BREAUX BRIDGE, LA – Local non-religious man Stephen Peters reportedly spent the majority of Christmas Eve mentally preparing himself for the impending and unavoidable situation of having to stand there through his in-laws pre-Christmas meal grace, looking awkward and unable to recite any of the words that the other 37 people in the room are saying.

Mr. Peters, who grew up in Portage Park, a sleepy suburb of Chicago and a far cry from the God-fearing lands of Southern Louisiana, moved to Lafayette in 2008 – his wife’s hometown. He has so far had to endure six awkward Christmas graces with his in-laws, and has now decided to mentally and physically condition himself to allow him to handle the 40-second grace with ease.

He was spotted by a neighbor at 6am sunrise this morning, sitting cross-legged on his fleur-de-lis themed outdoor garden bench, eyes closed, and in complete silence. A different neighbor then spotted him retreating to his house at around 4pm this evening.

Mr. Peters was unavailable for comment, presumably still in the zone, but good friend Max Bernhoff commented on his friends plans.

“I think he’s just a little sick of not knowing what to do for those 40 seconds, y’know” Mr. Bernhoff stated. “It’s like… where should his hands go? How should he stand? Should he make eye contact with anyone and run the risk of seeming like a jackass? Should he move his mouth pretending to know what things to recite, or just stay quiet? There’s a hell of a lot to take into consideration, and I think this is his way of just coming to terms with it all. I’m sure he’s ready this year. He should be fine.”

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