My modern family begins with me, my mom, my dad and my sister. My sister is a dog; her name is Snickers. My mom is Russian, and believes that running will give you a heart attack. My dad is a Scientologist. He signed a billion-year contract with Sea Org, so I don’t see him very often. Sometimes he sends me packages of sand.

My dad has a sister, Aunt Kathy. I’ve been told that she suffers from a rare disease: alcoholism. She has one daughter, Michelle, who is trying to be a stand-up comedian. Michelle keeps a blog of her biting observations; it goes largely unread. The family says that Michelle’s dad, Uncle Rob, skipped town years ago. But, I see him sometimes at the nearby McDonald’s during McRib season.

Aunt Kathy got remarried to a man from Iran. My mom is always telling people that he is NOT a terrorist, but I sometimes hear her asking him leading questions about American patriotism.

I also have a stepdad. He is a health freak who won’t explain to me what a colonic is. My stepdad has a son, Todd, from a prior arrangement with a hippy. Todd is not married, but sometimes goes on weekend trips to the desert with his mom, Sun Balls. My stepdad and Todd are Jewish, so they cannot have meat on their pizza. This annoys me because my favorite combo is extra cheese and extra pepperoni.

My stepdad has a brother, Bill, who is Mormon. He has two wives, but claims that he is just getting started. One of his wives is a total diva. She always asks where her swag bag is—even if we are at TGI Fridays. The other one is the head hostess at TGI Fridays. I only have one cousin, Sarah, from that clan. Depending on which mom you ask, Sarah may or may not be addicted to acid.

I actually have one other father figure, my mom’s lover, Christina. Christina is from Guatemala, and calls me “Cookie Pants.” She has one teenage son, George. George refuses to participate in team sports, and keeps a bullet on his key chain. Christina’s husband is a Republican. He does not receive invitations to our house—probably because he is unaware we exist.

Christina has three brothers. They are Catholic, and truly believe that they are drinking blood at church. I have told them that this makes them vampires—but they disagree with me. Each of them has a wife and two or three children. They all feel strongly about giving back to the community, and are always volunteering or participating in other time sucks like that.

My mom’s dad, Grandpa Vladimir, is gay, and claims that is why my mom is “half-gay.” Grandpa Vlad has a young boyfriend, Thomas, who is a performance artist. Thomas spent two weeks living in a dumpster—not as part of his art, but because he was homeless. My mom’s mom, Grandma Anna, lives in Florida, and will tell you that everything is overrated. The beach, your new haircut, Martin Scorsese, electricity, the color blue, kittens: O-VER-RAT-ED.

Grandma Anna has a brother who has a son, Sonny. Sonny and his wife have quadruplets. They practice Buddhism and veganism, and are generally regarded as being the annoying side of the family. Sonny has a brother, Charlie, who has no legs. This can be a bummer when we play capture the flag at family get-togethers, even though Charlie has a positive mental attitude.

That finally leaves me and Snickers. Snickers has a boyfriend, a dachshund. The family does NOT approve of such things. We hate Germans. As for me, I am nine years old, and am aware of social issues way beyond my maturity level.

That’s it —that’s my modern family! We all kind of hate each other.