Monday, February 25, 2008

A Close Miss

For a few days there I thought I was going to have to move and change my name again, because Joel Rosenberg had betrayed my secret identity:
My daughter Rachel, unfortunately, inherited her father's (that's me) sense of direction; it sucks. (The only direction I'm really good at -- and, pinky swear, I'm terrific at it -- is downrange. Fairly frustrating when say, I get driving directions to somewhere, and it drives Bethke to distraction when we go deer hunting, as he's got a built-in compass and GPS that works more like a mutant power than anything else. But I digress.)
At first I was nervous, but then I decided it was time to stop living in the shadows. Yes, it's true; I have a mutant power. And back in the 1970s, as "The Navigator," I did wage an unending battle against — against, uh —


Seriously, I do have an innate sense of direction that amounts to what Heinlein in Glory Road called, "a bump of direction." I never get lost, and very rarely get disoriented for more than a few minutes. It drives my wife nuts, as she is, as she puts it, "directionally challenged."

The interesting part is, I never considered it unusual. From my point of view, it was everybody else who just wasn't paying attention to their surroundings and didn't know where the heck they were going. I've noticed this often, as I've had the good fortune to deal with people blessed with exceptional talents or unusual abilities. They rarely think of themselves as gifted. Rather, they tend to wonder why other people can't do what they do as if by reflex, and this puzzlement often expresses itself as impatience.

So those are today's questions: what's your mutant power? And what innate talents have you observed in others that you just can't emulate, no matter how hard you try?