There was a study in Russia of a man (left unnamed, referred to as Mr. X in the study) who had hyperthymesia, meaning he was born without the ability to forget anything. Phone numbers, bank accounts, scripts and books, snippets of conversation, emotions both good and bad, sensations both good and bad... well, you get the picture. He was almost normal until his mid-20s, when the information overload started getting to him. He committed suicide at the age of 32.
Jill Price is famous for having the same ability as the man above. It's great to remember important things, but she also remembers ever hurtful thing anyone has ever done or said to her with absolute clarity. Puts a new spin on 'forgive and forget.'
Initially, the ability to remember everything in your life sounds tremendously useful. Teacher gives a lecture? Hey, no problem, you remember it! Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Jill Price's ability, as with most people who have this, is autobiographical memory only. She can remember that on X date thirty years before she was sitting in a high school class at ten fifteen listening to a lecture on history. But she can't remember the lecture itself, she only remembers where she was, what she was doing, what she was wearing, etcetera - autobiographical information. Actual useful information? No.
Cells in the body can only divide X number of times; this is essentially why we die. But some cells are blessed with the ability to keep dividing forever! The downside? Well, this does make them cancer cells...
Technically, all cells can divide an infinite number of times, but every time the DNA is copied, it is corrupted slightly. It eventually gets to the point when the new cells don't function properly, which is what we see and know as aging. Cancer cells are a more advanced form of this sort of sucky blessing, in that they divide rapidly and without stopping, and in a different way than normal cells, because they no longer perform even the most basic of their original function.
Most cells cannot divide an infinite number of times, because their telomeres (the end bits of their chromosomes) shorten slightly after each cell division. Eventually, there isn't enough telomere left on each chromosome, and the cell dies; this isn't corruption, as that would imply a mutation of some sort. Stem cells have an enzyme called telomerase, which lengthens telomeres; this explains why that sort of cell lasts so much longer. Additionally, most cancer cells have a mutation that allows them access to telomerase. Finally, many, many, MANY cells cannot divide at all; an example of this is the red blood cell.
And while cancer cells can divide infinitely, this is at least partly because some defense mechanism has gone awry, and the checkpoints aren't functioning. So the cells are replicating quickly, but there are no longer defenses to make sure that they're replicating correctly; normally, any cell with mistakes undergoes apoptosis if it doesn't pass a checkpoint, but cancer cells lack the mechanisms. This means that cancer cells will quickly form imperfect cells which will replicate and cause a lot more problems.
Henrietta Lacks found a way to live forever -- as a strain of immortal human cells. Now the HeLa cells are seen as more of a nuisance since they're apparently all over the place and they like to corrupt samples of other cells.
In extreme cases, such as athletics or basic training injuries, a person can become so conditioned to working through pain that they can no longer feel it under certain conditions. The down side? You don't know you're tired until you collapse.
The same is true of people with the rare condition CIPA : Congenital Insensibility to Pain, which essentially takes the form of a complete loss of the sense of touch. Can't feel heat or cold, aren't even slowed down by sucking chest wounds, pretty awesome crimefighting power right? Well, it would be if they also had a healing factor to go with it. As is, they risk permanently destroying their bodies at any time because they don't even notice it's hurt. Or that their hand in sizzling on the grill at the moment. Or that they haven't eaten in 5 days. Or that they need to pee. On a hot day, they may pass out or even die because their body doesn't figure it should be sweating.
On the other hand, blood plasma inverts the recipient/donor relationship. O- blood plasma can only be donated to other O- people and O- people can take blood plasma of any type. AB+ blood plasma becomes the universal donor and also can only take blood plasma from other AB+ donors. It's good to donate blood whatever your blood type is!
Savant syndrome, in come cases. The notable being Kim Peek (the "real-life" basis for the Rain Man).
Simply being taller than other guys simply means more people will badger you to do any heavy lifting they have. Even if the 5'5 guy next to you can bench press five hundred pounds, The Big Guy must move any and all sofas.
Barack Obama. On the plus side he was elected as President. On the downside he was elected during a time with a recession, two wars, crumbling infrastructure, very angry people on both sides, healthcare reform, myriad foreign affairs difficulties, and environmental degradation of various types to name a few. He himself admitted that in this case, as winner, he might want to request a recount. The Onion simply had an article titled "Black man given worst job in nation".
Being president or in any sort of position of power in general sounds problematic.
Jon Stewart even lampshaded this in one pre-election interview with Obama.
Being generally lucky can be seen as this. Sure, it sounds great - events just happen to fall your way - but it's ridiculously easy to start depending on to the detriment of developing skills and abilities...why learn how to do things when things go your way anyway? Oh, and it could randomly stop at any time, which could leave you in quite the difficult position if you've been relying on your luck to see you through.
The same arguments could also apply to potential "gold-diggers" (whether greedy, or unintentional), where the "luck" happens to be the luck of being born conventionally beautiful.
Cracked gives us a list of 5 things we think will make us happy, but won't. Fame, Wealth, Beauty, Genius, and Power. For example: You know how people always laugh when a CEO who earns 100 times more than the average guy says he's unhappy with it? The average American earns over 100 times more than someone in Nigeria, which usually comes up on surveys as the happiest country in the world.
Being a perfectionist sounds like it would lead to nothing but success and high achievement, right? It almost invariably leads to low self-esteem, depression, and procrastination. The first two occur as a result of seeing what are supposed to be ideals as goals that they actually are trying to reach and get disappointed when they cannot. Procrastination occurs as a result of the idea that everything must be perfectly planned out before starting something.
Perfectionism is a curse to those who are afflicted. Sometimes the very thought of something not being exactly right can cause an entire project/paper/whatever to be scrapped as a failure.
Ironically it could result in the perfectionist seeing uncaring and stupid people as Cursed With Awesome, as they are largely unaware of their own talents. A perfectionist would see a 98% as failing by 2%, while an ignorant person would consider 98% a huge improvement over 75%.
Having absolute pitch has a few downsides, leading some people to regard it as this. One twentieth-century musicologist actually tried to get rid of it, by playing the developments of Beethoven piano sonatas over and over in all possible keys.
It would be an absolute nightmare for one with absolute pitch to listen to Baroque music, especially if it's harpischord music. The harpischord is tuned roughly a semi tone lower then modern pitch, thus, the person constantly feels like the music is out of tune.
Kids in gifted programs. They get more, and harder, schoolwork dumped on them, because they were designated as smart in an IQ test (which isn't even a completely accurate measure of intelligence). Even more painful for gifted kids who are Brilliant but Lazy. Apparently, school officials have zero idea that not every "gifted kid" is a child genius who is fed up with the ridiculously easy lessons his/her regular classroom offers and wants harder challenges.
Can also be the opposite in some schools. Often times, gifted children will be forced to stay in the same grade as their peers in the same age group because of their age (inverse to the "social grade promotion" idea) and will often be easily bored due to having already learned, if not mastered, the subject material. Also a major cause of why nerds are bullied. This can also lead to the "big fish little pond" effect, in that the person may attend a school with mostly average intelligence people, and end up switching schools or going to a good college and finding out they are not the smartest person in the world.
Also, just intelligent children in general. Sure, you can grasp many subjects quickly; but adults think you are smart enough to handle your own social problems as well or deal with stress better than your peers.
Any talented kid in general. For example, a kid who is very talented in drawing and painting may be given extra art projects or may be called upon to create art for the school. But when the kid is tired, needs a break or just isn't in the mood, people basically belittle them for it, as if they're supposed to do nothing else. Apparently, some people are incapable of understanding that just because someone has a talent does not mean they want to spend every minute of the day doing it.
Addendum with arty people in general. If you're doing some sort of art project at your work/study place and always get called upon to do the posters, the invitations, the writing and sometimes even the presentations it can be annoying.
Having a driver's license if you have siblings that are too young to drive. Your parents will more than likely dump some of their driving errands onto you.
There's also having less cars then there are kids. Sure, you can all drive, but have fun juggling keys.
Ladies and gentlemen of TV Tropes, I give you priapism. Sustaining an erection for more than four hours becomes a cakewalk, but it's often quite painful and is considered a medical emergency. In a strangely ironic twist, it can be caused by a bad reaction to medications for impotence. And here we were, thinking Viagra was on our side.
Lizzie Velasquez is a woman who suffers from a rare disease called neonatal progeroid syndrome (NPS). She consumes as much as 8,000 calories a day, yet is still extremely thin at only 56 lbs (25.4 kg or 4 stone).
Brooke Greenberg may hold the secret to immortality, or the very least how aging works. She has stayed the same physical and mental age for years. That age? 9 months to 1 year old.
More like cursed with suck and then suck some more, she has a TON of medical problems, and she still ages at the same rate, she just doesn't DEVELOP at the same rate, meaning that even if her medical conditions don't kill her first, she will die of old age just like the rest of us, without ever having a chance to live her life.
There are genetic conditions which result in increased muscle mass in comparison to the general public. The downside? Your heart and lungs do not scale accordingly, putting constant increased stress on them, which guarantees a shorter life expectancy.
Conversely, anacondas and other large constrictors can swallow prey as big as they are, and go for months without eating. The catch? They need that downtime in order to regenerate their stomach lining, which tears itself apart with ulcers trying to digest its meal before it starts rotting inside the snake.
People with ADD are capable of thinking outside the box easily, quickly, and can absorb information (if it is interesting). Also, they are very lively and can "hyperfocus" (being able to focus on activities or tasks without a thought to anything or anyone else). Unfortunately, these tend to be the downsides of ADD as well. Try going to sleep when you can't stop thinking about the horror movie you saw two hours ago.
People with the hyperactive version as well (ADHD). It's pretty easy to get some exercise, as you're constantly full of energy and have no problem getting out and running for an hour. But on the downside, sitting or standing still for a mere 60 seconds is difficult and, in some cases, nearly impossible. Good luck getting through that test.
Similarly, Asperger Syndrome is either this or Cursed With Awesome, depending on the individual. On the plus side, you have what is best described as super-focus, which allows you to excel at a subject with ease (this subject is usually something you like, although it may be that you like it due to being good at it). On the negative, you have No Social Skills. Which of these is more important is up to you.
In fact, people with almost any learning or mental disorder could count. You can see the world in a special way, a unique way no one else can see it and can appreciate the smaller things about it, see a bigger picture, think faster then most et cetera. But you also end up being an outcast because people without your disorder don't understand your special view and just see you as a nutcase (at best, they consider you a Cloudcuckoolander; at worst, they consider you Cute and Psycho, irrationally fearing you'll attack them out of nowhere).
An extremely mundane example of Type 4 Blessed With Suck may be imagination. It has a lot of advantages, and without it, we'd probably still be living in trees. If your imagination is particularly strong, you gain a serious edge in the creative fields like music, writing and art. You also have the ability to entertain yourself, "create" people and places that never existed, and escape boring routine. The flip side, however, is the danger of squandering your talent for dreaming because you weren't paying attention when more pragmatic associates were. Still worse is the fact that no-one can imagine only nice things. A vivid imagination can conjure up worst case scenarios and leave a person seeing visions of terror while more grounded people are left wondering what the heck is wrong with them. Some studies claim that imagination and creativity are linked to mental illness as a result. That said, most people take great pride in their imagination and creativity, and would never give it up.
A lot of evidence points towards a relationship between creativity and madness.
Borderline disabled people, just about normal, but not, as mentioned before partially disabled, but not entirely disabled in a wheel chair. Not normal enough to be accepted in the mainstream, not disabled enough to be accepted with the disabled people.
Young looking people. Look young and you can get away with many things. Meanwhile, adult activities are out of the question because people still think you're 13.
Childhood and adulthood are this, if you think about it. When you're a child, you don't have to worry about paying the bills or buying the groceries, but you're to live under other people's rules and are powerless to change to those rules if you don't like them. You either obey or face the consequences. When you're an adult, you're free to do whatever the heck you want (get drunk, party until 4 AM, run around with 100 guys/girls, etc), but you're also responsible for everything and you have to rely on yourself to get the bills paid, laundry done, house cleaned and whatever. Which really means life in general sucks when you think about it.
People with long hair. Generally, the longer hair is, the more beautiful it's considered to be. But as anyone with long hair will tell you, it's a pain in the neck to take care of and the longer it is, the more maintenance it requires. Hip-length hair can take as much as two bottles of shampoo to wash thoroughly. Longer hair is also heavier, tangles more easily and tends to get in your face unless you tie it in a ponytail or bun or use a bunch of clips. Unsurprisingly, this is why some people decide to cut their hair, sometimes even shorter than shoulder-length.
Being born on February 29th during a leap year is a pretty unique and special thing, there's only five million people worldwide who have that. However it will create a lot of headaches because some computers don't recognize February 29th as a date, so you'll have difficulty getting a driver's license, health card, applying for a job or insurance, etc. Not to mention all the typical birthday perks like free meals at restaurants and such that you're going to miss out on or have to fight to receive.
Synesthesia. This is when peoples' senses are linked in intricate ways, like seeing a different colour every time you hear a different sound, or associating a certain emotion with a number. The variations are possibly endless. Sounds cool at first, but these can also be negative. For example, what if you could taste poo every time you saw the colour brown?
People who happen to be extroverted may be this. It might cool to be able to hit it off instantly with new people or be invited to every party. But what happens when you finally get tired and want some down time? Everyone will act like you've fallen under clinical depression just because you didn't go to the club that night and stayed home reading instead. This can be worse if you're someone who's always been outgoing since childhood.
And this works the other way around with introverted people. While you are able to spend your time alone, doing what you want to do, it can be difficult to form social connections with people. Being introverted is also seen by a lot of people as simply being lazy, or Brilliant, but Lazy at best.
Passion can both help and hurt a relationship, since passion often involves heightened emotions, both good and bad. Yeah, your significant other can be romantic, sensual and have a great joie de vivre, but it can also mean they have a bad jealous streak and a really nasty temper.
Being born in a show business family and deciding to enter show business too. You may be reasonably well off, may know a bit more about the industry than others starting out, and you might get by default a little more name recognition, but it's a human version of Tough Act to Follow. You are constantly in the shadows of your famous siblings/parents/relatives, you constantly have to deal with accusations of nepotism or of using connections to get your foot in the door, and you're not often taken seriously enough (or taken seriously for all the wrong reasons) no matter how gifted and passionate you may be at your job, because you happen to come from a family of show business stars. Your work is partly judged on the reputation of that last name (it may also depend on how one feels about that famous relative in the first place), and if you don't measure up to the high expectations of that last name, you might be considered a failure even if you have a considerable talent in your own right. (This may be true of any profession, but especially so with show business.) Bonus points if, well, you're So Beautiful Its a Curse, too. Often, some stars might take a stage name to avoid all of this.
Some schools of thought encourage people with dyslexia to think of it as a gift rather than a curse. Sure, Dyslexics can think outside the box, and are often very creative and intelligent, but many of them still can't read properly or cope with problems that other people find simple. Even those who don't get as much trouble from the most common problems associated with the condition have to deal with their brain feeling like an overcrowded freeway.
Artistic ability. People will generally appreciate art, music, and culture, and creativity is almost always a benefit, but the the work is often unsteady and, anytime there's an economic downturn, they're usually the first things that get cut down on (the arts are frequently the first victims of budget cuts in schools, people are less likely to go to concerts and museums if they're broke, etc.) The morning talk shows will frequently compile lists of the worst or most "useless" majors, with the fine arts such as literature, music, and theater often being on the top of the list.
The opposite, scientific ability, counts too. While science, math and logic is considered to be much more valuable, the reality is that they are also much more stressful. People in careers that relate to science, such as doctors or chemists, tend to have a higher stress level than those in careers related to art. More stress means more susceptibility to aches and illnesses. Also, since those "Worst Major" lists tend to also list the "Best Majors" as being in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine) there's the possibility that everybody will apply for them and create a bloated job market with too many potential employees and not enough jobs. Since these careers also tend to make a lot of money, people in these careers also have to worry about getting into relationships where they are just a bank for their partner. And, of course, God help them if they have children because we all know what people will interpret their kids as...
Winning the world championships in cycling. Having to wear the rainbow-jersey for the next season is something almost every rider wishes, but it might come with a curse. All examples will be mentioned with a year, where they wore the jersey the following season. Examples of the trope being straight (since the winner in 1999, Oscar Freire) would be Cadel Evans (2009), Paolo Bettini (2006, 2007), Alessandro Ballan (2008), Igor Astarloza (2003) and Mario Cipollini (2002), who all had sub-standard seasons after winning the jersey. Averted with Tom Boonen (2005) and Romāns Vainšteins (2000), who had seasons on an expectable level. Subverted with Thor Hushovd (2010) who arguably had one of the better seasons of his career while wearing it. Oscar Freire is an interesting example, having won it thrice (1999, 2001 and 2004). His 2000 season was a subversion, 2002 played it straight and 2005 was - comparing the level he was expected to compete at - an aversion.
This is also the theory behind the Madden Curse. Namely, any football player who appeared on the Madden video game box would often crash and burn later. It's chalked up to simply getting the distinction when you're at your peak, and you really can only go down from there (either due to injury or simply getting replaced by someone younger and healthier.)
Louis Gossett Jr. said his Best Supporting Actor Oscar ended up being this. Sure, an Oscar is a wonderful achievement for an actor, but Gossett said that it put him in acting limbo, since smaller productions didn't think they could afford him (since he's an Oscar winner) and big productions didn't think he could carry a movie on his own (since he won for Supporting Actor.) A lot of Best Supporting Actor/Actress winners have trouble finding work afterwards.