Always One Step Ahead

Nate’s precocious reading skills, what set him apart from other kids and led us to seek help and eventually have him diagnosed as hyperlexic, made him a source of wonder. His classmates during his first few years of school were awestruck by his ability to decode any word he saw.

I worried about what would happen as he grew older, as his signature advance  became commonplace. After all, nearly every kid learned to read. So what would being able to read when you were 3 mean at 7, or 10, or 15?

Yet, Nate always had something that made his peers marvel. Maybe it was his instant recall of any Looney Tunes cartoon. Or his drawing ability, primitive though it may be. In high school Nate took an art class. One assignment was drawing a complicated 3D sketch. Most people would start with broad lines, long support girders to build around. Not Nate. He started with a simple square and spread out from there. It reminded me of the commercial for Kohler (I think), where the young couple asks an architect to build a house around the faucet they thump on his desk.

The college scene is so different, and yet Nate threw everyone off  in Art History. The professor showed slides and Nate began to speak out loud:

“I know that, that’s Starry Night.”

He reeled off a few more Van Goghs.

“That’s The Scream.”

How does he know these? I’m not sure, though I believe this may be a factor in the last identification:

Everyone in class was stunned by his proficiency. Nate’s ability to continually amaze serves him well. His differences are often overlooked when he pulls a surprise out of his hat. Yesterday, he did it again.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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