He’ll Blow His Fingers Off

Comprehension Questions



Fireworks Sign : Vintage 2006

Hammond, Indiana


(Enter answers on the line to left of each question.)


            _______   1.  Jerry’s tone compares desire for fireworks to: 

a.       carnal lust

b.      Christmas wonder

c.       birthday joy

d.      getting your first car


            _______   2.   Jerry’s inference about his sister


:                                   a.  her parents favor her above him

                        b.  she is extremely intelligent

c.  he has deep fondness for her

d.  she has bladder problems  


            _______   3.   Jerry picks the 1 ˝ inchers because:   

                                    a.  he can’t read the label

                                    b.  they are the most explosive

                                    c.  they’re like machine gun ammo

                                    d.  they’ll topple a Sherman tank


            ________  4.  Jerry is the only Brantwood lover of


                                    (T)rue or (F)alse.


            ________  5.  Jerry loved trips to Grandma’s:

                                    a. because of the scenery

                                    b. her state had legal fireworks

                                    c. it was a wonderful family time

                                    d. he could use the milk bottle


            ________   6. How did Jerry try to get his dad to stop?

                                    a.  saying he had to urinate    

                                    b.  whining continuously

                                    c.  asking his parents for fireworks

                                    d.  saying he was hungry


            ________  7.   What did his Mom say about his


                                    a. “He’ll shoot his eye out.”

                                    b. “The police will get him.”

                                    c.  He’ll blow his fingers off.”

                                    d.  He’ll ruin his trumpet practice.”


            ________  8.  What did Jerry imagine about using his fireworks in Indiana?

                                    a. The Optimists would use them.

                                   b. They’d help win the Korean War.

                                    c.  They would scare his sister.

                                    d.  He’d sell them for a new bike.


            _________ 9. Which items were not fireworks:

                                    a. Cherry Bombs

                                    b. M-80s

                                    c. Silver Sleuths

                        d. Dainty Fingers



            ________  10. How did Jerry learn about adulthood?

                                    a. watching romance movies

                                    b. reading The Facts of Life and Love

                                    c. the comics                          

                                    d. from older boys on the playground


            _________ 11. Where were the firecrackers from?   

                                    a. Egypt

                                    b. China

                                    c. Indiana

                                    d. Brantwood


            _________ 12. What was the least powerful?

                                    a. M-80s

                                    b. Atom Bombs

                                    c. Cherry Bombs

                                    d. Lady Fingers


            _________ 13. Why was a firecracker called a Cherry Bomb?

                                    a. Mr. Cherry designed it.

                                    b. The Cherry tree was explosive.

                                    c. It looked like a Cherry.

                                    d. No one knew why.


            _________ 14. What did “full-bladdered” mean?.   

a.       a football term

b.      condition of needing a bathroom

c.       having eaten too much

d.      talking too much


            _________ 15. Jerry’s attitude about fireworks was?

                                    a  they would make him popular

                                    b. they would earn him money          

                                    c. they could be used for mischief

                                    d. all of the above


            _________ 16.What was meant by “Land of pyrotechnic Goshen?”

                                    a. Wicker Park on July 4th

                                    b. Brantwood

                                    c. ancient biblical nation

                                    d. Missouri


            _________  17. What danger did Jerry consider?

                                    a. losing a thumb to an M-80

                                    b. blowing his fingers off

                                    c. stinging his fingers

                                   d. all of the above


            _________  18.  Why did Jerry think  the name Lady Fingers was discrimation?

                                    a.  negative connotations for women

                                    b.  men’s names were left out

                                    c.  a candy had the same name

                                    d.  Wasp Stingers  was a better name


            _________  19. What war was America fighting?    

                                    a. Viet Nam War                    

                                    b. World War II

                                    c. Korean War

                                    d. War Between the States


            _________ 20.  What did Jerry think of the fireworks stand they stopped at?

                                    a. it was a letdown

                                    b. the bathrooms were clean

                                    c. better than a roller coaster park

                                    d. close to his grandmother’s home   



He’ll Blow His Fingers Off Vocabulary List


            Word                           Synonym


1.   debilitating                  weakening                              

2.   puberty                        sexual maturity

  1. psyche                         inner self, ego
  2. pyrotechnics                fireworks
  3. detonate                      explode
  4. ordained                      meant to be, delegated

7.   burlesque                     striptease

8.   marquee                       lighted sign

  1. contraband                  illicit goods    
  2.  extravaganza              elaborate act               
  3.  horde                          crowd, multitude
  4.  compulsion                 overwhelming desire
  5.  cryptic                        secret, mysterious                   
  6.  hieroglyphics              ancient Egyptian
  7.  foraging                      living off the land
  8.  carnage                       destruction of life
  9.  discriminatory            prejudice
  10.  serpentining                winding
  11.  millennium                 a thousand years
  12.  en masse                     bodily
  13.  report                          explosive noise





The feared outcome of Jerry’s fireworks mischief.




The innocent 1950s 4th of July parading trumpeter musing about that night’s Brantwood fireworks extravaganza.