The Old Man Isn't There Any More by Kellie Schmitt

Decent Essays

Everyone has had an embarrassing moment in their life at one point or another; slipping on ice in public or forgetting a coworkers name at the company picnic. Making a fool of yourself is bound to happen, especially in a setting outside of what you are accustomed to. Some people do not like reliving these moments while others have a gift for turning their embarrassment into a great story. Kellie Schmitt’s essay “The Old Man Isn’t There Anymore” is a perfect example of laughing at oneself. Throughout a cluster of Chinese do’s and do not’s, Schmitt tells the reader of one specific event and its comical conclusion. The essay is fun to read and relate to. Laughing with the author is made easy while she gracefully shares her missteps while she and her husband adapt to living in China. Learning new customs for an inevitable occasion most Americans probably are not privy too makes the essay most interesting.
The piece describes what she envisioned her time in China would be like; visions of small talk and drinking tea danced in her head (Schmitt 125). This is a bit admirable to a more reserved person because it shows how outgoing she is when diving into a new culture. However, the reality of a language barrier and day to day behavior settled in. A series of uncomfortable exchanges illustrate the challenge of being accepted into a new culture. Described in the essay are people standing around in bath robes and under garments and popping in and out of rooms like some sort of clown

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