Paul Curry

You're sitting with your breakout group where you and your fellow breakout groupies have been instructed to brainstorm a marketing plan to distribute 240,000 midget widgets. The future of your company hangs in the balance - not to mention the fate of nearly a quarter-million itty-bitty widgets.

The responsibility is overwhelming, but first you have an even larger responsibility. That's right. First you must come up with yet another wildly brilliant way to hand out a few more of your beloved yet undistributed business cards, while at the same time getting the gang revved up.

LPITOR.'6 NlOTL - If you don't take out five business cards right now you'll miss out on one of the most astonishing things in this book.

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5TLP ONlL - Blow the dust off five business cards and motivate five members of the breakout group to autograph the back of the cards, so that a different name is on each card. Get them to write their names so they go completely across the card (FIG. 1 ).

i>TLP T\N/0 - Gather up the five signed cards, turn them over so you can't see the signed names, and mix them up so no one has any idea whose name is where. Hold your precious cards in a nice neat stack, then rip the stack in half (FIG. 2).

5TE-P TJ-II2.E.E- - Put one torn section on the table so that your printed business-card side is showing. Put the second torn section on the table so a torn autograph shows (FIG. 3). Carefully follow the directions to make sure you enjoy the maximum astonishment.

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Five autographed business cards have been shuffled and stacked into a neat pile. You ripped the entire stack in half (not one at a time, but the whole stack at once). You put one torn half on the table autograph-side up, and the other torn half on the table autograph-side down.

The breakout group question of the day is "Will the cards match?" To find the mystical answer, each word of the "Will the cards match" must be spelled as follows: One torn piece is moved for each letter. So direct one of your break-mates to remove the top piece of either stack, and place that piece on the bottom of the same stack.

• That first move represents the letter W of "Will." (Tip: make sure only one piece is moved from the top, and that the one piece goes directly underneath on the bottom of the same stack.)

• The next letter in Will is "i," so direct someone to move the top piece of either stack and place it underneath on the bottom of the same stack. The next letter of "Will" is "I" -have another piece moved from the top of either stack and placed on the bottom of the stack it was moved from.

• The last letter of "Will" is another "I." Same procedure - One piece moved from the top of either stack and placed on the bottom of the same stack.

The word "Will" has been spelled by the random movement of card pieces in the two stacks. No one could possibly predict which two card pieces will now be in top position.

The word "Will" has been spelled by the random movement of card pieces in the two stacks. No one could possibly predict which two card pieces will now be in top position.

the autograph on the other piece will be face down. Do not turn either piece over - leave them exactly as they are, one up and one down. Slide the two pieces in front of the person who wrote the partial autograph.

Remember to leave the two pieces just as they are - one face up and one face down. All right, back to the two piles. The next word of "Will the cards match?" is "the."

5TE.P TOUR. - Have someone spell "the" by moving one piece for each letter from the top of either pile, placing each piece on the bottom of the same pile just as you did with the first word, making sure only one piece is moved at a time. Since there are three letters in "the," three pieces are moved. And just as before, after spelling the word, carefully slide the new top piece of each pile - keeping one face down - over to the person who matches the partial autograph.

iTE-P - "Will the cards match?" The next word is "cards." You know the ritual -spell "cards" by moving one piece for each letter from the top of either pile to the bottom of the same pile. After "cards" has been spelled (don't forget the "s") slide off the two new top pieces and put them in front of their namesake.

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NOTE- - The person who moves the pieces has a completely free choice of which pile to move the pieces from. He can alternate back and forth or move just one piece from one pile then the rest of the pieces from the other pile - or even move all the pieces from just one pile. He is a free agent. The options are wide open.

iTE-P ilX - Two pieces remain in each stack. "Will the cards match?" The last word is "match" - and one last time have someone move one piece for each letter from the top of either pile to the bottom of the same pile -until "match" is spelled. Slide the top two pieces to the appropriate person - leaving just two pieces behind. Slide those last two pieces over to their owner.

"Will the cards match?" Come on - who are you trying to kid? That would be genuinely impossible," unless of course you're an astonishing exec.

Break-Room Group Boredom Buster

1. Get five business cards autographed on the back with five different names.

2. Mix up the five cards so no one knows which name is where.

3. Tear the stack of five cards in half (all at once) and put one torn section on the table, autograph side up. Put the other torn section on the table autograph-side down.

4. The magic question is "Will the cards match?" Have someone spell each word by moving one torn piece from the top of either pile to the bottom of the same pile.

E-XAMPLE- - Four letters in "will," so four card-pieces are moved.

5. After spelling each word, slide off the top piece of each pile (one piece is autograph-side up. one piece is autograph-side down) and put the two pieces in front of their namesake. Be careful not to reveal the hidden half-autograph.

6 After "Will the cards match?" is spelled, two torn pieces will remain. Put those last two pieces in front of the appropriate person, and let them discover the boredom-busting miracle.

- This can be done for less than five people. Simply let whoever you're doing it for write the names of five friends on the back of the five cards and off you go, or just have your friend shuffle five disposable playing cards and end up with all the torn halves finding their mates.

• I like to build the reveal by having the spectator select just one of the tabled pairs, then reveal it's perfect match. Sit with the moment for as long as you can take it, act like that was the effect, and then just for fun check the other pairs - on the off chance you'll discover "one more" perfect match.

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