Every day, Marty Doerschlag moves through the world armed with what amounts to a low-level superpower: He can remember a face forever.
“If I spend about 30 seconds looking at somebody, I will remember their face for years and years and years,” he says.
Doerschlag began to recognize his talent well into adulthood, after a series of strange encounters and sightings. There was the man he recognized in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, someone he’d sat behind three years earlier at a Michigan vs. Ohio State football game. (Doerschlag remembered the man but not the score of the game.)
There were the company Christmas parties where he could always remember exactly who was whose spouse. And there was the time he asked a waiter serving him in a Las Vegas restaurant if he’d also served tables many years earlier at a particular restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
“The guy just froze,” says Julie Doerschlag, Marty’s wife, who was with him for all of these incidents. “It was probably 15 years before. And [the waiter] said, ‘Yeah, you’re right.'”
But here’s the thing. Just as some humans are spectacularly skilled at recognizing faces, others are completely incompetent.
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