It is a truth insufficiently universally acknowledged that people have superpowers: those weird things we can just do. We call them knacks, or gifts, or being a “natural” at things, but really, they’re superpowers. Others can learn the skills in question, but there are things we’re each born with.
For instance, I have a secret affinity with electrostatic* reproduction machines. Photocopiers and laser printers yield their rumpled and mutilated papers and squeeze out their last grains of toner when I lay hands upon them. I can tickle their sensors in just the right way to clear phantom jams, and when I riffle the paper in the paper tray, it feeds more smoothly than when anyone else has touched the stack.
The implications of this little quirk have always intrigued me. It’s clearly the product of nature, not nurture, since I wasn’t exactly trained in copier-whispering from earliest childhood†. So what if I’d lived a hundred years ago, before laser printers were invented? Would I still have the gift, but nowhere to exercise it?
And then comes the corollary: what superpowers do I have that I will never be able to use? Could I cook the tastiest grubs ever, if I was born into in a community that ate them? Would I have Kaylee’s knack with spaceship engines, if I lived in a society that flew among worlds?
Tell me about your current superpowers. Speculate about your past and future ones. Let’s form a League.
* but not letterpress, hot metal, inkjet, or daisy wheel
† unlike contract law, in which I was so trained