Peek: I don’t like it when you write those insane advice columns; I prefer it when you write about the weird crap that happens to you.
Nathan: All right Peek, the next one’s for you.
Peek: Wow, thanks. Can I be in one of those intro snippets?
Nathan: Damn, why don’t you just write the freaking thing?
Peek: I don’t know. That sounds a lot like work.

Some moments in life are what I call “clingers.” The moments that are so cherishable, remembering them is actually a big help when life really starts to suck (you know, in the bad way). The following is one of my favorite clingers.

After one debauchery-filled week in New Orleans (it was Jazz Fest), I awoke on the thin carpet of a hotel floor. The room was covered in vomit, blood and other bodily fluids I need not mention here. I was so messed up, my hangover had a hangover and I could hardly remember—let alone spell—my own name.

“By the time I got out of there, at least thirty little girls had kissed me on the cheek, and the motion of emotion was pushing at my tear ducts.”

Slowly and groggily, I gathered my clothes and packed them in my carry-on bag. My friends had already checked out of the hotel because they were smart enough to schedule their return flights within a few hours of our hotel checkout time. I, however, am a moron, so I had six hours to kill, maim, or just generally beat the ever-loving crap out of. I grabbed my bag and went strolling down Bourbon Street.

The more I walked, the worse I felt. I tried every hangover cure I could think of: hair of the dog, greasy breakfast and aspirin (I couldn’t think of any more—probably because I was so hungover). Nothing worked. Somehow, I lost track of where I was and walked by the open door of a church. “Dang,” I thought, “it’s Sunday.”

Now, I’m not a very religious person, but there was something about the way I felt, combined with my available free time and the events of the previous week (let’s just say, mistakes were made, friends were lost, and a good time was had by all) that made me decide to enter the church. So I walked in (wearing flip flops, a stained white T-shirt, and a pair of cotton shorts) and sat in the back.

I’ll spare you the details of the service. All you really need to know is that I sat next to a man named Lionel and he invited me to a pot luck dinner afterwards. Oh yeah, and everyone in the place was black and well dressed except for yours truly. (Look at my photo: I am really white.)

At the pot luck in the back of the church, I had the best food I have ever eaten in my life: jambalaya, honey cakes, gator, crawfish, vegetables I couldn’t even name that tasted like butter-covered-love, and the Best Gumbo on Earth. The woman serving that Gumbo was stern-looking and obviously very elderly, despite her excellent posture. After about my seventh serving of Gumbo, I said to her, “You know I think this is the best day of my life.”

She looked doubtful and replied, “You know there’s only one best day, Child.”

“Are you talking about Christmas?”

“I am talking about Christmas.”

“Well Ma’am, I was born on Christmas.”

With an almost militant cadence, she replied, “Lemme see your ID.”

I showed her my license. After staring at it intently, she yelled across the room: “Lionel… Lionel! Bring Baby Doll over here.”

A little girl (possibly four years old) wearing a pink dress and sporting pig tails wrapped in pink ribbon presented herself to me. She actually curtseyed.

“Yes Grandma,” she said.

“Baby Doll, I want you to kiss this man on the cheek for luck. He was born on Christmas.”

By the time I got out of there, at least thirty little girls had kissed me on the cheek, my stomach was full, my hangover was gone and the motion of emotion was pushing at tear ducts behind my bloodshot eyes. Not for nothing, I slept like a baby on the flight home.

For those of you not into this sensitive stuff: I promise next week will be vulgar. To those of you into this sensitive stuff: I’m sorry. Next week will be vulgar.

If you’d like to read more of Nathan (and his everyday adventures), you can check him flexing his blog muscle at