Some are blessed with an amazing voice, a mathematical brain or a seemingly effortless ability to play a musical instrument.
Others have a remarkable memory, tell the time at an incredulously young age, or can produce drop-dead-gorgeous handwriting.
Then you have those, like me, who can do something weird that has very little use or aesthetic merit.
My special skill is that I can speak backwards.
This generates zero additional income, no further social acceptance (maybe the opposite?) and overwhelmingly fails to feed the poor or save extinction-threatened species.
But it is there and it is an odd personal phenomenon.
It all began in my mid teens when I eagerly watched football games that were being broadcast live on TV with increasing frequency (the mid 1990s).
My dad’s TV was a Mitsubishi brand and as my mind wandered the word ‘Ihsibustim’ would enter it. I would mentally spell out the letters backwards.
During this period I would also go down to see my local football club, March Town United, in action. The Cambridgeshire team were sponsored by a company called McCourt Meats, which was emblazoned across their shirt. What came to mind? ‘Trouccm staem’.
While it was easier to convert written words backwards, I could still do it without seeing them. So if it was a benign conversation and someone uttered a phrase such as ‘at the end of the day’ I would instantly recite ‘ta eht dne fo eht yad’ in my mind.
This was never something I practised or tried to refine. It was automatic.
Being a good speller was crucial. I just needed to know the order of a word’s letters frontwards and then my brain would convert them backwards. Often I did this quicker than the time it took to check that the conversion was correct.
Excessively long words with numerous syllables would be a little tougher, as would those in a foreign language. Spelling was key.
I am now 41 and the skill is more or less the same. I have occasionally (usually during a night out) told people my special skill and plenty of fun has been had at their testing of me.
My skill might be useless but the fact it is effortless makes me think that those remarkably talented people that we admire (often sportsmen, in my case) may have been given a huge helping hand by something innate.
To reach the top of a profession always requires a degree of dedication but how much have they been helped by their equivalent of my speaking backwards? A lot, I would guess.
This could include playing a musical instrument, an amazing memory, beautiful handwriting, exceptional ability at a young age, or even doing weird things with feet and ears etc.
We want to give the people of Tayside and Fife some recognition for their talent – and also to have a bit of fun.