I used to be really good at spelling, and I credit it to a very good memory I had when I was young. My teachers/school didn’t waste any time taking advantage of this and had me join in spelling/quiz bees left and right. There was even a time when they had me join a talent contest as a replacement for someone who couldn’t make it then (probably chickened out?) because I knew too many songs or didn’t need to practice for a song number I had to perform in just a few hours after that forced recruitment. My aunt (the only one who probably knew this about me) who had several businesses back then benefited from this by having me memorize her phone books then asking me for those numbers when she needed them, or having me study some phrases in other languages then showing me off to her foreign clients by having me join their small talk before meetings. My ‘party trick’ was reciting story books verbatim after reading them just a few times.
This sharp memory quickly deteriorated, as I recall, after I had an operation for a benign cyst they found on my left wrist. Was it the general anesthesia that knocked me out during operation? Or perhaps the effect of several accidents like falling down a flight of stairs as a kid? In hindsight, had I known (though not sure) that that would be the trade off, I would have gladly kept the cyst (since it didn’t really bother me or people I know, except for my aunt) and/or skipped on the strong meds I had to take back then for injuries from those accidents.
After the operation, I remember losing this ability to memorize pages of numbers on a phone book after a couple of tries/read throughs. These days, I have such a poor memory compared to when I was a kid, I have to rely on a dictionary/thesaurus (shift +f7 for Microsoft Office or its equivalent in Mac) a lot for correct spelling, or on notes or photos for important details. Pretty normal stuff but when I remember what I can do pre-operation/accidents, I can’t help but ponder the possibilities of having this sort of mini-superpower.