Basic Skills 3


Jacob the Great

Read the text then take the quiz at the bottom of the page.

Jacob hated finishing things almost as much as he loved starting them. As a result, he had gotten into a million hobbies and activities, but he never stuck with any of them long enough to get any good.

He begged his mother for months for a guitar so that he could play Black Eyed Peas songs to Angie, a girl he liked, but after he finally got one for Christmas, he found out that guitars don’t play themselves. He took a few lessons, but strumming the strings hurt his fingers and he didn't like holding the pick, so now the five-hundred-dollar guitar lives under his bed.

After reading an ad in the back of one of his comic books, Jacob decided that he wanted a WonderSweeper 5000 metal detector, so that he could find buried pirate treasure. So he mowed lawns all summer and didn't spend his money on ice-cream like his younger brother, Alex. He saved it all in a shoe-box in his closet. Then he shoveled driveways all winter, and he didn't spend his money on candy and chips like his classmates. By the time spring came, he had saved $200, and he purchased the Wonder-Sweeper 5000 metal detector. He beeped it around the park for a while, be he soon found out that no pirates had ever set sail in his neighborhood, and if they had they didn't leave any treasure. Even though he found a key ring, forty-seven cents, and all the bottle caps he could throw, he buried the metal detector in his closest.

Given Jacob’s history with hobbies, it was no surprise that Jacob’s father was reluctant to buy him a magician’s kit for his birthday. “Geez, Jacob . . . You sure you wouldn't rather I got you more guitar lessons?” He suggested.

Jacob was insistent. “Dad, you've got to get me the magician's kit. This time I'll stick with it for real. I promise! Come on, Dad,” Jacob begged.

Jacob’s father sighed and then replied, “Oh, I don't know, Jacob. Things are awfully tight right now.” But Jacob’s father was reminded of his own youth long ago, when he quit football and started karate practice before hardly getting his equipment dirty. So when Jacob’s birthday came around, Jacob was both surprised and pleased to find the magician's kit that he had desired so badly with a big bright bow on it.

Jacob opened up the box and unwrapped the many parts in the kit. As he did so, he imagined sawing his pet cat in half and putting it back together to the amazement of his friends and family. He took the many fake coins, trick cards, and rope pieces of varying length on the kitchen table and imagined pulling rabbits out of his hat and turning them into pigeons with a mysterious puff of smoke. As Jacob continued pulling plastic thumbs, foam balls, and giant playing cards out of the magic kit, a commercial on the TV caught his attention.

“Hey kids! Have you ever wanted to go to space? Experience what it's like to be an astronaut? Do you want to explore the universe? Well, now you can.”

As the commercial continued playing, Jacob walked away from the magic kit on the kitchen table and stared at the TV screen longingly.

“For only $195 you can go to space camp and live life like an astronaut for a whole weekend. Enroll now for a once in a lifetime experience.”

Jacob's cry rang throughout the house as he yelled, “MOM!” He now knew what his true purpose in life was.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.