Poor Jacob—his well-sugared words of wisdom (Jacob the Baker, 1989) have become so popular that petitioners now prevent him from doing any baking. ``I am Jacob the Baker,'' he thinks, ``...if I cannot be what I am, then I cannot be where I am. It is time for me to go.'' So Jacob sets off on a quest for quietude—but finds that people everywhere are hungry for his wisdom, which he dispenses at the slightest invitation (coming upon a freezing old man who says to him, ``I had no place to go,'' Jacob replies: ``Where are any of us going?''). Author benShea, president of the New York Bagel Factory, keeps the faux-pearls of wisdom rolling at a dizzying pace (and headlines each chapter with them in case readers miss the point: e.g., ``Reality Is Only a Memory Ahead of Its Time,'' or, ``A Fool Is Someone Who Knows Too Much to Learn Anything'') until Jacob at last returns home, having learned that ``Wherever We Stop on Our Journey, the First Person We Will Meet is Ourself.'' A self- styled ``fable,'' then, that should please benShea's fans and perhaps a few of Robert Fulghum's, too.
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