There's a classic question that's gets asked by people whose desire to ask clever questions outstrips their ability to think of clever questions: Which superpower would you rather have, invisiblity or the power to fly?
Your answer to the question allows those people, whose desire to put people into boxes oustrips their ability to construct an adequate number of irregularly shaped boxes, to classify you as a either as creepy person eager to prey upon the weaknesses of others, or maybe gay. I'm not actually sure of the psychology behind that part, but my desire to continue typing words outstrips my ability to think complex thoughts today. Anyway, my point is that there's a much better question to ask during the conversational lull between "What do you do for a living?" and "Hold my drink for a sec so I can show you my rash."
The question is: What superpowers do you have?
Not which ones do you want, but which ones do you currently possess? I don't mean to get all self-esteemy on you, but I firmly believe that (almost) all of us have some things that we do at a nearly supernatural level.
Here are my superpowers:
- Crossing the Street: I am eerily good at crossing the street. While the rest of you are standing idly on the sidewalk, waiting for your color-coded idiot light to instruct you when it's safe to begin moving your legs again, I am already halfway down the block planning my assault on the next intersection. I cross the streets efficiently, safely, deftly, politely, and sometimes diagonally. I synthesize data from traffic light timing, vehicle speeds, and turn probabilities so elegantly that I am genuinely surprised that my efforts have not inspired onlookers to stop what they're doing and compose poetry in my honor.
- Choosing From a Menu: I am really really good at picking what to eat in restaurants. Is the menu gigantic, listing foods of many cuisines? They'll suck at almost all of them so order something simple like a burger. Are items surprisingly cheap? Avoid the meat products. Is it a well-regarded restaurant that's serving a vegetable you've always hated? Now's the time to try it again! I will admit that I occasionally order the wrong thing, but I can almost always figure out what went wrong and determine if the restaurant is crappy or if I just need to order something else. Everyone's taste buds are different, so I can't necessarily order the best thing for you, but sometimes superpowers aren't aimed at the common good.
- Picking a Line: Wondering which checkout line to get in at the supermarket? Watch and learn. First, spend a few seconds evaluating the choices. Sometimes a long line will go very quickly if a some of the people have very few items to buy. Avoid the lines containing the very old or the very lonely. Strongly consider the lines filled with people who look like they've mastered this exercise. At the grocery store, for example, I will gladly stand in a line filled with neatly dressed 40 year-old women sporting no-nonsense haircuts. They are checkout ninjas and will save you time. However, time, as we all know, is money. Money, of course, is the root of all evil. Thus, this particular superpower is well suited for supervillains, so use it wisely.