by Eric Spitznagel

My sister-in-law is convinced that her son, who is only eight months old, is fluent in Finnish. "Listen to him," she'll tell us, "he's already calling me aiti and his dad isa." We huddle around him and wait for sounds to leak from his tiny mouth, and sure enough, his baby gibberish could pass for Finnish. My brother just laughs, mocking her, saying, "I know you've had too much to drink when you get this vociferous about Finland." I'll always defend her; not because I believe her son is actually claiming allegiance to his Finnish roots, but because I know what she really means. From the moment I met him, I've been watching my nephew, studying his movements, running my hands over his face like a blind person reading a braille novel, looking for something familiar.


Eric Spitznagel, author of Purple Weave, is a regular contributor to magazines like Playboy and The Believer. He's also the author of six books, the most recent being Fast Forward: Confessions of a Porn Screenwriter. His blog is called Vonnegut's Asshole, which is kinda ironic, as he infrequently writes about either assholes or Kurt Vonnegut. He's more afraid of you than you are of him.