I went to the doctor about my SLAP tear, and they asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Now, it hurts quite a bit, especially when I don't take massive doses of ibuprofen. I say, it hurts so bad I can't think (explains a lot, I know). The nurse asks, "is that a 10"? I think, no, probably an 8. You see, I can imagine a 10 would be something diabolical, like burning the skin off my flesh with a blow torch, poring honey on my wounds, and allowing rabid animals to lick and nibble at my charred, sugary, flesh. Or scraping the back of my legs with a cheese grater. Or sticking a syringe down the back of my fingernails. Or pounding my toes with a hammer, and then methodically breaking my bones from one end to another while keeping my internal organs fully functioning. But if I say "8", they don't give me anything for the pain, so I lie, and say, "yeah, it's a 10".
I remember some guys from an Irish bank came by to talk about risk management, and one guy said their little trick was to have scales that went from 1 to 4. That way, people couldn't put in the median number for everything. I remember how proud he was of this, and you know, for a middle manager in risk, it wasn't a bad idea. It was not a great idea, but it wasn't bad.