Press "Enter" to skip to content

Friday Freedom Question: What’s your superpower?

Okay, I presume you don’t have x-ray vision and you can’t deflect machine-gun rounds with your cool and stylish bracelets. If you turn into a giant green thug when something triggers you, I don’t want to know.

But what trait do you have that you secretly think sets you above your peers? Leaving aside highly developed skills or book-learned knowledge for the moment, is there something about your character, behavior, or innate talents that you’re very proud of or that might cause others to turn to you, confident that you can handle yourself?

For instance, you might be an exceptional problem solver. Or the person who’s always calm when others are losing their heads. The guy who can work 18 hours without flagging or the woman who can almost miraculously calm fussy children. Were you born with some innate understanding of machinery? Or of human emotions? Do you have heightened ability to bear heat or cold? Can you hear things others can’t? Can you put your hand on a piece of wood or marble and “see” the figure that might emerge from it, as Michelangelo reportedly could? Are you psychic? Or unusually adept at recognizing patterns? Were you born with perfect pitch? Can you discern very large prime numbers in your head or effortlessly memorize the history of British royalty?

Your superpower might be something useful every day, useful only in a pinch, or completely useless to anybody but you. But it’s something you know you can do outstandingly well.

It may be something that anyone could see fits with your persona, or something nobody would expect. I recall one teenage boy, for instance, who was as unprepossessing and unpromising as teen boys tend to be. He lived for video games, lurched from one stupid move to another, and did everything he could to avoid work. But present this kid with an emergency — any emergency from somebody going into insulin shock to an accident on the freeway with multiple victims and detached limbs — and you’d think he was a medical pro. Unflappable, capable, prepared, quick to act, comforting, and utterly unlike his everyday self. The transformation was astonishing. (Naturally, he went into EMT training; smart boy.)

My own superpowers, on the other hand, are fairly useless, mostly involving aesthetics. I had a severely autistic relative who could barely communicate, but who could tell you what she ate, wore, and did on any given date in her past. Useless. But impressive.

So it could be nearly anything. But I’m asking: what’s your superpower?

Bonus question (should you care to reveal it, which I expect many of you won’t): What’s your Kryptonite? What one thing is likely to reduce you to paralysis or blubbering ineffectiveness?


  1. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran January 26, 2018 10:52 am

    I’m a friendly and steady guy, day in and day out, I strive to be this way. The reason I was/am this way was my upbringing and for the love of my wife, me loving her and she loving me. When I lost her this past June, that proved to be my Kryptonite, I was a hot mess until the New Year, when I vowed to move forward in life and I’m doing that taking small steps!

  2. Fred M.
    Fred M. January 26, 2018 11:20 am

    rochester_veteran my sincere condolences on your loss. It is never easy to lose a loved one, especially if you were close. Time really is the great equalizer; Talk to her when you have time, I’m sure she can hear you.
    Be well!

  3. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran January 26, 2018 12:19 pm

    Thanks Fred M,! I appreciate your kind and consoling words!

  4. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal January 26, 2018 12:55 pm

    Unless you count the unnatural ability to find and collect women who are really bad for me, I don’t think I have a superpower. Oh, I also repel money almost supernaturally.

  5. Comrade X
    Comrade X January 26, 2018 1:30 pm


    I can bury you in it!

  6. Pat
    Pat January 26, 2018 1:56 pm

    I listen – to words and meanings, to nuances, to the “feel” and context of the conversation, in order to understand and communicate correctly.

    The youngest in a family of five, and overruled by two older brothers and (shall we say) an _aggressive_ father, I was given little attention when it came to what I had to say. So I did a lot of thinking for myself – and kept it to myself. Likewise in nursing, it was the patients who were most important, so I listened to them in order to help, and to transfer their concerns and needs to the proper source.

    I learned how to evaluate what I was hearing, to understand both sides, and to “walk in the other person’s shoes” before judging. I don’t always succeed at this, but I try.

  7. larryarnold
    larryarnold January 26, 2018 2:09 pm

    I’m pretty good at stringing words together.

    Kryptonite? Procrastination, without a doubt.

  8. ellendra
    ellendra January 26, 2018 2:27 pm

    I actually do have super-hearing. A problem with the skin inside my ear canals left them extremely sensitive. It’s listed in my medical record as a disability, so I guess that’s both a power and a kryptonite. I have to carry earplugs everywhere because most places are just too loud. And I can’t filter sounds very well, so crowded rooms are hard to deal with.

    On the other hand, I can hear a mouse moving in the grass 50 feet away.

    Aside from the hearing, I’m good with plants. I’m fairly good at MacGyvering solutions to problems. In a crisis, I am able to hold off on the panic until after it’s over. All useful, but I’m not sure if they qualify as super-powers.

    My biggest weakness is my fear of messing up or doing the wrong thing in front of somebody. I prefer to spend my time alone.

  9. Raz Raxxaffian
    Raz Raxxaffian January 26, 2018 3:14 pm

    The ability to communicate with mechanical devices. I have very little understanding of people and social situations, and appear to be the Neandertal when invited to a social gathering. Act a bit Asperger-like. But I understand things that ail electrical and mechanical devices, and can diagnose their issues with unnerving accuracy, making folks around me just a bit nervous. I parlayed this ability into a long career of designing and repairing mechanical and electronic devices, getting some trademarks, patentable processes, and whatnot along the way.

    Even retired, I can still, on a good day, diagnose an automotive issue just by listening, not needing to examine the vehicle. Same with computers, from mainframes to laptops.

    Weird? Unbelievable? Yes, but true. Can fix about anything, whether I have ever seen or used it before.


  10. ~Qjay
    ~Qjay January 26, 2018 3:16 pm

    I can spell (almost) any word used in a normal conversation. Most abnormal conversations, as well. 🙂
    But I love to help people learn how to help themselves. I’ll bend over backwards to teach people how to get out of the hole they are in. I’ve learned cynicism over the years, but it doesn’t stop me from trying to help, just makes me wait for people to ask instead of running forward to offer.

  11. Jim Brook
    Jim Brook January 26, 2018 4:12 pm

    I’m a master of the painfully obvious. I seem to be able to explain subjects that seem obvious to me, to make them understandable.

  12. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson January 27, 2018 3:45 am

    I’m not good at evaluating my own strengths. Always seeing the defects, always feeling a bit inadequate, always striving to be better. However, people over the years have told me I’m their go-to person for sorting out interpersonal conflicts, or grasping economic inter relationships. My fellow buyers like to go to dinner with me because they call it “Story Time With Ron,” so I must spin a good tale, though I can’t write them with a darn.

  13. MP
    MP January 27, 2018 6:50 am

    In college, a test of field independence (the ability to see patterns in the midst of background noise as indicative of a learning style) showed me off the charts in that ability. Helps, I suppose, to compensate somewhat for the red-green colorblindness. I am very good at thinking outside the box and coming up with creative solutions to problems, and I keep my head well in a crisis. The flip side of that is my often less than acceptable social skills to the point of appearing utterly dispassionate and uncaring at times and a fair degree of social awkwardness in many circumstances. I once commented to my wife that I thought I must fall on the autism spectrum somewhere given some of these traits. She initially laughed wildly, then got quite serious and decided I must be right… I not only tolerate cold well, I love it being something of a biological blast furnace. Heat and humidity, on the other hand, wilt me faster than a flame thrower on a weed. I suppose my last super power is the ability to deal with solitude better than anyone I know (though others here probably outdo me there). I enjoy going days or weeks alone. Balancing kryptonite is that after just a short time in a party or crowd I am getting jittery and tense and looking for a way out and I need hours of solitude to recover.

  14. Jolly
    Jolly January 27, 2018 3:20 pm

    I never get jet lag. Not particularly useful since I prefer to travel by automobile.

  15. StevefromMA
    StevefromMA January 28, 2018 7:24 pm

    I’m good at reasoning, abstract, as well as analysis and synthesis. These strengths have not improved my earning abilities through the decades, however. Mr. Market required freedom from Fear and Greed, kryptonite for me in the stock market.

  16. david
    david January 29, 2018 11:05 am

    Well, it’s not exactly something that sets me above my peers, but total strangers seem to want to tell me their entire life’s story shortly after we meet – often to include things they hide from other people. Maybe my ‘power’ is to not freak out and start shouting “T M I, T M I”.

    In a more ‘practical’ vein, I’ve been told that I can “weaponize anything”. (Maybe NOT so ‘practical’, eh?) Not that said ‘skill’ has ever been put to a test however.

  17. Keith Flick
    Keith Flick January 30, 2018 9:57 am

    My superpower was very useful for the businesses I worked for (and for my current self employment). I can take a list of what a customer says they want in a new device or product and with a couple of hours of conversation I can write the engineering specification for what they ACTUALLY want and need. Which is almost always nowhere near what they originally thought they needed. 🙂

Leave a Reply