“Kid – Jehovani Can Read Your Mind!”

So Christmas day you’re stuck at a relative’s house with a few 5-9 year olds who have already opened their gifts and are now looking at you to entertain them. They’re taking deep bored breaths and rolling their eyes.

What are you going to do?

First, whisper in a conspiratorial tone, “When I was in the Boar Wars in India in the ’70′s (whatever bullshit you make up) – I learned how to read peoples’ minds from a spirit named Jehovani!”

The kids should now express immediate skepticism or they’re too dumb for the trick.

“Want me to prove it?  OK, get a pad and a magic marker.”

“Now – you (pick the brattiest kid) choose a number – any number – that has three numbers in it – not the same.  Like 1-2-3 or 6-5-9 – anything.”

“Got it?”

Then you  close your eyes, grab your forehead, and gutterally chant the words to “Build Me Up Buttercup” so low they can’t make them out.  After a few seconds say, “OK – I’ve got the number!”

Take the pad, and write (so they can’t see) 1089. Make a big deal of writing the number and folding the sheet of paper as many times as you can.

“OK – now who’ll hide this number so I can’t change it?!” (1 kid hides it in her pocket.)

“OK (brat) what’s your number?  731?  I’m going to take that number and let my Indian spirit play with it (whatever.)” Then write 731 on the pad.

“Now the spirit is telling me to turn it around.  Now it’s 137! (Always write the larger number on top 137 under 731).  (Look up and pretend you’re listening to a spirit) “OK, Jehovani.” Now I’ll take away the reversal-curse (whatever) and subtrack 137 from 731. That leaves 594, right? Now Jehovani says turn it around again because it’s Christmas! (whatever) 495!  What’s that, Jehovani? (you’re writing all this on the pad) – add them together?”

“OK – 594 + 495 = 1089!!! Is that your number. NO?”  (Look crestfallen) “Jehovani must have gotten tangled in your brainwaves.  Darn!   (Look confused.) To the hider: “What number did the spirit tell me?” She unwraps the number. “1089!!!!” Huge gasps from the kids. (Obviously 1089 will ALWAYS be the number.)

Obviously, you can only do this trick once in a row.

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