QuestionHardly a Loser
Tom seemed to be a loser born into a long line of losers. His great-grandfather, condemned to death during the Revolutionary War for siding with the British, had fled to Canada. Tom’s father, wanted for arrest after he helped (1) a plot to overthrow the Canadian government, had fled back to the United States.
Tom never received even the most (2) formal education. During his mere three months of schooling, he stayed at the bottom of his class. The teacher (3) at him, telling him that he was hopelessly stupid.
Tom’s first job, selling papers and candy on a train, ended when he accidentally set the baggage car on fire. His second, as a telegraph operator, ended when he was caught sleeping on the job. At 22, he was jobless, penniless, and living in a cellar. Obviously, Tom’s youth had not provided the optimum foundation for success.
Tom, however, didn’t allow his situation to be a detriment or to (4) his hopes. Instead of becoming (5), he was (6) enough to recover from his misfortunes and find another job. He managed, in fact, to save enough money to open a workshop, where he (7) with an electrical engineer in designing and then selling machines. A (8) when it came to solving mechanical puzzles, Tom worked nearly nonstop, sleeping only about four hours each night.
By the time he was in his 80s, Tom was credited with over a thousand inventions, including the phonograph, light bulb, and motion picture camera. He was also very famous—so much so that he was (9) nationwide as the greatest living American.
In (10), Thomas Alva Edison wasn’t such a loser after all.