In Holland there is a man who can regulate his body temperature just by thinking about it; in England there's a guy who can solve any mathematical equation in his head, as well as learn new languages in a week; and from my normal standing position, I can jump really, really high. The point is, there are legitimate superpowers in the world, and a few of us are lucky enough to enjoy them for no reason other than genetic providence. Are we the future of humanity? Are we destined for something greater than the rest of you? No one knows for sure. But probably yes.
And yet, for every person with an extraordinary gift, there are whole knots of normal people mistaking their asinine quirks for inherent abilities. They celebrate their meaningless talents loudly, and often, trying to convince anyone who will listen that they are super.
"Jesus, Kevin. Go back to your desk."
These people can't survive in ice water, or learn the subjunctive tense in 20 minutes, and they certainly can't jump onto really high stuff, like a dresser or something, if the floor suddenly turned to lava. However, that won't stop them from bragging unapologetically about their pointless "skills," particularly these five ...
Any time you go out to dinner with a group of people and the menu has a thermometer icon next to each entree, you can guarantee that one person in your group will order the spiciest meal possible as a matter of pride. They don't do it necessarily because they think they'll enjoy the meal -- in fact, they will likely weep and sweat through the whole thing -- they do it because they want everyone at the table, everyone on the wait staff and everyone in the kitchen to think, "Ah, now this person is really something special."
That's not to say that there aren't people who genuinely enjoy a little kick in their food; entire countries aren't making their traditional dishes as dares, after all. But there's a special subset of people who will use any opportunity to demonstrate their tolerance for pain, even something as benign as a meal. Consequently, there's no chance they will eat it quietly, either. They will let everyone else at the table know between each bite, each labored swallow, that "This is nothing" and "I'm from (insert culture that has to hide the taste of spoiled meat), now they know spicy!"
Worst of all, if you happen to live with one of these people, each meal is a harbinger of domestic terrorism. Regardless of anyone's ability to choke down hot food through sheer will, that will has no say on the final product that fires back out of the body a couple hours later. Taste bud sensitivity may vary from person to person, but butts are all pretty much the same, and they don't like habaneros.
"Honey? Do you smell a tire fire?"
So if you're the type of person who eats extremely spicy food just to prove a point, you should know that you're not commanding the hushed respect of everyone around. They are silent because they are listening for the screams of your lower intestine so they know how much time is left before they have to flee.
While clearly aiming for the same sort of superpower as the Buddhist monks who can raise their body temperature through meditation, this type of person looks forward to winter all year long because his entire sense of self is dependent on his tolerance for cold weather. During the first blizzard of the season, he is already out in the streets, not to build snowmen or have a snowball fight, but to conspicuously wear a T-shirt and accuse everyone else of going soft. For this person, gloves, jackets and hats are symbols of defeat, and everyone else might as well be bundled up in white flags of submission to the elements.
In addition, he will tell you for as long as you will listen about some city or town he lived in that isn't here and how, because the winters there are so wet/so dry/so northerly/so high in elevation, he experienced a type of cold you couldn't possibly conceive of with your tiny, wool-clad mind. As a result, he is immune to temperatures that would kill someone as fragile as you.
"Nice fur coat, pussy."
I know this guy because I used to be him. I grew up in the mountains of Colorado and moved to Los Angeles, where people use an overcast day as an excuse to climb into "winter wear." But I'm willing to admit that even Los Angeles gets legitimately cold sometimes, and no one was falling over in admiration when I'd wear shorts in January and call everyone else cowards.
Incidentally, the people who wrap themselves in confidence instead of polypropylene each winter are the same people who refuse to admit when they're sick. Instead, they will chalk up their impacted sinuses and four-month cough to allergies.
Each night while you are unconscious in some dark room for six to 10 hours, caving to your own weakness, there are apparently hundreds of people with a stronger nature than yours living their goddamn lives and getting tons of really important shit done. They are the sleep anorexics, and for such a frenzied, fast-paced group, they sure seem to have a lot of time to hang around telling you exactly how little sleep they're getting.
Also, they are incapable of quantifying their sleep schedule one night at a time; they can only understand it in three- or four-day chunks. "I've slept five hours in the last three days," they will laugh, or "I'm running on seven hours sleep for the entire week. It's crazy."
Sleep anorexics' self-esteem is not proportional to how little sleep they get -- it's directly proportional to how little sleep they get compared to you. They are all participating in a secret competition of who can stay up the longest, so when you say you slept well last night, they will only nod smugly and think about how they left another feeble loser in the dust.
"Oh, you dozed off at work? Well I blinked on a subway train and woke up in a soup kitchen. And I still got my presentation done."
But like a child who tries to stay up all night in a desperate attempt to feel powerful, eventually these people crash, falling into deep, slack-jawed sleep in movies, meetings, bars and pretty much anywhere that requires sitting still for more than two minutes at a time.