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Essay Types

Page history last edited by Jayson Yeagley 12 years, 4 months ago

Personal essay

Focused on belief or insight about life that is significant to the writer

Personal narrative

Focused on a significant event

Personal memoir

Focused on a significant relationship between the writer and a person, place, or object




This I Believe
Lesson 1: Sample Personal Narrative

My Pal, Robert

Have you ever heard the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20?” Well, I don’t think that there is a week that goes by that that saying isn’t proved to me over and over again. One night this past spring I learned a little “look before you leap” lesson that taught me to more carefully evaluate the circumstances of a situation before I actually put myself in it.


I think it’s safe to say that I am a “weirdo magnet.” I firmly believe that when I am at my most vulnerable, a flashing sign appears on my head that only strange people can see that says, “TALK TO ME! TALK TO ME!” You may think I’m exaggerating, but trust me, I’m not.

Beginning in the month of April through the month of September, I work for a wonderful and efficient organization called the Cincinnati Reds. When I first started the job, I wasn’t quite comfortable driving myself to the stadium, so I had to rely on my mom to drop me off and pick me up. Since there is never a set time that I get off work, I would have to call my mom and then go wait for her outside at the service entrance. The approximate time was usually around 11:00 p.m. Usually there is a trusty security guard named Arnie who works at the service entrance. You know the type, about sixty-five years old and couldn’t protect you from anything even if he wasn’t sleeping or missing in action.

So picture this: It’s 11:00 at night, I’m standing outside the service entrance alone, all dressed up and looking like the perfect target for any psychopath that happens to be in the area. I guess this might be a good time to describe what it’s like at the service entrance. The tunnel itself is dark, cold, smelly, and there is always some unidentified substance dripping from the ceiling. At the head of the tunnel there is a little security guard shack where the smell of a burning illegal substance is often present. There is also an entrance to the other field, a room for the night (clean-up) crew, and a metal folding chair where Arnie usually sits when he is around. Around this entrance is reserved parking for important people and it is generally the place where the night crew hangs out. Now I don’t want to be mean, but a night crew member who is not on probation of some sort is the exception to the rule.

Anyway, as you can imagine I was feeling kind of nervous, and of course, Arnie was nowhere to be found. Normally someone would wait with me for my parents, but the circumstances were out of the ordinary. As I was standing there outside the service entrance, that horrible feeling came over me that you get when you feel someone’s eyes on you, and I could see someone coming towards me out of the corner of my eye. Rather than just stand there awkwardly, I turned face to face with the person hoping and praying that he wasn’t going to touch me, talk to me, or maybe ABDUCT me.

When he got about two inches from my face he said hoarsely, “Hi, I’m Robert.” His breath reeked of alcohol and a mixture of some other things like, oh, I don’t know, garbage? I was inwardly freaking out. His appearance was even more unsettling. He was a guy about my height, was wearing a dirty bandana around his head that I think was white at one time, and he had one tooth in the front of his mouth that had a sign on it that said, “Next tooth—one mile.” “Hi,” I responded, trying to keep my cool. Where are you Arnie? I thought to myself. “What’s your name?” he asked. Oh, no, he’s trying to pick up on me! I thought.
I contemplated making up a fake name, but my mind went blank. “Erin,” I responded, while shaking like
a leaf. 


“That’s a pretty name,” he said. Of course I could have said my name was Bertha Sue and he probably still would have said it was pretty. Every minute seemed like an eternity as I struggled to be polite and make small talk with my new pal. I kept inching away from him but he kept moving forward to make up for it. Every time he attempted to make conversation, I cordially gave him one- word answers with a forced smile. I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty for the way I was acting, even though I was scared to death.

“You shouldn’t be standing out here by yourself. Somebody could do something to you, you know? That wouldn’t be right,” he said, looking me up and down and making me want to crawl out of my skin. Yeah, people like you! I wanted to scream. Finally, after what seemed like years, but was probably only five minutes, my mom and step-dad pulled up. By that time Arnie (the trusty security guard) had materialized, but had taken no notice of my predicament. I grabbed my bag, took off at world record speed towards the car, and yelled over my shoulder, “There’s my mom, bye!” Oh, but it wasn’t over yet. My source of torture couldn’t let me get away that easily. He followed me over to the car. No, I am not joking. As I opened the door, Robert stepped up to the car.

“Hi, I’m Robert” He said, extending his hand. My mom shook it to be polite. “I’ve been watching your daughter for ya.” My mom was at a loss for words. “Uh, thanks,” she said. “See ya later.” She slammed the car door and as we drove away, I began to think about what had happened. I don’t know what Robert wanted. Maybe his intentions were good, and maybe they weren’t. Either way, I was never in any real danger. Even though I was scared, I could have been a little more polite. People are people, no matter what.

However, I don’t think I’ll ever wait for my ride alone again. 





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