ve scared more coworkers out of their cubes than I can recall. And the ones I know are this way, i even try to not be quiet. Maybe it’s them too, but I’m just sneaky apparently.
     
    I can also smell and hear everything. This is annoying. Coworker eating greek yogurt or a banana seven rows over? I have to breathe into my sleeve for an hour. Trash needs to be taken out? I’m the only one who can tell. Dog barking or lawn mower 5 blocks away? I gotta know about it. Upstairs neighbor flushing toilet in the middle of the night? I’m up, too.

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