I am thinking of a number between one and ten.

I'll bet you'd like to know just what number that is, but I'm not just going to tell you; you have to guess.

Your prize for guessing the correct number will be nothing tangible in nature. There will be no awards given. There will be no \$5 gift certificates to McDonald's or Burger King, no T-shirts with silly slogans on them. Just a battle of wits between you and I. The prize here, my friend? Pride.

Are you game? Good.

First of all, notice how I didn't ask you to just pick which hand I'm holding the pencil in. That is far too simple and requires little analysis. Besides, I don't have a pencil right now, anyway.

I also didn't say I'm thinking of a number between one and one hundred. That would be unfair to you, the guesser, and you are going to need all the help you can get once we start this little exercise.

No, I'm only asking you to attempt to predict the number I'm thinking of in my head. Here, as a gesture of good faith, I'll even write it down on this napkin and put it in my pocket. This way, I can't change the number.

OK, now it's up to you. What's my number?

Wait! Don't answer so quickly. You obviously haven't put much thought into this. I'll bet you were about to say, "Seven." Everybody always guesses seven.

Did it ever occur to you that I knew you would say seven and did not make that my choice? Or perhaps I overestimated your intelligence and assumed you wouldn't pick seven and thus made seven my number. Just this one time, I'll give you a hint: the answer is not seven. Guess again.

Five? Five? Are you kidding me? Five is the wimp's choice. "Oooh, I'm afraid I'll guess to far one way or the other, so I'll just go right in the middle." Come on! You're not even taking this seriously, are you? This is no game! Well, I guess it is a game. But this game is a battle of intellect, and right now you are losing big time. Five?! Let's go, you spineless jellyfish. Take a stand!

No, no, no, no! Wait, come back. I'm sorry for that jellyfish comment. It was inapporopriate and was not in line with the rapport set thus far in our match up.

But you do have to admit, your guesses so far have left much to be desired.

Now then, I will give you one more chance. The odds at this point have swung to your favor. We've eliminated two numbers, leaving only eight. This is your time to shine. Show me what you've got. What's my number?

Two? A respectable guess. It's not an extreme number, like one or ten. You can usually throw those out as well at the onset of the contest. Two is a very good guess, but I regret to inform you it is still wrong.

Well, that's it. You have been unable to guess my number. It was a valiant effort, yet one that was destined to fail. I knew when I approached that there was no way you'd guess my number. It just wanted to make sure my sixth sense about these kinds of things was still dead on. It is.

Good day to you, then! Try not to let this loss ruin your whole afternoon.

What's that? You want to know my number? Sorry, I can't tell you. I might just use it again next time.