Preface: My students just finished writing personal narratives on a incident where they made a choice and the consequences of that choice. Here is the sample I wrote. This is an un-edited first draft. It is intentionally un-edited so that they can identify areas that can be changed and improved.
There I was, standing in the middle of my friend’s living room, about to do one of the grossest things I have ever done. I thought I was just being nice and helpful. I was always taught, “If you see something on the floor, pick it up and throw it away.” In the dim light of the room it looked like an innocent clump of dog hair. No big deal, right? Wrong!
I leaned over to pick it up. As my fingers glided closer and closer, my eyes began to focus on the object on the floor. There was indeed hair…on all eight of its legs. An inch away from the now trembling tips of my fingers was a furry, multi-eyed spider. I leapt back and let out a yell. Not a high-pitched girly scream. A yell. I don’t scream. With my heart pounding in my chest, I put as much distance between that creepy arachnid and me. Ever since watching Arachnophobia as a kid I have been terrified of spiders. Even spiders that are no bigger than a quarter scare me.
However, just because I put an entire living room between the spider and me didn’t mean my problem was solved. In fact, my situation was worse. Before, I only had to pick up a clump of fur. Now the clump had legs. I couldn’t just leave it to run wild and free throughout the house. That would be rude. What if it bit someone? I had to get rid of it.
My solution? I took my shoe off and aimed for the critter. My aim was terrible. I was never any good at baseball. When that didn’t work I called in reinforcements.
My friend, whose house it was, came running in. I pointed, did a heebie-jeebie dance and said, “Spider!”
He marched over to the spider with all the bravery of a soldier ready for war. In one stomp the enemy was dead. I cringed as he lifted his foot to display the mangled corpse of the unfortunate houseguest.
It was one of those moments that I will never forget. First, shortly there after, I went to the eye doctor and learned I needed glasses. Had I known that sooner, I might have been able to tell the difference between a hairball and a spider. Second, I learned to be more careful and pay more attention to my surroundings. If I had turned on a light before attempting to pick something off the floor, then—once again—I would have realized my mistake. A final thought to remember, no good deed goes unpunished.by