Daniel Augustino

Napa, California

There are a number of feeling-states appropriate to the avuncular role, among which insane jealousy is not generally cited. And yet, in assessing Daniel Augustino, some strain of envy appears inevitable. There are several reasons for this, though we are best to start with his look, which is of the angelic-tousled-blond-not-quite-ready-for-bath variety. Women swoon in his presence. On occasion, they will follow him home from the Parco Fantastico, his favorite daytime haunt. Daniel is three and preternaturally handsome.

I have discussed this situation with his father, who shares my distress. “Yeah, we’re a little worried. If he gets my brains and Lisa’s social skills, it’s pretty much lights out for the lady babies.”

Daniel also speaks three languages, the most prominent being Italian. He will occasionally throw in bits of English and Spanish, which lend his speech a distinct, Eurotrashy flair, only slightly hampered by his inability to dependably form complete sentences. During a recent visit to his home in Napa Valley, Daniel drew attention to his toilet-training skills by announcing (with a certain rakish self-satisfaction) his intention to fare cacca. Not long ago, he set about inventing a fourth language, which, to this point, consists of only two words, both, apparently, exclamations: stockabiko and uhmbobilee.

He is physically unafraid of anything and has displayed a disquieting tendency to jump from moving vehicles.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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—Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author of the story collection My Life in Heavy Metal. His new book, Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America will be published in April by Algonquin. To find out what candy he eats, check out

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