My special power

Child with super powersWhen I was about 6, I realised that I had a special power that no-one else had.

I could tell when a TV was on in another room …even if the sound was off.

I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor.

The adults in my life were just as amazed as you were; but for some reason they weren’t interested in playing the “guess if the TV is on or not” game, and they certainly didn’t want to wager any money on the outcome (I was a mercenary little tyke).

As super powers go, I thought I got a bit ripped off. I would have prefered to be able to turn invisible or see through people’s clothes or something, but I was ready to do my part fighting crime just as soon as a grew a bit bigger.

Recently I found out that the cause of my special power was most likely the flyback transformer in the TV set which is pulsed at around 15kHz to control the horizontal scan rate. 15kHz is near the high end of frequencies the human ear can detect (typically given as 20Hz to 20KHz), but this varies with the amount of damage the ear has experienced. An adult with more hearing damage will lose their upper and lower frequency ranges.

I still occasionally hear this high-pitched whine, but now that I know it’s not really a super power, I am putting all my efforts into trying to figure out how I am going to fight crime with my two remaining super powers – the ability to lick my elbow, and the power to make farting noises with my armpits.

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One Response to “My special power”

  1. Rob Zazueta Says:

    Dude… I TOTALLY had the same super power and felt the exact same way. We’d walk up to the front door of someone’s house and I’d tell my mom, “They’re watching TV in there.” She’d knock, the person would open the door and, sure enough, there’d be a TV, turned on. Then we’d spend an hour telling the person behind the door how they were sinners and how they should witness for Christ.


    I’m 31 now, but I still hear the whine. The problem is, what with computers, TVs, etc., it’s hard to tell where it’s coming from and my “Spidey sense” gets overwhelmed.

    Sadly, it’s my only superpower. Unless you count the x-rated vision (my amazing ability to imagine what anyone looks like nude – sometimes more a curse than a blessing).