There was a study in Russia of a man (left unnamed, referred to as Mr. X in the study) who had hyperthymesia, meaning he was born without the ability to forget anything. Phone numbers, bank accounts, scripts and books, snippets of conversation, emotions both good and bad, sensations both good and bad... well, you get the picture. He was almost normal until his mid-20s, when the information overload started getting to him. He committed suicide at the age of 32.
Jill Price is famous for having the same ability as the man above. Initially, the ability to remember everything in your life sounds tremendously useful. Teacher gives a lecture? Hey, no problem, you remember it! Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Jill's ability, as with most people who have this, is autobiographical memory only. She can remember that on X date thirty years before she was sitting in a high-school class at 10:15 AM listening to a lecture on history. But she can't remember the lecture itself, she only remembers where she was, what she was doing, what she was wearing, etc. — autobiographical information. Actual useful information? No.
Cells in the body, for various reasons, can only divide a certain number of times; this is essentially why we age. But some cells are blessed with the ability to keep dividing forever! The downside? Well, they're called cancer cells.
Henrietta Lacks found a way to live forever — as a spreading strain of immortal human cells! Now the HeLa cells are seen as more of a nuisance since they're apparently all over the place — and they like to corrupt other samples of other cells.
In extreme cases, such as athletics or basic training injuries, a person can become so conditioned to working through pain that they can no longer feel it under certain conditions. The down side? You don't know you're tired until you collapse.
The same is true of people with the rare condition CIPA: Congenital Insensibility to Pain, which essentially takes the form of a complete loss of the sense of touch. Can't feel heat or cold, aren't even slowed down by sucking chest wounds, pretty awesome crimefighting power right? Well, it would be if they also had a healing factor to go with it. As is, they risk permanently destroying their bodies at any time because they don't even notice it's hurt. Or that their hand in sizzling on the grill at the moment. Or that they haven't eaten in 5 days. Or that they need to pee. On a hot day, they may pass out or even die because their body doesn't figure it should be sweating.
There's an article on the NYT about a girl with CIPA. Imagine having a child who's chewed off part of her own tongue, or runs on broken ankles, or sits covered in biting ants. There's then an anecdote from an adult woman with CIPA whose pelvis shattered during childbirth and was bleeding internally, and only felt a kind of stiffness.
On the other hand, blood plasma inverts the recipient/donor relationship. Oľ blood plasma can only be donated to other Oľ people and Oľ people can take blood plasma of any type. AB+ blood plasma becomes the universal donor and also can only take blood plasma from other AB+ donors. It's good to donate blood whatever your blood type is!
Savant syndrome, in come cases. The notable being Kim Peek (the "real-life" basis for the Rain Man).
Simply being taller than other guys simply means more people will badger you to do any heavy lifting they have. Even if the five-foot-five guy next to you can bench press five hundred pounds, The Big Guy must move any and all sofas.
While this is more of an inconvenience than anything, a better (well, worse) example is that taller people have a statistically shorter lifespan simply because the circulatory system has to work harder to get their blood all around the body. Height does not have a big impact on lifespan. There is nothing one can do anyways, so they might as well deal with what they have and be happy. Besides, eating a healthy and balanced diet with many food groups, not doing bad drugs, not smoking, not drinking beer or alcohol a lot, exercising daily, and getting regular medical checkups all have a much bigger impact on making lifespan longer than height does.
You also tend to bump your head more often.note That would be Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking if not for the fact that people get concussions from bumping their heads.
Barack Obama. On the plus side he was elected as President. On the downside he was elected during a time with a recession, two wars, crumbling infrastructure, very angry people on both sides, healthcare reform, myriad foreign affairs difficulties, and environmental degradation of various types to name a few. He himself admitted that in this case, as winner, he might want to request a recount. The Onion simply had an article titled "Black man given worst job in nation".
Being president or in any sort of position of power in general sounds problematic.
Jon Stewart even lampshaded this in one pre-election interview with Obama.
Obama's predecessor, by comparison, inherited an economy that was seriously suffering thanks to the bursting of the tech bubble, and a terrorist threat that had been allowed to grow unchecked for the previous eight years, which was about to culminate in the worst attack on the United States by a foreign enemy since at least Pearl Harbor. Every President in history has inherited serious problems from his predecessor (Washington not excepted, since he certainly inherited serious problems from the Continental Congress).
Being generally lucky can be seen as this. Sure, it sounds great — events just happen to fall your way — but it's ridiculously easy to start depending on to the detriment of developing skills and abilities...why learn how to do things when things go your way anyway? Oh, and it could randomly stop at any time, which could leave you in quite the difficult position if you've been relying on your luck to see you through.
The same arguments could also apply to potential "gold-diggers" (whether greedy, or unintentional), where the "luck" happens to be the luck of being born conventionally beautiful.
Cracked gives us a list of 5 things we think will make us happy, but won't. Fame, Wealth, Beauty, Genius, and Power. For example: You know how people always laugh when a CEO who earns 100 times more than the average guy says he's unhappy with it? The average American earns over 100 times more than someone in Nigeria, which usually comes up on surveys as the happiest country in the world.
Being a perfectionist sounds like it would lead to nothing but success and high achievement, right? Those who think that conflate having high standards for oneself with being perfect. In reality, it almost invariably leads to low self-esteem, depression, and procrastination. The first two occur as a result of seeing what are supposed to be ideals as goals that they actually are trying to reach and get disappointed when they cannot. Procrastination occurs as a result of the idea that everything must be perfectly planned out before starting something.
Perfectionism is a curse to those who are afflicted. Sometimes the very thought of something not being exactly right can cause a project/paper/whatever to be scrapped as a failure.
Ironically it could result in the perfectionist seeing uncaring and stupid people as Cursed with Awesome, as they are largely unaware of their own talents. A perfectionist would see a 98% as failing by 2%, while an ignorant person would consider 98% a huge improvement over 75%.
Having absolute pitch has a few downsides, leading some people to regard it as this. One twentieth-century musicologist actually tried to get rid of it, by playing the developments of Beethoven piano sonatas over and over in all possible keys.
Relative pitch really helps when it comes to singing, especially from memory. It sucks whenever someone is singing around a person with relative pitch, and the singer is slightly (or not-so-slightly) flat or sharp. The person with relative pitch can ALWAYS tell.
Kids in gifted programs. They get more, and harder, schoolwork dumped on them, because they were designated as smart in an IQ test (which isn't even a completely accurate measure of intelligence). Even more painful for gifted kids who are Brilliant, but Lazy. Apparently, school officials have zero idea that not every "gifted kid" is a child genius who is fed up with the ridiculously easy lessons his/her regular classroom offers and wants harder challenges.
Can also be the opposite in some schools. Often times, gifted children will be forced to stay in the same grade as their peers in the same age group because of their age (inverse to the "social grade promotion" idea) and will often be easily bored due to having already learned, if not mastered, the subject material. Also a major cause of why nerds are bullied. This can also lead to the "big fish little pond" effect, in that the person may attend a school with mostly average intelligence people, and end up switching schools or going to a good college and finding out they are not the smartest person in the world.
Also, just intelligent children in general. Sure, you can grasp many subjects quickly; but adults think you are smart enough to handle your own social problems as well or deal with stress better than your peers.
Any talented kid in general. For example, a kid who is very talented in drawing and painting may be given extra art projects or may be called upon to create art for the school. But when the kid is tired, needs a break or just isn't in the mood, people belittle them for it, as if they're supposed to do nothing else. Apparently, some people are incapable of understanding that just because someone has a talent does not mean they want to spend every minute of the day doing it.
Addendum with arty people in general. If you're doing some sort of art project at your work/study place and always get called upon to do the posters, the invitations, the writing and sometimes even the presentations, it can be annoying.
It gets worse if you somehow beat the odds and manage to make a living doing artwork, because you'll have people who like and want art, but don't value artistic ability as a skill. It's a talent, so it doesn't count as work and isn't worth money, therefore the artist should be grateful to be paid "in exposure" or "to have something to add to their portfolio" instead of, y'know, actual money.
Worse, people with talent often don't have to learn how to work for most of their formative years. You can just coast by in school. Then, you hit college or enter the workforce or meet some other wall where your natural brilliance isn't enough. Not only do you not have a work ethic or good work habits, you're far more likely to attribute success purely to "talent" rather than to work and simply give up (having reached your "limits") rather than buckle down and keep struggling like the kids who had to do that their whole life.
There's also the issue that high intelligence leads to difficulty and frustration trying to relate to people who don't get things as fast as you do, which leads to alienation and social isolation.
Adults with a high IQ. (Folks who join IQ societies often realize they aren't so crazy in thinking this.)
Lizzie Velasquez is a woman who suffers from a rare disease called neonatal progeroid syndrome (NPS). She consumes as much as 8,000 calories a day, yet is still extremely thin at only 56 lbs (25.4 kg or 4 stone).
Brooke Greenberg may hold the secret to immortality, or the very least how aging works. She has stayed the same physical and mental age for years. That age? 9 months to 1 year old.
She passed away on October 23, 2013, so "holding the secret to immortality" is right out.
There are genetic conditions which result in increased muscle mass in comparison to the general public. The downside? Your heart and lungs do not scale accordingly, putting constant increased stress on them, which guarantees a shorter life expectancy.
Conversely, anacondas and other large constrictors can swallow prey as big as they are, and go for months without eating. The catch? They need that downtime in order to regenerate their stomach lining, which tears itself apart with ulcers trying to digest its meal before it starts rotting inside the snake.
Flying is generally considered awesome. Unfortunately for the birds, this requires extensive adaptation with hollow, fragile bones, extensive lungs, and a hyperactive diet to fuel everything (sparrows are said to eat twentyfive times its own weight each day). They literally have no room for anything else but flying.
People with ADD are capable of thinking outside the box easily, quickly, and can absorb information (if it is interesting). Also, they are very lively and can "hyperfocus" (being able to focus on activities or tasks without a thought to anything or anyone else). Unfortunately, these tend to be the downsides of ADD as well. Try going to sleep when you can't stop thinking about the horror movie you saw two hours ago. People with the hyperactive version as well (ADHD). It's pretty easy to get some exercise, as you're constantly full of energy and have no problem getting out and running for an hour. But on the downside, sitting or standing still for a mere 60 seconds is difficult and, in some cases, nearly impossible. Good luck getting through that test.
An extremely mundane example of Type 4 Blessed with Suck may be imagination. It has a lot of advantages, and without it, we'd probably still be living in trees. If your imagination is particularly strong, you gain a serious edge in the creative fields like music, writing and art. You also have the ability to entertain yourself, "create" people and places that never existed, and escape boring routine. The flip side, however, is the danger of squandering your talent for dreaming because you weren't paying attention when more pragmatic associates were. Still worse is the fact that no-one can imagine only nice things. A vivid imagination can conjure up worst case scenarios and leave a person seeing visions of terror while more grounded people are left wondering what's wrong with them. Some studies claim that imagination and creativity are linked to mental illness as a result. That said, most people take great pride in their imagination and creativity, and would never give it up.
A lot of evidence points towards a relationship between creativity and madness.
Borderline disabled people; normal, but not; as mentioned before, partially disabled, but not entirely disabled in a wheel chair. Not normal enough to be accepted in the mainstream, not disabled enough to be accepted with the disabled people.
Young looking people. If you're a teenager who looks like a young child, you can get away with a lot. If you're an adult, you'll retain that youthful beauty longer than most. Meanwhile, be prepared for the hassle it'll be getting to actually exercise your adult privileges. When you're buying alcohol, you know you're going to get carded. when you expect it and have your ID out, they'll think you're suspicious.
Chris Colfer was once pulled over because the cop thought he was too young to drive.
Childhood and adulthood are this, if you think about it. When you're a child, you don't have to worry about paying the bills or buying the groceries, but you're to live under other people's rules and are powerless to change to those rules if you don't like them. You either obey or face the consequences. When you're an adult, you're free to do whatever you want (get drunk, party until 4 AM, run around with 100 guys/girls, etc), but you're also responsible for everything and you have to rely on yourself to get the bills paid, laundry done, house cleaned and whatever. Which really means life in general sucks when you think about it.
People with long hair. Generally, the longer hair is, the more beautiful it's considered to be. But as anyone with long hair will tell you, it's a pain in the neck to take care of and the longer it is, the more maintenance it requires. Hip-length hair can take as much as two bottles of shampoo to wash thoroughly. Longer hair is also heavier, tangles more easily and tends to get in your face unless you tie it in a ponytail or bun or use a bunch of clips. Unsurprisingly, this is why some people decide to cut their hair, sometimes even shorter than shoulder-length.
Being born on February 29th during a leap year is a pretty unique and special thing, there's only 5 million people worldwide who have that. However it will create a lot of headaches because some computers don't recognize February 29th as a date, so you'll have difficulty getting a driver's license, health card, applying for a job or insurance, etc. Plus all the typical birthday perks like free meals at restaurants and such that you're going to miss out on or have to fight to receive.
Synesthesia. This is when peoples' senses are linked in intricate ways, like seeing a different colour every time you hear a different sound, or associating a certain emotion with a number. The variations are possibly endless. Sounds cool at first, but it can also be negative. For example, you might taste chocolate every time you saw the colour brown, but what if you associated it with poop instead?
People who happen to be extroverted may be this. It might cool to be able to hit it off instantly with new people or be invited to every party. But what happens when you finally get tired and want some down time? Everyone will act like you've fallen under clinical depression just because you didn't go to the club that night and stayed home reading instead. This can be worse if you've always been outgoing since childhood.
And this works the other way around with introverted people. While you are able to spend your time alone, doing what you want to do, it can be difficult to form social connections with people. Being introverted is also seen by a lot of people as simply being lazy, or Brilliant, but Lazy at best.
Also, some people associate introversion with emotional problems. In other words, some people believe that a person who is introverted is that way because they have some underlying issue going on that they are not addressing. Likewise, some people believe that a person who is extroverted couldn't possibly have any problems going on, otherwise, they'd withdraw and become shy.
Being able to cook is this. On the plus side, you don't have to rely on somebody else to provide you with a meal your digestive system or taste buds can tolerate. On the minus side, you'll be in demand to cook for people without that skill at all times, often to the point where you have no downtime or time to execute your other demanded duties.
Being able to sew carries a similar problem.
Passion can both help and hurt a relationship, since passion often involves heightened emotions, both good and bad. Yeah, your significant other can be romantic, sensual and have a great joie de vivre, but it can also mean they have a bad jealous streak and a really nasty temper.
Being born in a show business family and deciding to enter show business too. You may be reasonably well off, may know a bit more about the industry than others starting out, and you might get by default a little more name recognition, but it's a human version of Tough Act to Follow. You are constantly in the shadows of your famous siblings/parents/relatives, you constantly have to deal with accusations of nepotism or of using connections to get your foot in the door, and you're not often taken seriously enough (or taken seriously for all the wrong reasons) no matter how gifted and passionate you may be at your job, because you happen to come from a family of show business stars. Your work is partly judged on the reputation of that last name (it may also depend on how one feels about that famous relative in the first place), and if you don't measure up to the high expectations of that last name, you might be considered a failure even if you have a considerable talent in your own right. (This may be true of any profession, but especially so with show business.) Bonus points if, well, you're So Beautiful, It's a Curse, too. Often, some stars might take a stage name to avoid all of this.
Some schools of thought encourage people with dyslexia to think of it as a gift rather than a curse. Sure, Dyslexics can think outside the box, and are often very creative and intelligent, but many of them still can't read properly or cope with problems that other people find simple. Even those who don't get as much trouble from the most common problems associated with the condition have to deal with their brain feeling like an overcrowded freeway.
Artistic ability. People will generally appreciate art, music, and culture, and creativity is almost always a benefit, but the the work is often unsteady and, anytime there's an economic downturn, they're usually the first things that get cut down on (the arts are frequently the first victims of budget cuts in schools, people are less likely to go to concerts and museums if they're broke, etc.) The morning talk shows will frequently compile lists of the worst or most "useless" majors, with the fine arts such as literature, music, and theater often being on the top of the list.
The opposite, scientific ability, counts too. While science, math and logic are considered to be much more valuable, the reality is that they are also much more stressful. People in careers that relate to science, such as doctors or chemists, tend to have a higher stress level than those in careers related to art. More stress means more susceptibility to aches and illnesses. Also, since those "Worst Major" lists tend to also list the "Best Majors" as being in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine) there's the possibility that everybody will apply for them and create a bloated job market with too many potential employees and not enough jobs. Since these careers also tend to make a lot of money, people in these careers also have to worry about getting into relationships where they are just a bank for their partner. God help them if they have children because we all know what people will interpret their kids as...
Winning the world championships in cycling. Having to wear the rainbow-jersey for the next season is something almost every rider wishes, but it might come with a curse. All examples will be mentioned with a year, where they wore the jersey the following season. Examples of the trope being straight (since the winner in 1999, Oscar Freire) would be Cadel Evans (2009), Paolo Bettini (2006, 2007), Alessandro Ballan (2008), Igor Astarloza (2003) and Mario Cipollini (2002), who all had sub-standard seasons after winning the jersey. Averted with Tom Boonen (2005) and Romāns VainÜteins (2000), who had seasons on an expectable level. Subverted with Thor Hushovd (2010) who arguably had one of the better seasons of his career while wearing it. Oscar Freire is an interesting example, having won it thrice (1999, 2001 and 2004). His 2000 season was a subversion, 2002 played it straight and 2005 was — comparing the level he was expected to compete at — an aversion. Mark Cavendish (2011) is an interesting case, seeing as he did take home 15 victories, which is better than the two seasons that went before it, but the amount of World Tour victories was smaller than it usually was. That said, he was forced to work for the team in an entirely different manner than what he had been used to and yet managed to pull off an almost ordinary season.
This is also the theory behind the Madden Curse. Namely, any football player who appeared on the Madden video game box would often crash and burn later. It's chalked up to simply getting the distinction when you're at your peak, and you really can only go down from there (either due to injury or simply getting replaced by someone younger and healthier.)
Louis Gossett Jr. said his Best Supporting Actor Academy Award (for An Officer and a Gentleman) ended up being this. Sure, an Oscar is a wonderful achievement for an actor, but Gossett said that it put him in acting limbo, since smaller productions didn't think they could afford him (since he's an Oscar winner) and big productions didn't think he could carry a movie on his own (since he won for Supporting Actor). A lot of Best Supporting Actor/Actress winners have trouble finding work afterwards.
Being the oldest child of your parents. The oldest gets things first, gets a little bit of time as an only child and (usually) gets to be the first out of the house. The oldest child also tends to be used as a babysitter by the parents, gets the majority of responsibilities dumped on them and may even be blamed for misbehavior their siblings commit (the argument being that the oldest should be an example for the younger ones, even though it's not exactly their fault they have siblings in the first place).
Also you would be the "Demo" child, so if for example with you they didn't really express wanting to teach you things you had trouble with, in say, maths, they may with future children MAKE SURE they know they can come and talk about stuff like school issues and maths problems.
Having children. And not having children. To clarify: those who have children are usually considered more mature than those without and having kids grants a lot of perks and benefits from the government if the family is low-income (welfare, food stamps, reduced/free school lunches and more laws are likely coming). But, as a parent, you still are responsible for someone's every need, the first year guarantees getting little to no sleep and most mothers admit to feelings of guilt at leaving their kids (usually babies under a year old) in someone else's care, even if it's the baby's father or grandparents or if they don't have another choice. Some mothers are also "martyrs" and practically preach◊ about how "selfless" they are, which gives a bad reputation to the mothers who aren't so self-righteous. As for those without children, you've got more time for yourself, more freedom, one less responsibility on your shoulders (on top of bills, work, maintaining your home, possibly pets, etc). But people without children (especially those who willingly have none) are often seen as immature, unwilling to "grow up" and even selfish and face a lot of scorn in society.note It's worth mentioning this viewpoint completely ignores three things. One, that for the majority of children who are abused, the abusers are the parents. Two, that most people generally have children for selfish reasons. Three, most people put more thought into deciding not to have children than to have them. Some people are even disownedby their families for choosing not to have children (usually by parents who are longing for grandchildren). Never mind that childless people are capable of having a huge impact on children who may desperately need a positive adult in their lives, either through their jobs, through volunteer work, or just being the neighbor who's in the right place at the right time.
People who are willingly without children are also assumed to dislike children. In actuality, most of them do like kids (some may even work with kids for a living) and even the ones that don't like children still tend to be amicable people.
Also, whatever free time a childfree person has can easily get eaten up by friends, family, and coworkers with children who think it's entirely the childfree person's responsibility all the time to automatically agree to babysit, host the parties, coordinate the family needs, cover the shifts of people who are out due to childcare needs, etc. since otherwise the people with children would have to juggle childcare needs to do it themselves. Because hey, it's not like the childfree person has anything to do with their free time that's more important than helping out kids, right? It's not like part of the reason they chose to not have kids is because they wanted to avoid giving up all their free time to take care of kids, or anything. Unfortunately, this can get so bad, a childfree person may have to resort to cutting off their family to end this.
What also sucks is that there is really no way to win because a lot of the arguments contradict themselves. For example, a stereotype of the childfree is they want to remain immature partiers and never grow up. Yet, there is also a stereotype that says they are all too career-driven or even worry too much ("There's no right time to have a child"). Which is it?
Sir Alec Guinness's work in Star Wars. He was perhaps the only person associated with the film, aside from George Lucas, who actually thought the film would be successful, but he never imagined it would become one of the biggest movies of all time, overshadowing the entire rest of his career to the point where he ended up equated in the popular consciousness exclusively with the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was not happy about that bit.
Bisexuality, twice the shot at love as either gay or straight, guaranteed to freak out all heteronormative crusaders, gays who don't believe you are all out and or just in a transitional state and straights who are threatened by your range of attraction.
Not to mention being practically invisible; when you're with the opposite sex, people assume you're straight, and when you're with the same sex, people assume you're gay. Switching between genders clearly just means you're "experimenting", or, worse, when you say you're bisexual, it's because you're trying to be "trendy" or get attention. If you're lucky enough to have anyone just believe you really are into both sexes, then expect to be "monogamously challenged" or unable to commit.
Having bone problems can legitimately help you predict when it's going to rain or when the forecast will change, but it informs you with aching bones and stiff joints.
Being the youngest child, especially if you have an especially large number of older siblings. You can expect lots of love, attention, and coddling from your older siblings, but no matter how old you get, they'll still see you as the baby and will seldom, if ever, take you seriously.
Most likely, everything you get will be hand-me-downs as well. Also, if you're a girl and you only have older brothers, good luck with any boyfriends.
Actually, it could turn out to be an advantage, if used correctly. Odds are the girl will be more direct instead of cryptic. The girl has a much better knowledge of how boys operate, and any boy that does make it past the brothers is very high-quality.
Two rugby competitions — The Rugby Championship, played between the national teams of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, and the ITM cup, semi-professional competition played between teams representing different regions of New Zealand — run at the same time. It can sometimes be a disadvantage for regional teams to have really good players, because they would get called up to play in the national team and become unavailable for ITM Cup.
Having Super Strength, believe it or not. Large amounts of physical of strength focused in a small vessel (human body, cats, insects, etc) will not only cause damage to your insides, but you'll also have a HUGE metabolism. While you can bypass this by eating everyday, chances are you'll die out of starvation.
Ask any person on the street, and most would agree that dating or being married to a nymphomaniac would be great. Unfortunately, when you need to have sex all the time, just to stop feeling (unbearably) anxious, you tend to not enjoy it very much. Not to mention that you'd need to practice poly-amory or have an open relationship if you didn't want to cheat on your partner — which you would, if you didn't. If you like your relationships exclusive, the novelty of constantly (read: far more often than you or any one person could like, forever) having to have sex with an anxious person who doesn't really enjoy it and would (have to) cheat on (with someone/anyone) you if you didn't keep it up wears off quickly.
A woman with large breasts may be the envy of her flatter-chested peers, but large breasts have their own slew of problems, including soreness, stretch marks, upper back problems and even a stigma given them from ignorant, lusty people who think ample breasts result only from sexual activity.
Being declared mentally challenged may seem useful at first: The additional privileges like extra welfare, the excuse when things doesn't go well for you. The many people there to support you, the low amount of students and so on. But with that being said most people have stereotypes of pretty much every single diagnosis and if they don't know it, you're insane by default. This gives the "experts" an unfair advantage over you in pretty much every way. Think the doctor is molesting you? Wrong, you're schizophrenic, therefore you like to imagine bad things. You don't? But the paper says you're aggressive! Not to mention it's an unwritten rule that you accept every sort of "help" put on you. Even if it means giving up your dreams of being normal or enslavement in anything but name.