Saturday night, my niece Kellie and her husband Steve joined us for dinner, and at one point during the meal Kellie made the comment that everyone had a ” 2-percent talent.” This she defined as something a person could do that 98 percent of people couldn’t do, or at least not do as well as the person with that particular 2-percent talent.
She went on to say that her husband’s 2-percent talent was his ability to run marathons.
“I don’t know,” he said, sort of unimpressed. “I think a lot of people could do that who just haven’t tried.”
He went on to say, “I want something else for my 2-percent talent,” though he didn’t elaborate as to what that would be.
That little exchange got me thinking about what my 2-percent talent might be, and I discussed it later in the evening with my son Bob as we played catch in the dark with this really cool, lighted football that city editor Karen Petersen gave me a couple years ago.
“Free throws,” I said to Bob. “I’m really good at making meaningless free throws in a gym by myself. I would have to imagine that 98 percent of people could not walk into a gym and make 50 free throws in a row like I often can.”
“Probably not,” Bob allowed, and I took this as a huge compliment because as a general rule he won’t give the old man credit for being good at anything.
I thought about this 2-percent thing some more and came up with one other possibility: batting practice home runs.
Even at age 46, if you put me in a major league stadium, gave me a pro-stock bat and threw BP to me with big-league baseballs — much livelier than the factory seconds we use in the old-guy league — I could hit some balls into the seats.
Years of screwing around at various ballfields in western Oregon have left me pretty good at manufacturing deep fly balls when the pitcher is just grooving it, so I’m confident in my ability to leave the yard. I have to figure that is also something 98 percent of people could not do.
Oh yeah, I can also form, and blow into the air, saliva bubbles. Learned to do that one American Legion season when, as a sophomore, I mainly sat on the bench and thus had a lot of time on my hands.
What about you? What is your 2-percent talent?