Underwater Basket Weaving
An utterly useless talent.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-02-12 12:15:15 sponsor: IridescentIndividual (last reply: 2012-08-28 11:27:00)

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Wow...Alice can balance a chopstick on her nose. And Bob can wiggle his ears and move his eyebrows independently. And Charlie can recite the names of every Egyptian emperor ever backwards.

Which is basically the equivalent of saying that they are an expert at Underwater Basket Weaving. It may be cool, weird, fun, or completely astonishing, but either way, it'll never be good for anything useful.

Sub-trope of What Kindof Lame Poweris Heart Anyway?

[Films]

  • In The Breakfast Club, Claire demonstrates her ability to apply lip color by tucking the lipstick into her bra and rubbing her mouth against it. Allison claims (but does not demonstrate) that she can write, eat, and play "Heart And Soul" on the piano with her toes.

[Manga]

  • In Sket Dance, Bossun has the power to... concentrate really well. Granted, it's fairly useful in a school setting, but other characters mercilessly lampshade what a boring ability it is.

[Literature]

  • In The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, they meet a girl in a sanitarium who spends all day reciting letters and numbers. Her doctors have figured out that she's accurately reciting the New York Stock Exchange daily trades in chronological order. However, she does it 24 hours after it happens; the doctors there think it's useless (if she were doing it 24 hours in advance that'd be different), ergo they don't really care why she's doing it. They even suspect that she's really faking it by somehow getting her hands on the numbers and memorizing them to repeat the next day.

[Comic Book]

  • Fantastic Four Mailman Willie Lumpkin wants to join the FF with his special ability - he can wiggle his ears.

[Webcomic]

  • In DMFA, the SAIA (The Succubus And Incubus Academy) has several courses that seem to specifically BE this. They mainly serve as an excuse for 'Cubi (who are, after all, mostly immortal) to stay in school for as long as they want, putting off having to face the largely-hostile world outside. "Oh no, I'm not ready to graduate yet, I need to finish my Grass-Growing coursework first!" Abel is a prime example, and gets called out on it once, to which he replies, "Hey! I'll have you know that grass-growing is a rewarding and therapeutic activity!"

[Tabletop Game]

  • The 6th Edition Hero System rulebook specifically states that a GM should not ask a player to spend points on skills/abilities like this.

[Real Life]

  • Underwater Basket Weaving is a real skill - certain plant materials can be woven while held underwater to keep them soft and bendable, then allowed to dry into a rigid, solid basket. Note also that only the basket is underwater, not the whole person weaving it.
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