Both sides of my family are corrupt. Every family gathering tests the limits of my patience and makes me wonder where the hell I came from. I certainly cannot possibly be related to these people. Thanksgiving this year was a perfect example.

We all gathered at my grandmother's house. My mom and I were first to arrive on the scene. We helped set out some food and managed to find grandma’s hearing aid in the cat’s food dish. After much cleaning and loud speaking, it was reinstalled in its proper location.

Next to arrive was the promiscuous Victoria Secret model cousin, Helda*. She has had breast augmentation surgery, three husbands, and several children by several people. Her hair is white-blond, short, and her clothes belong on some sick and twisted fashion runway. She is stick thin, lives off vitamins and diet pills, and enjoys fondling her newest boyfriend in front of children.

Then comes Bufonda* (Helda’s sister), perhaps the most normal of everyone. She is moving to Brazil to escape the strenuous demands of her dying mother, and to meet the family of her professional athlete triathlon SO. She plans on becoming a Portuguese teacher, although she doesn’t yet speak it. Bufonda is a black belt, and perhaps one of the most naturally beautiful people I’ve ever seen.

Next come Mary* and Gretle*, the girlfriend of my uncle, and her daughter. They’re both pretty cool, despite their incredible lack of height. My uncle walks in with them, laughing through his beard behind a bright red face. He’s always happy. He just became a grandfather for the second time.

Then comes the strangest yet. My Aunt Fiona* – mother of seven. She carries around a pharmacy in her purse, due to her endless list of medical and psychological ailments. Her sagging face and wasted body are the obvious side effects of her addiction to some sort of morphine-type painkiller. She spends most of the day out on the porch smoking a cigarette with her three oldest children and talking about her chemotherapy.

More people flood through the door, and I lose track of who’s who.

How do I fit in to this group of people? My entire immediate family seems to be an outsider. My parents are successful, content, with two basically normal children who get along. Or am I just smoothing over our flaws? I’ll never know.

Hmm. I do have my share of problems. Doesn’t everyone? I’ve been on an antidepressant for three years. I was in a mental hospital for quite some time for various reasons. Maybe I do fit in after all.

Oh, the things you learn at family gatherings.

* = names have been changed

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