Greatest unusual "skill" you've seen someone demonstrate

Most of us are fascinated by the unusual. We stare transfixed and probably make judgements on whether it’s a good thing, or not, that we’re incapable of the same task. An entire industry, the carnival, makes a living on our unwillingness to turn away.

Do you know anyone who’s had a particularly unusual talent? For some reason a kid I knew years ago just popped into mind, and I thought I’d share his gift.

This was at summer camp and he was just a cute, normal lookin’ little fella, probably about 10 or so. But he could gulp down mouthfuls of air for a couple of minutes, audibly forcing them into his distinded stomach, and then he’d let fly with the most enormous, freakishly gutteral, call the back pasture, scare the cat burp that you ever could imagine. It was the most bizarre sight… this cute little kid going “BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRPPPPPPPP” for easily well over a minute.

Needless to say, since we were only 14 or so ourselves, we absolutely howled with laughter whenever the kid would sound off. Even on closing day, when all the parents and families had assembled for closing ceremonies and a counselor got him to do it one last time, literally hundreds of people were clutching their sides with laughter after Kenny let fly with one last, memorable gush.

What tremendous talents have you been witness to or, possibly, might possess yourself?

I had a friend that could do that, too. Nice.

Oh, and to the OP…

I regretably have no particular talents myself. Sorry.

I had a friend in High School that could vomit on command.

I have a friend who, at least at that point, wouldn’t float. This was before she went through puberty and she had so little body fat that she could actually sink in the pool.

I never thought of it as a skill, but that was me pre-puberty as well. It was very difficult to get your swimming merit badge when you just sank like a rock when you tried to do a dead-man’s float.

I knew a guy in Prague who was a professional juggler, rode around on a six foot unicycle juggling bowling pins and the like. He could pick up a chair or a bar stool and balance it by one leg on the tip of his finger with very little movement for a long, long time. It was pretty cool.

Although I’ve never seen it in person, my vote goes for cup stacking.

I know a guy who is ambidextrous. He can write the same sentence simultaneously with both hands, with the left hand creating a mirror image of what the right hand is doing. He can do this either right side up or upside down, too, in cursive.

I’m a bit of a contortionist - not like Cirque de Soleil good or anything, but I can certainly entertain people at parties.

Also, nervey pressure points and things don’t work on me which many people find super amusing.

When I was a freshman in college, there was a guy named Calvin who used to amuse everyone by farting tunes. He could actually control the pitch of his farts. Once Calvin farted “The Stars and Stripes Forever” while waiting in line at the school cafeteria. This was a memorable experience, although it wasn’t much of an appetite-enhancer.

I’m intrigued by anyone who can pass themself through an unstrung tennis racquet. (Even more so if it’s strung, but I haven’t actually seen that.)

I can apply lipstick from a tube held between my breastesses. Oh wait, that wasn’t me.

I know all sorts of people with unusual skills.

My friend David Alexander is one of the world’s greatest and fastest silhouette artists. He can cut a perfect silhouette of a subject in 90 seconds, and I’ve seen him do it dozens of times. There’s a nice sequence of pictures here.

I also know Dominic O’Brien, the eight times world memory champion. I’ve seen him memorise a shuffled deck of 52 cards in about 40 seconds. This is way off his personal best which is 28 seconds. I’ve also seen him memorise a random 100 digit number in just over 3 minutes and then recite it back.

My friend Richard Saunders in Sydney is a very proficient origami artist. He can fold amazingly intricate ‘miniature’ figures of dinosaurs, animals, birds etc. with remarkable fluidity and ease, scarcely even looking at his hands or thinking about what he’s doing. And the figures are really intricate and complex (and he designs his own fgures).

I know lots of strangely wonderful people like this!

My college Physics professor concluded the last day of class by riding around the lecture desk on a unicycle and playing the fiddle.

I can do that, it does not get the ladies attention like you might expect. I was told as a juvenile that it would hurt my vocal cords, and although I’ve never had a medical professional tell me the same, my voice does crack more often than a late-twenties guy would like.

I can also eat lightbulbs, minus the metal part.

At age 34, I still don’t float. I don’t think of it as a “special skill” so much as a “potential plane-crash liability,” though.

At a church camp once, in the mid-1980s, I met a girl who could move her eyes completely independently of one another, like a chameleon. It was unsettling.

A few weeks ago at a party there was a guy who could dislocate both shoulders. He could raise his arms over his head from behind (with someone holding them up, of course), he could pull his arm behind his head so that the crook of his elbow was almost touching the opposite shoulder, and he could even wrap his arm completely around his head and touch the ear on the same side as the arm.

No fair crushing them into powder first – I wanna see shards, and yer gonna chew 'em.

Yep. just like that. It’s all about technique, although I can’t just take a bite like an apple. :slight_smile: I even did it in front of high school history class once, many, many years ago.

Kid Kalhoun can snort up a “bead” chain (you know what I’m talking about…they’r featured in toilets and lamps) and cough the end out his mouth and run it back and forth a few dozen times. It’s horrifying.

He can also take off his underwear without taking off his pants.

(Did I mention he’s almost 30?)

I can do the one hand clapping that someone once wrote in to Cecil to mention. It’s in one of the books. I’ve tried so many times to show people how to do it, but most of them can’t follow the directions.

I can squirt tears from my lachryimal ducts at high pressure. When I was a kid, I could get 7-8 feet. Alas, as an adult, it just tends to kinda foam up around my eye (it only works out of the right side).

When I went to Disneyworld with my Mom, Cheez_Whia, and my sister, niece and nephew, I saw the greatest chicanery I’ve ever seen - from a store clerk. He was amazing.