Sometimes life is really unfair. Like when you want to take a little dip in the pool, so you dive right in and -- smack! -- hit your noggin square on the bottom. Oh, the pain! The headaches, ear aches, and memory loss! And then there's that whole thing where you can suddenly play the piano like a whiz even though you've never touched a piano before in your entire life. Yeah, life is unfair, all right. Unfair to those who have to practice! But this is the incredible story of "acquired savant" Derek Amato. And if you're studiously practicing the piano several hours a day, you will hate him.
Six years ago, Colorado resident Derek dove into the shallow end of the pool (why?? stop doing this, people!) and says he heard what "sounded like a bomb going off." That would be Derek's skull hitting the bottom of the pool. Thank god this didn't end up in paralysis or worse for Derek. Instead, it ended up with him being taken to the hospital with a concussion.
But a few days after the accident, Derek visited a friend who had a piano. And he says he felt himself drawn to the instrument, even though he had never played:
As I shut my eyes, I found these black and white structures moving from left to right, which in fact would represent in my mind, a fluid and continuous stream of musical notation. I could not only play and compose, but I would later discover that I could recall a prior played piece of music as if it had been etched in my mind's eye.
Yep, that was it. He hit his head and was suddenly a musical genius! I mean, should we no longer be in awe of, say, Beethoven? Maybe he just happened to conk his noggin?
Scientists believe that in rare cases, some people's brains can rewire after suffering trauma, and with unexpected results -- including becoming a prodigy. Derek has since quit his corporate job and is now a full-time composer and pianist. I mean, is this fair? Should Derek be allowed to enter competitions? Does his newfound talent make him less talented than those who struggle for years to master their skill? Not really. But it does make me more pissed off!
I'm glad his injury resulted in something amazing rather than something horrible. But I can't help wondering what oddball injury could guarantee my churning out a brilliant masterpiece of literature every day.
What "acquired savant" skill would you suddenly like to have?
Image via Sean McEntee/Flickr