Wells Tower brings his 69-year-old dad to Burning Man for father-son bonding

Wearing googles—and at times little else— the American short-story and non-fiction writer experiences the annual California desert counterculture festival by making a road trip for his father and couple of elderly pals in this selection from The Best American Essays 2014.

I’m a sucker for annual “best of” anthologies and one Christmas gift I haven’t been able to put down is The Best American Essays 2014 edited by Pulphead author John Jeremiah Sullivan. It has great personal pieces by the likes of Dave Eggers, Yiyun Li and Zadie Smith. One of the standout pieces is Well Tower’s cross-generational adventures at the post-apocalyptic Woodstock that is Burning Man.

In one of the pieces’ many great father-son scenes, Tower junior and Tower senior —after being in desperate need of a shower— emerge into the dessert in their goggles from the Human Carcass Carwash only instantly be “battered like fish sticks in alkaline dust.”

The piece was originally commissioned by GQ and is available on their site. If you’re looking for some respite from your own family adventures over the holidays, this is our prescription.

The Best American Essays 2014 is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.