Hypothetically Speaking . . .

. . . . . . . . Because Humor Matters

I’m a Professional . . . and I Mean It!!!

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jun• 17•18

I’m number 1 . . . or number 141 . . . but you get the point.

I’m not sure if you know this or not, but, allegedly, I’m a professional. Clearly, not as much of a professional as Martha Stewart, Steve Jobs, or Snooki even, but one can certainly dream. And you may not be able to tell my level of professionalism by the sporadic frequency of my blog posts, but that’s beside the point. My posts are like child support; you never know if and when it’s coming. From my perspective, it keeps things interesting. Consistency is so overrated.

Well, here is another secret that I may not have shared: I’m working on my MBA. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be that I’m paying for my MBA. If the student-loan payment schedules are correct, this is an expense I’ll be repaying until at least 2092. Because of that, I may have to order some children and grandchildren off eBay to keep the payments going after I . . . ummm . . . go to that mythical place in the sky where Sallie Mae can’t find me and where you never exceed your mobile data allowance.

Several judgmental people have questioned my choice in getting an MBA and the amount of time it has taken me to complete the program. First of all, I thought MBA was short for Michael Blog Awesome. I was two years into the program before I realized that it stood for something-something-business-something. Imagine my shock and disappointment to learn the truth that the program wasn’t about Michael or my blog at all. But because I’m not a quitter, I decided to stick with it. I mean, having a something-something-business-something degree certainly won’t hurt.

Secondly, going to school isn’t cheap. Depending on what’s on sale at Kohl’s that week, I may not have $5,000 lying around to put toward my next course. Every semester I’m forced to make a life decision between a new pair of khakis or a class on leadership development. In these instances, I ask myself what would Oprah do, and then I get the khakis. I mean, I could develop my leadership skills anytime, but I may never have the opportunity to save fifty cents on a pair of slacks again. Hey, it’s all about priorities.

While I slowly progress toward my degree, I figured I could start to find ways to demonstrate my status as a professional. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way that showing random people my college transcripts may not be the best method. As it was explained to me, it holds up the McDonald’s drive-thru lane when I try to explain to the cashier why I got a C in Professor Smith’s class three years ago. Clearly, I was robbed. My blood pressure is rising now just thinking about it.

That noted, I’ve switched up my technique and began searching for other ways to look and act the part of a professional. First, I got a full-body mirror so that I could assess the situation. Actually, if I am completely honest, I had to buy three full-body mirrors. Because of my girth, all of me wouldn’t fit on one mirror no matter how far I backed away from it. At one point, I backed right out my front door and across the hall where I had to knock on my neighbor’s door so he could let me continue to back up through his living room. By the time I found myself backing up through his bedroom, where his wife was sleeping, I realized that maybe I was going a tad bit overboard and just ordered the additional mirrors, but not before I woke his wife up and asked her to make me a sandwich. After all, I was a guest.

Anyway, after the full body assessment and a quick call to my team of plastic surgeons, I realized what I needed to do. I would get glasses. Glasses make everyone look smart. Actually, I already have a pair of glasses, but I paid so much for them that I keep them as a souvenir. If MTV Cribs ever wants to film here at my apartment again, I’ll show everyone that I keep them on the bookshelf where my future Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy awards for Best Humor Blog will eventually go.

To choose the right pair, I’ve been randomly borrowing people’s glasses and trying them on. This works well with my co-workers and my shrink, but not so much with the strangers I meet on the Metro. I’m not sure why people are so distrustful of folks they don’t know. I mean, I’m only asking to borrow their glasses; I’m not asking for a kidney! Every time I tap someone on the shoulder, they immediately tell me they don’t have any spare change, which is offensive. However, if they did happen to have spare change, I wouldn’t turn it down. Hey, my cable bill is due.

Once they finally hand over their glasses, I then give them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take my picture while I’m wearing them. For the first picture, they usually seem confused about what’s happening, but they typically go along with it. However, by the time I’ve had them re-take the picture 20 times due to bad lighting, my eyes being closed, or my nose being too shiny, they start to get a bit annoyed. People can be so impatient. It’s ok, though. They can’t possibly know now that 40 years down the road they’ll be able to tell their grandchildren about that one time they did that photoshoot with me on the train. They’ll see.

Just call me Mike Tyson Beckford!

My search for the perfect glasses has not been without its challenges. So far, I’ve gotten pink eye four times in the past two weeks. Although I do have the chiseled cheek bones that rival male models like Tom Brady or Cristiano Ronaldo, having pink eye completely ruined my new dating profile picture for BlackFarmersWhoAreKindOfChristianMingle.com. Instead of being asked about my background, hobbies, and my bank account balance, potential suitors keep asking what’s wrong with my eye. Folks can be so superficial. Isn’t it what’s on the inside that counts? Well, I guess conjunctivitis is technically inside my eye, but that’s neither here nor there.

Besides glasses, I also figured it was time to upgrade my wardrobe so I could look the part of a professional as well. Perhaps I may have overdone it by strutting through the office in a sparkly silver tuxedo with a matching top hat. The cane and the wingtip shoes probably didn’t help my case either. However, I’m sure you’ll agree that this ensemble was a vast improvement over the Mickey Mouse T-shirt I wore to present the departmental statistics to the executive team last week. I was just happy I scaled it back and didn’t wear the outfit I’d planned to wear from The Great Gatsby movie. I’m not sure a feathered headband and a shawl have a proper place in a corporate setting. At least not on a Tuesday.

Clearly, I’m a work in progress. I don’t have it all figured out just yet, but who does? Ok, maybe Meghan Markle and Mama June have things under control, but perhaps we shouldn’t set our bars that high. I mean, one married a prince and the other mothered Honey Boo Boo. We can only dream of such greatness. But, in the meantime, we’ll just have to keep trying on other people’s glasses, one pair at a time.

It’s just me!!!!

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

Adulting Sucks!!!

Written By: Michael Rochelle - May• 28•18

I don’t want to grow up!

A wise person on Pinterest once wrote, “Adulthood is like looking both ways before you cross the street and then getting hit by an airplane.” Because that’s just my luck, I can barely go three minutes without looking up into the sky to see what obstacles South West or United may be hurling my way. I’ve already been informed that my job will not tolerate any more lateness from me, so being hit by a plane will not be considered an acceptable excuse for my being tardy—even if I do have a doctor’s note and a leg dragging behind me. It’s good to know these sort of things in advance.

I’ve been an adult since at least 1922. That noted, I have the authority to say that adulting needs to be voted off the island. It’s severely overrated. I miss the days when I didn’t have to worry about paying bills or watching what I eat. Now that I’m aging faster than wine and cheese, if I have just two Doritos, my blood pressure spikes and my girdle buttons pop faster than a bottle of champagne on New Year’s Eve. I apologize to the people who have lost an eye or an elbow in any of those girdle incidents.

Back in the day, before I was using phrases like “back in the day,” I could randomly spend the night over a friend’s house. The bed, the couch, or the floor would all have been suitable places for me to rest my head. Now, I have to plan overnight stays well in advance and ask important questions like, “Do you have a Sealy Postuerpedic or a Sleep Number bed available? I require a firmness setting of at least 48 or else my back locks up and stiffens worse than a politician being asked to answer a question honestly.”

In addition to the physical difficulties that come along with adulthood, you’re also expected to make “responsible” decisions and to be “mature.” It’s gotten so bad that, before I buy a Snickers bar, I have to decide whether the purchase is a better choice than investing the dollar into my 401k. After holding up the grocery line while I debate this in my head, the Snickers usually wins. I justify this by believing that if I don’t eat now, I won’t live long enough to utilize my 401k. Of course, none of this matters if I get hit by a plane.

Another reason I choose the Snickers is because I have yet to see any financial gains from the $3.50 I invested in my 401k 10 years ago. Once I put the money in, you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t a superstar. The world was mine! However, I just checked my balance and it’s still $3.50. So much for investing in my future!!! At this rate, when I’m old enough to retire, I’ll be able to buy a Sausage McMuffin and a senior citizen coffee . . . maybe . . . depending on inflation.

Seriously, when I do my budget once a year, I’m forced to make life decisions around whether I should pay the rent or the cable bill. Granted, if you don’t have a roof over your head, you probably don’t need cable as much, but that’s beside the point. I’ve had many conversations with my landlord about the cultural importance of Game of Thrones and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, but despite my many protests, he usually demands that I pay the rent on time. It figures. My landlord is always trying to make a buck regardless of how much it inconveniences me. Some people are so self-centered.

I know what you’re thinking, it just doesn’t make sense to have cable or WiFi if you’re homeless. Well, as long as I pay for the WiFi, maybe I’ll find that it’s enjoyable to sit outside and watch HBO or Showtime on my tablet underneath a starlit sky. I guess I’d have to find a place to plug in the router, but that’s neither here nor there. Like the good book says, “Where there’s a will, there’s an electrical outlet.” I’ll figure it out.

As a child, I never had to worry about how food was being put on the table. I assumed my mother would go out under the cover of night like other moms and use her senses to hunt down the evening’s meal. On at least two occasions, I remember looking out the window and seeing her hiding behind a dumpster waiting to pounce on unsuspecting prey. From what I remember, she was really good at catching chicken and hot dogs. Sometimes she would even catch rice or a neighbor. Sometimes she would just catch peas. I have no idea how she caught the Corn Flakes.

Anyway, back then I never had to be concerned about the light bill. As a matter of fact, several of my worst childhood floggings took place because I’d left a light on. My mother would act like my leaving a light on was me intentionally breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Little does she know that I was leaving the light on because I was scared of the dark, and so were all the ghost that lived in our apartment with us. I was just trying to be helpful. Casper wasn’t always so friendly.

Ironically, whenever my mom comes to visit, I have to run after her like she’s a toddler and cut the lights off behind her. Apparently, she only cares about the cost of electricity when she is the one paying for it. If she only knew that I have to dust off my stripper boots every month to pay for the cable and utilities, she’d probably think again about leaving the lights on. Besides, I’m pretty sure I’ve broken several of the actual Commandments during my night shift as Caramel Macchiato Thunder. Let’s keep that between us, though.

When you’re a kid, all you have to worry about is making it to school in a matching outfit and turning in your homework on time. On special days, you may even have taken a shower, brushed your hair, and slapped on some deodorant. As an adult, if I’m late on a work assignment, words like “write up” and “termination” get thrown around with reckless abandon. Last week I was fired at least three times by noon on Monday. I was never fired when I was a kid.

Growing up, I remember periodically asking my mom for 30-minute extensions to my bedtime. For a while, I think I was the only teenager that had to be in bed by 7:30. Now, as an adult, going to bed at 7:30 sounds like a blessing. At around 6 PM, my body starts to shut down, and if I don’t make it to my bed, I will end up falling asleep wherever I am. One evening this happened while I was riding the Metro. When I woke up the next morning, they charged me a $300 fare for riding from station to station all night.

Lastly, adulting sucks because the expectations are just too high. People expect me to know adult things like how to recycle. I’ve Googled it and phoned a friend, but I still don’t get it. Apparently, I’m supposed to be setting an example for today’s youth. First of all, no one should be looking up to me for anything. I can barely choose clean underwear in the morning. No one should be following my lead, which is why I don’t have children. I assessed that situation years ago and decided it was best to be both spayed and neutered just to be safe. I consider it me doing my part for humanity. If you think things are bad in the world now, imagine if there were little Michaels and Michaelinas running around. Worse yet, imagine me lurking behind a dumpster waiting for some unsuspecting stranger to come by so I could put food on the table. Yuck.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

In Need of CPR and Bail Money

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Apr• 22•18

Hiking!?!?!?! What was I thinking?

So, we are finally starting to experience some of the warmer weather that comes along with spring. Although I didn’t do as many push-ups as I had intended during the winter months, as soon as the temperature reached 70 degrees, I was the first person to rip off my shirt and my Spanx. Perhaps I shouldn’t have done it in the middle of aisle 15 at Walmart, but having the security team chase me through the toy section and then taze me repeatedly in the electronics section allowed me to finally check that off my bucket list.

Since the first really nice day of 2018 took place on a Friday, like most people, I had to make a life decision and choose whether I would be a grown-up and go in to work (yuck), or pretend to be sick. You should have seen me practicing my cough routine. I even practiced wheezing on cue while placing my thermometer under hot water. I then had to Google whether a reading of 369.1 was reasonable for humans or not. In the end I decided to just go with it. If someone questioned it, they could Google it themselves. That’s part of the problem with today’s society. Everyone wants a quick answer. Do the research!

For the sake of being thorough, I even went so far as taking a stool sample because I’ve never been denied a sick day when I’ve plopped a Ziploc bag of . . . umm . . . a Ziploc bag of “Michael” on my manager’s desk, right there beside her morning bagel. For the sake of argument, I then ask my manager for her thoughts on the sample. How does she feel about the color? What does she think about the consistency? How would she rank the specimen in relation to all the other samples she’d analyzed that day?

Since we work in accounting, my manager typically doesn’t have to analyze a ton of stool samples. However, it really just depends on the day. I mean, my manager has a boss too. If her boss walks into the office and demands a prostate exam right there on the spot, my manager has to do what she has to do. It doesn’t even matter that her boss is a female. Sometimes she still wants her prostate and testosterone levels checked. But I digress.

My stool sample usually gets me the day off with no problems and no further questions asked. Feel free to use this technique whenever you feel necessary. You can make it even more effective if you leave the sample on your boss’ desk while you slowly back out of the office. If they tell you that you’ve left something behind, just let him or her know that you want to leave them with a little something to think about.

Not exactly the stool sample I was referring to, but close enough.

Anyway, you’ll be happy to know that I chose to go in to work that Friday. After all, I’m a professional. However, I only worked the full day because I somehow lost my stool sample on the Metro on the way to the office. I’m not sure what happened. The only thing I remember is that I had it in my hand, fell asleep, and when I woke up it was gone. Perhaps someone else had the same idea as I had and they slapped my stool sample on their manager’s desk and demanded to be sent home. Glad I could help.

Because the following Saturday was warm as well, I woke up after months of inactivity and somehow decided to go straight into a 5-mile hike on one of the Sugarloaf Mountain trails not too far from my house. Of course, there were 99 problems with that decision, and my lack of ability to read a map should have been the first sign that this wasn’t the smartest choice I’d made in life. Fortunately, my GPS is portable, so I just let Garmin lead the way.

Another fault in my plan was that I embarked on the journey without doing a single stretch or any other form of warm-up exercise. There was literally no prep work involved. I also hit the trail without having any drinking water on me, which was a terrible idea in case I happened upon a thirsty deer or polar bear along the way. Most importantly, I forgot to pack a back-up battery in case my iPhone or GPS died. Let’s just chalk that up to bad planning on my part.

So, there I was on the mountain, in tennis shoes, flopping over fallen trees and stumbling over rocks—and that was all before I actually started the hike. After spending an hour trying to find the entrance to the trail, I decided to follow some random guys with biker jackets and tattoos into the woods. If I ran into trouble, I figured these guys would be more than happy to help. However, because I’m respectful, I decided to throw on my headphones and turn the volume up so that I wouldn’t overhear any of their plans to rob unsuspecting hikers along the trail. I mean, if Katie Couric or Robin Roberts ever called to ask what happened on the trail that fateful day, I wanted to be able to honestly answer that I knew nothing.

Besides not hearing the bikers’ robbery plans, the loud music seemed to be a good idea in case there were any angry foxes or rabbits out there on the trail. I believe it was Joel Osteen who once said, “If you can’t hear it, it clearly isn’t happening.” I think it’s completely appropriate to ignore a hungry wolf because you’re listening to Drake or Adele. In my opinion, the wolf can wait until I’ve finished singing along to “Someone Like You.” Sometimes you just have to know what’s most important in the moment.

Because I hadn’t exercised or stretched much before hitting the trail, I wasn’t able to keep up with the bikers. Maybe this was a good thing. After all, I hadn’t even introduced myself or asked them if they were killers or not. You’d be amazed at how many bad guys I’ve avoided simply by introducing myself, shaking their hands, and asking if they had bad intentions. Feel free to try this at home.

Someone please send help ASAP!!!!

After hiking for what I’d thought had been hours, I looked down at my phone to see that I’d only been on the trail for three minutes. Exhausted, I stopped to take a break. It was then that I heard the scream. As I turned toward the direction of the commotion, I was surprised to see that the bikers weren’t involved at all. Instead, a woman appeared to have been attacked by a rogue tree trunk that had reached out and grabbed ahold of her ankle. My inner superhero had been waiting my whole life for a moment like this. Finally, here was my opportunity to save the day.

Immediately, I dove into action and ran in slow motion over to the woman who was struggling to get her footing. Because she was laughing when I reached her, I thought she was clearly disoriented, so I pushed her down and asked if she needed help. Because I knew the potential severity of the situation, I didn’t bother waiting for her response. I knew what needed to be done, and nothing was going to stop me from helping a poor damsel in distress.

To my surprise, the damsel slapped me a few times as I mounted her and prepared to give her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Instinctively, I knew she was having trouble determining whether I was a friend or foe. After all, I didn’t have on my superhero costume, which I had left in the car for safekeeping. It was no wonder that she was confused. She continued to scream while I tried to inform her not to worry because I was certified in CPR. Clearly, she was in distress, so who knows what was going through her head at the time. I can only imagine.

As I held her down to administer CPR, I realized someone was behind me karate chopping me in the back of my head. Assuming the karate chops were coming from the rogue tree trunk that had grabbed the woman’s ankle, I leaned in and told the woman to stay calm as I tried not to black out. In that moment I wondered what would Oprah or Ellen do. I looked into the woman’s frightened eyes, stroked her face, and hoped that she knew I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her. That was the last thing I remember.

When I came to, I was surprised to find that I was in handcuffs in the back of a police car. An officer explained to me that while I thought I was being attacked by a tree trunk, I was actually being karate chopped by the woman’s husband. Apparently, he reported that his wife had simply tripped before I pushed her down and attacked her. I calmly explained that I was trained in CPR and my instincts to protect and serve had kicked in. I had seen a person in need, so I innocently tried to help.

As it turns out, the “poor damsel in distress” was really a paramedic and her husband was a neurosurgeon. From their perspective, they didn’t need my help in that moment, which I think is a bit shortsighted on their part. Maybe my one day of CPR training isn’t exactly equivalent to the neurosurgeon’s 12 years of college or the paramedic’s 20 years of work experience, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have saved the woman’s life if there had been a real emergency. I had simply misjudged the situation. Whoops.

In any case, I share this story, not to brag because I spent 20 minutes on a Saturday doing unspeakable things to a CPR manikin that really could have used a mint . . . or a Life Saver, but to emphasize the one step I forgot from my training, which was to make sure that the person you are trying to administer mouth-to-mouth to actually needs your help. When you skip that crucial step, terms like “assault” and “lawsuit” get thrown around. Learn from my mistakes. I share these life lessons with you so that you won’t have to learn the hard way. By the way, please send bail money ASAP.

View from the top!

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

In Defense of Bacon and Eggs

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Apr• 01•18

Eggs and bacon, anyone?

People often ask why I don’t post more frequently. Well, if I can be honest, most of the time it’s because I’m folded up into a ball, clutching myself, hiding underneath my bed, trying not to pass out from the smell of old sneakers and snow boots that have been under there since at least 1980. Alternatively, I could be in the closet, hiding behind the sweaters, peeking out only when I hear a strange sound, and then quickly getting back in formation when I realize the coast is clear.

Clearly, there are many reasons to want to hide behind a bookshelf these days. I mean, my supervisor has my personal cell phone number. Seeing her name on my caller ID at 8 p.m. while I’m in the middle of watching The Sopranos or The Wire is enough to make me want to burn my phone and launch myself off the balcony to get to safety as quickly as possible. The last time this happened, I broke three legs before ultimately answering the phone just to learn that she had called me unintentionally. She was simply trying to place an order at Chick-fil-A and misdialed. That’s understandable. After all, they do have good chicken biscuits.

If you turn on the news or open Twitter, there are over 50,000 reasons to want to shove yourself into the trunk of your Mazda. Just today I logged on and was immediately assaulted by various photos of the Easter Bunny. This was disturbing for a couple of reasons. One, I remember being a toddler and having the Easter Bunny steal my wallet as I sat on his lap at the mall. Two, I’ve never understood the connection between the Easter Bunny and eggs, but I guess it’s 2018 and I really need to learn to have a more open mind about these sorts of things. Live your life, Easter Bunny. Live your life.

Anyway, as you all know from the press conference I did on CNN the other day or from my opening monologue on Saturday Night Live, I’ve been trying to make better food choices in my day-to-day life. I mean, what’s the point of going to the gym twice a year if you’re just going to reward yourself with an extra-large pizza and a side of Old Bay wings afterward? Perhaps there should at least be a random piece of lettuce or tomato thrown in there for good measure. Even if you don’t eat it, it still counts.

Because of my renewed focus on my lettuce intake, before every meal I take a few moments to ponder this life choice. It gets pretty serious. I stand there and stare at the McDonald’s or Wendy’s menu and debate the health benefits of a burger vs chicken tenders. I then wonder how many squats are needed to burn off the 3,000 calories from a small order of fries. Fortunately, they use vegetable oil, so at least I can log that as a serving or two of my daily veggies.

Before I lose the momentum to be healthy, right then and there I drop down and do 20 push-ups before placing my order. Of course, this confuses the people in line behind me—and the cashiers—but I simply tell them to mind their business. Some people just won’t let me be great. By the time the police arrive, I quickly decide on a Big Mac and leave the premises as soon as possible. It would be very difficult to update my blog from prison. I’m not even sure if they have Wi-Fi. I’ll ask my mom. She’s been a few times.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been drinking various green, purple, and brown smoothies. I know what you’re thinking. You want to know what these concoctions taste like. Well, let’s say you woke up on a Saturday morning and you decided to cut the grass. While you’re cutting the lawn, you get so hungry that you look at the grass flying out of the lawn mower and you grab a big hunk of it and put it into a cup. Let’s say you then wonder what it would be like to add a cup of motor oil and a tablespoon of gasoline to it.

But wait, we aren’t done.

So, you take that grass, oil, and gasoline and then you add a pinch of sugar and a capful of laundry detergent for taste. Don’t worry. You can choose Tide or Gain. It doesn’t matter. Whichever you think is best. You may even want to add a little Downy just to soften the mixture as it goes down—umm, and later as it flows out. You know what I mean. No need to be extra graphic here, but I suspect that if we all added a little Downy to our diet, less people would complain about constipation. But I digress.

Yum! Umm . . . NO!!!!!

As tasty as I’m sure that grass smoothie sounds, I can confirm that no amount of leaves, shrubs, or other ingredients that I’ve added have made the mixture taste like bacon and eggs, which is always my intent. As a matter of fact, I have sometimes added a side of bacon to the smoothie just for kicks. I must admit that it probably would have been better if I had actually cooked the bacon first, but you live and you learn. Don’t judge me.

Cheers! Bottoms up!

Each time I look at the purplish smoothie, I immediately break into tears and run to hide in the cabinet until the desire to cook eggs and bacon subside. That technique does not always work. Sometimes I fall asleep in there and wake up to find myself standing at the stove with a spatula in one hand, a frying pan in the other, and a cookbook open to a recipe for Eggs Benedict on the counter. I find this ironic because woke-me doesn’t like Eggs Benedict at all, but clearly sleep-me is a huge fan.

Maybe it is a bit unfair for me to compare bacon to a grass, oil, gas, and laundry detergent mixture with a hint of Downy for easy digestion. But when you think about it, why does bacon have such a bad rap anyway? Sure, some doctor-person claimed that bacon doesn’t have a lot of good nutritional value and it’s high in saturated fats and sodium, but what do they know? People can be so judgmental. Well, I’m here to let you know that this is a safe space. If you want to read while sipping on a black smoothie, or if you want to wrap yourself in bacon and roll around the floor while reading my blog, I’ll be right there cheering your on from underneath the bed. Live your life, Bacon Eater. Live your life.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

Lies, Deceit, and Treadmills

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Mar• 04•18

Mama, I’m on the treadmill!

I’m not sure what you’ve heard about me on TMZ lately, but I would like to officially declare that I do not think everything is all about me. Contrary to what was reported on Entertainment Tonight, I do not take every situation and make it about myself. It is very unfortunate that my simple question regarding why I was not nominated for Best Actor at the 2018 Oscars was so blown out of proportion. In my opinion, it was a valid question. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that one.

Now that I think about it, I can see why it may sometimes appear that I’m focused solely on myself. After all, the web address for my blog is JustMichael.net. Hmmm. I guess that doesn’t exactly work in my favor. Neither does this unfortunate incident that happened the other day while I was innocently doing my duty as a good soon and supporting my dad at the hospital after his procedure:

Nurse: Do you feel any pain?

Dad: No.

Me: Cough.

Nurse: Are you taking aspirin?

Dad: No.

Me: Cough-Cough.

Nurse: Good. Don’t take aspirin for the next week.

Dad: I won’t.

Me: Cough-Cough-COUGH!!!!

Nurse: Taking aspirin this soon after a procedure can lead to excessive bleeding.

Dad: Good to know.

Me: COUGH-COU-COUGH-CO-COU-COUGH!!!!!

Mom: Nurse, is Tylenol a problem?

Nurse: No, Tylenol is fine.

Me: ***clutching chest while still coughing*** So ya’ll are just going to let me die here in the middle of the operating floor surrounded by EKG machines?!?!?

Now that I read that back, I can see where that may have been a bit problematic. Here my dad had just awaken from a procedure, and I completely hijacked his moment by choking on absolutely nothing. Well, maybe I choked on my pride. Who knows? But it wasn’t intentional. I didn’t choose that particular moment to have a choking episode. That moment chose me.

Apparently, my body felt completely comfortable to almost die while visiting someone else at the hospital. When it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. Because I’m somehow still writing this, I guess it wasn’t exactly my time to go. Perhaps I should be thankful. And in case you are wondering, I’m happy to tell you that I am completely fine. The coughing eventually subsided and we all moved on with our day. Oh, and just to give proof that it is not all about me, my dad is OK too. Clearly, it wasn’t his time to go either.

In other health-related news, as you may know, I’ve decided to put a bit more effort into being health-conscious. For me that means having four chicken wings instead of five, drinking fewer than eight sodas a day, and not getting seconds or thirds after every meal. Do you know how much gravy I’ve let pass me by over the past few weeks? Do you know how many biscuits were spared because I’ve ignored my primal instincts? I really should be given an award . . . perhaps an Oscar.

My drive to be my best physical self means going to the gym more. You should see me. I’ve started going several times a week religiously . . . except, of course, for the weeks I do not go several times religiously. Hey, nobody’s perfect. And when I do go, I sometimes even do more than just use the free WiFi. I know, I’m just as surprised as you are.

Standing on this machine wasn’t hard at all!

I have even learned how to use some of the equipment correctly. At least I think I’m using them correctly. At first, I assumed those stationary bikes were supposed to be used to support yourself while stretching and to hold your water bottle when your hand gets tired! However, I learned the hard way that people don’t like for you to do that, especially when they are on the bike when you decide to lean on it to do your stretches. And they really don’t like it if you innocently remove their water bottle and set it on the floor to place your own in the cup holder. They may be adults, but some people still haven’t mastered the art of sharing.

Because of all this extra effort, I expected to see rapid changes. I mean, if you’re going to go for the large McDonald’s fries instead of the extra large, there better be some form of reward or else! Since the body mass index chart has been listing me as overweight since 1940, I wanted to see a dramatic decrease on the scale. I expected the numbers to have dropped faster than my credit score that one time I was two days late paying my Netflix bill.

One day before getting chicken wings at the local Shoppers supermarket, I decided to get on their higi machine to check my stats. Confident, I ordered the works, which included my weight, blood pressure, and body fat percentage. I’m still not sure how holding my hands still on a machine lets it check my body fat level accurately, but I decided to give it a try anyway. Even if the results were bad, because I’d entered my information, I figured I’d be doing my daily government check in so that the Feds would know where I was and that I hadn’t gone off the grid again.

Here a higi machine, there a higi machine!

Much to my surprise, even though I was still categorized as overweight, the higi machine registered me at 169 pounds. I was so excited that I did cartwheels all the way down aisle eight. I can’t tell you the last time a scale read 169 while I was standing on it. I think maybe Lincoln was in office at the time. Either way, I proudly showed everyone my numbers as I high-fived the cashier and kissed a few babies on my way out. I even pondered writing a book on my weight loss strategies and planned on touring the country to tell everyone just how I did it.

When I got home, I looked in the mirror and wondered just where exactly I had lost all the weight. To me, I looked the same as I had when I was at 185 pounds. Hmmm. It was then that I remembered my mama’s stern advice to question everything. At the time she was referring to my kindergarten teacher telling the class that the letter C came after the letter B, but I wasn’t so sure. As we all learned from the movie The Player’s Club, “Don’t trust anyone’s research but your own.” If that teacher thought I was just going to accept her lesson plan as truth, she had another thing coming.

Because clothes can add a few pounds, I stripped down to a sensible sweater and corduroys and headed for my scale. Hesitantly, I stepped on. As the number displayed, I screamed in horror. 184 pounds! Less than a half hour before I had been writing up a press release about my reaching 169 pounds. Just like that I had gained 15 pounds on the way home! Distraught, I was happy that my drive was as short as it was. I mean, if I gained 15 pounds during that 10-minute car ride, imagine if the commute had been longer. Ugh!

As you can see, this week has been full of disappointments for me. In addition to me not being nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, I apparently won’t be able to fit into the tuxedo I ordered during the 20 minutes I weighed 169 pounds either. However, because I didn’t die due to that freak coughing spell at the hospital, I guess I still have more time to make my goal—and the body mass index chart’s goal—of eventually reaching 169 pounds or less. However, if I never actually make that goal, at least I’ve found a machine that will show otherwise.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram and Twitter handles: @mikeyllo

When Mama Comes To Town

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Feb• 11•18

Just call me Mr. Clean

There are some moments in life when you suddenly realize you’re in absolute crisis mode. It just happens. That moment when you’re bumbling along the road of life in a Pinto and you blow a tire and your car slides into a ditch and then rolls off a cliff and lands on a deer. Maybe it lands on a family of deer. A troop of deer. A rack of deer, if you will.

You live through all that and crawl out of the car just moments before it blows up. As you look back at the remains of your car and the flock of deer, your student loan collector walks up and asks if this month’s payment will be on time. Then, out of nowhere, Uncle Sam pops up and says he will call an ambulance for you, but only if you hand over your debit card to put towards the you-just-had-an-emergency tax and the you-just-landed-on-a-deer tax he created when your car flattened Bambi.

That was the level of crisis I was feeling as I prepared for my parents to visit. I don’t know about you, but parent-proofing my apartment takes at least a day just to assess the damage and a whole week to act on my findings. The process usually ends up with a lot of crying and me tearing my remaining hairs out. Just when you thought male pattern baldness was caused by genetics, I’m here to tell you that it really happens because someone’s mama decides to come to town. You get the mama call, and your hair just starts running for the hills.

Whenever my mom visits, I wonder why I’m not a better person. I mean, I’m almost 87. You’d think I’d have my act together by now. Instead, I frantically run around my apartment pondering how to hide all the incriminating evidence showing that I haven’t cleaned my stove since at least 1942? And where does all the clutter come from? Rolling around on the floor, I question when the last time was that I vacuumed and if I even own one.

I got so anxious that I thought about calling in some professionals. Sometimes you just have to know your limitations, and cleaning the house in a mother-approved way is definitely one of mine. Matter of fact, I thought about having Merry Maids come in to do a full cleaning, and then calling the Maid Brigade to do a second cleaning just in case, and then having someone else’s mama come do a walk-through to provide feedback before my own mama arrived. After all, my mother is the mother of all mothers and you can never really be too clean or too prepared.

I don’t know what it is about my mother, but her ability to detect a speck of dirt on a floor that is otherwise sanitized and sparkling clean is uncanny. She should be studied. It’s like she walks in the door, and before she sets her bags down, all the dust and dirt particles and the expired products call out to her. Somehow she finds every single flaw in 30 seconds or less. The last time she visited, she found a carton of milk that expired in 2003. I swear it wasn’t there before she got here. Maybe she brought it with her and put it in my refrigerator just so she could hold it against me. I wouldn’t put it past her.

Her senses are so good that I’ve thought about secretly signing her up to join search and rescue parties in the area. However, after the team witnesses her skills, I’m scared she’ll put the dogs out of work. It’s already hard enough to get unemployment benefits without my mama sniffing around—literally. I mean, who wants to go down to the Department of Labor and stand in line behind an angry Irish Setter and an irate German Shepherd? Certainly not me.

Anyway, you should have seen me running around the house with a feather duster in one hand and a vacuum in the other. At one point I thought about just throwing everything away and starting over, including the couch, refrigerator, and the bed. I would have left it all on the curb if I could have lifted it by myself. If only I had gone to the gym more last year. Hmmm. Alas, I was stuck dousing everything in bleach and Pine-Sol as if my life depended on it. If my apartment wasn’t going to actually be clean, at least it would smell like it was.

As time passed, I began to clean so frantically that at some point I killed George Foreman. It wasn’t exactly my fault though. I was scrubbing the cabinet area without actually moving the stuff inside the cabinets. Don’t judge me! I’m a cleaning novice! I figured that wiping around the stuff was better than no wiping at all. At some point I dislodged the container of Domino Sugar from the shelf and it landed on my George Foreman grill, smashing it into bits.

Lets have a moment of silence for my George Foreman grill.

Now that I think about it, I would have expected my George Foreman grill to be a bit sturdier. After all, George was a heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. I’m surprised he couldn’t handle a little sugar. Then again, now that I think about it, maybe my Domino Sugar Ray Leonard had this all planned to defeat George Foreman the whole time. Who am I to say? Either way, I’m taking the grill back to Target to complain and demand a refund.

Because I may have told my parents a slight untruth that I never eat out, I quickly threw a lasagna together to give the appearance that I actually use my kitchen as more than just a dance studio. I mean, the floor and the lighting are perfect to practice all the latest dances like the Mashed Potato and the Funky Chicken. Unless my parents are here, there really is no need to do the things that a gourmet chef would do, like boiling water. It’s just too much effort. But for my parents, I figured I would give cooking a shot.

The lasagna turned out great. Well, my 46th attempt turned out great. The first 45 failures weren’t exactly my fault. I had done so much cleaning that I kept falling asleep with the lasagnas in the oven. I can tell you from experience that firefighters are nice people the first time they have to come to your home with the hoses blazing. Around about the third or fourth time they show up in a single day, they aren’t so friendly. I wrote that in my Yelp review of the local fire station.

Mama, I made a lasagna!!!!

In the process of cleaning out my refrigerator, I wondered how I had somehow acquired so many bottles of liquor. However, maybe that explains why I hadn’t see the milk that stayed in there since 2003. In any case, having any form of alcohol in the house was completely unacceptable by my mama’s standards. So, I did what any normal person would do. I chugged it all down a few minutes before my parents arrived so that I could at least pretend to be a responsible adult. Sometimes you just have to take one for the team.

Watch me make this disappear. Umm, just doing what I have to do.

I know what you’re thinking. Guzzling 7 bottles of vodka and 2 bottles of rum in less than 5 minutes isn’t exactly responsible. Some would even say it’s a bit dramatic. However, the last time my mama found something as simple as rubbing alcohol in my bathroom, she immediately checked me into the Betty Ford Center with no questions asked. I was ten. She has absolutely no tolerance for alcohol. To this day I still have to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every Tuesday and Thursday evening.

In addition to my stint at Betty Ford and my ongoing AA meetings, I was sentenced to 183 years of community service. That noted, I spend every weekend on the side of the highway picking up litter, which is absolutely gross. You would be horrified if I told you some of the things I’ve found. Sometimes I even find litter that I tossed out. You should have heard my scream of excitement the moment I found my lost wallet in a discarded McDonald’s bag. I know we shouldn’t litter, but I’d been pulled over by the cops and I panicked. No one really knows what’s in a Big Mac’s special sauce, and I certainly couldn’t take any chances. I’m not going to jail over a value meal…again.

That noted, if you happen to be driving around and you see a group of guys on the side of the road, feel free to beep or wave. If one of those guys looks like me, please do not stop to ask for an autograph. The sergeant really doesn’t like it. For each autograph I sign, I get sentenced to another year of service. Again, please, PLEASE hold it together if you ever see me. Just pretend I’m any ole body picking up bottles on the side of the road, hoping that the yellowish liquid is really just stale water. I doubt it. Maybe I should ask my mama.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram and Twitter handles: @mikeyllo

Shattered Resolutions and Broken Dreams

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Dec• 31•17

I’ve got something in my eye.

This time last year, some madman was running around my apartment doing push-ups and jumping jacks, insistent that he was going to get his life right and tackle the world in 2017. Yes, that madman was me. But now that I’m barely clawing my way across the 2017 finish line with my life support machine dragging behind me, I am realizing that maybe I overdid it with those things I was just so sure I would tackle by the end of the year.

Apparently, I knew better than to document my resolutions for 2017. I looked back at my blog posts from the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 and found that I opted to skip declaring any resolutions publicly. It’s like New Year’s didn’t even happen. I wrote about failing the Military Diet in November 2016 and then skipped all the way to April 2017 where I wrote about Spanx for your neck. I guess if I had succeeded with the Military Diet, I wouldn’t have needed the Spanx.

Well, since there is no written evidence of any alleged resolutions, I guess I technically didn’t fall short of anything. Impressive. That’s certainly worth raising a glass or two in acknowledgement of my accomplishment. And if you happen to live in one of those areas where something a little stronger than alcohol is legal, who am I to judge if you partake on my behalf? Look at me being so open-minded. That should have been one of my resolutions.

I guess my 2016 self would tell my 2017 self that it would be good to skip any talks of setting resolutions for 2018 as well. After all, who wants to have tens of readers trying to hold you accountable for all the things you claimed you’d accomplish but didn’t. By the way, while we are on the subject of accountability, I would like to vote that word off the island or at least leave it behind in 2017. I heard that word entirely too many times this year, mostly from my landlord when my rent was late. In any case, that word is dead to me. Its name must never be spoken. Like Lord Volde—umm, you know.

Much like last year, I am not going to make any big proclamations about what I’m going to do in 2018. I know my limitations, and change is one of them. And I absolutely won’t look back at 2017 to review my successes and failures. There would literally be no point in revisiting all the stumbles or the one success and a half that I may or may not have experienced. So, I won’t do it. Nope. Not me. Not now. Now ever!

But if I did look back on 2017, I would say that I did finally put more effort into my health. For the record, I got on a treadmill at least twice, which made me super excited to share the news with my doctor during my physical exam. Her response that she didn’t see a change was a bit troubling. It’s OK though. I knew she was a hater when I saw her name on the list of doctors in my area. Some things you can just tell.

2017 was surprising!!!

Matter of fact, before sitting down to write this, I went to the gym just so that I could pat myself on the back and end the year on a good note. Instead of me spending the whole time on the elliptical like I typically do, I even went to the area that I consider foreign and forbidden where the strength training equipment resides. I had long ago decided that strength training just wasn’t my ministry. I mean, even though the machines have instructions, I always feel like I’m doing the exercises wrong. In my head, everyone else stops their workouts to laugh at me doing leg lifts on the bicep curl machine. No one should have to endure that sort of judgment.

Although I didn’t document any resolutions for 2017, everywhere I turned seemed to be a constant reminder that I needed to be more productive in order to live my best life. I couldn’t even use the restroom in peace without hearing the voice of Oprah telling me that I needed to find my purpose and reignite that fire. At first, I found Oprah’s visits intrusive, but I guess she’s seen worse in her life than me in the shower. Because of her random pop-ins, I’ve learned to always shower in my boxers.

Throughout the year I began to think about my legacy—not in that morbid way as if I could kick the bucket at any moment, but I guess that, too, is a realistic possibility. There are rogue buses and planes everywhere. One breaking news tweet received at the wrong moment and you can cancel Christmas whether your book or blog post is finished or not. Let’s not even mention all the office workers who lost their lives this past year due to unfortunate incidents involving a stapler. We should probably hold a moment of silence.

Anyway, if a Kardashian announces a pregnancy right while I’m in the middle of the road and a bus driver lets go of the wheel to retweet it, what would I be leaving behind? What would be viewed as my life’s purpose? What would be the mark I would leave on the world? Although, technically, if you’re hit by a bus, I guess that could leave a mark or two. But I digress. That’s not what I want to be known for. Imagine having people drive past, pointing to that spot and saying, “Oh, look! There goes Michael’s spot. His spleen was right there. You see it, honey?” Nope, I would like to leave a very different mark.

Honestly, I didn’t exactly finish the eight novels I had planned to write in 2017, and Julia Roberts has not yet returned any of my phone calls regarding her starring in the screenplay I haven’t written yet. It’s OK. I won’t hold it against her. I’m sure Ms. Roberts gets hundreds of calls a day. At least eighty of them are from me. Perhaps that’s why I received a cease and desist letter a few hours ago. At this point I receive so many of them that I consider them spam and drop them in the trash unread. If it’s really serious, I figure the sheriff will come like he did in 2015…and 2014…and those few other times last month.

I promise it’s just a hat.

Towards the end of 2017, I began to make time for reading. Stephen King told me to. Indirectly. He wrote, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Ironically, I was reading when I read that so I quickly checked reading off my to-do list. That’s half the battle. In addition to Mr. King’s advice, I realized it had been a long time since I read just for the fun of it. I loved reading as a child, so I did what any normal person would do. I ran out and grabbed Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not ashamed. After all, my grandma highly recommended it.

All of that noted, what I absolutely won’t do is make a whole lot of New Year’s resolutions for 2018. I won’t be one of those people who sets all these unrealistic goals like to stop drinking or to go vegan and then fail miserably before midnight on January 1st when you cave in and have a steak with a nice red wine. I won’t even consider resolutions. It would be a complete waste of time. I won’t be doing it.

But if I did make a resolution for 2018, it would be to focus on the things that actually matter. Why should I simply watch the shows on Netflix when I could possibly write the shows on Netflix? Why should I go to a bookstore and peruse other people’s books, when I could write one of my own? Imagine me with a novel sitting right there between the latest works of Nora Roberts and Judy Blume. Maybe my book could be titled “Are You There God? It’s Me, Michael.” Or maybe it could be “The Michael in the Rye.” Hmmm. But what I absolutely won’t do is set a whole bunch of unrealistic goals for 2018. I won’t do it. Not me. Absolutely not.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram and Twitter handles: @mikeyllo

A Very Michael Holiday Movie

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Dec• 10•17

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

I have a slight confession. I have been watching nothing but holiday movies for the past few weeks. I think the Hallmark channel has me under some sort of spell or something. It is either that or Comcast has downgraded my cable package to where I only have one channel, which I would completely understand since I haven’t paid the bill in a few months. Maybe I’ll send them a check on December 25th with my warmest holiday wishes.

My viewing habits have gotten so bad that, if it isn’t holiday movie related, I have no idea what’s going on in the world. Was the tax bill ever resolved? Did Meghan Merkle decide on a wedding dress for her wedding to Prince Harry? If so, was it the dress I recommended? I can honestly say I haven’t checked the weather in about 38 days, which is probably why I keep dressing up in a t-shirt and shorts just to find that it’s snowing outside. I blame Santa.

At this point, I think I may have watched every holiday movie ever created. Because of this, I guess you could consider me a holiday movie connoisseur. Matter of fact, I just updated my LinkedIn profile to reflect as much: Michael Rochelle, Master of Holiday Movies . . . oh yeah and MBA candidate. You never know when someone may need a holiday movie expert to speak on a panel. Oprah, I’m looking at you.

Perhaps I shouldn’t set my sights so low. Because of my extensive knowledge, instead of just sitting on a panel, maybe I could write and star in the holiday movie! I can see it now, me in the lead role of “A Very Michael Christmas.” Then again, maybe I could direct and allow someone almost equally as attractive to play the lead. Maybe Idris Elba, or Zac Efron, or Ryan Gosling. I’m not sure yet. I guess it doesn’t really matter since, clearly, all four of us look alike. I may be just a bit more ruggedly handsome and buff, if I may say so myself.

As an expert at holiday movies, I can tell you that they all seem to have the same premise. In each one, two people who don’t like each other end up slobbering each other down by the end. Actually, it could be a dog and a person that aren’t fans of each other at first, but by the end, you can pretty much bet your next paycheck that one of them is going to be having puppies soon.

Another thing I’ve learned is that, in a lot of the movies, someone ends up being a prince or princess from a faraway country with a weird name. I don’t know how many real princes and princesses there are in the world, but I guess there is room for everyone to be one if their country has only 300 people. Even if the country only has ten people, the person always gets found out. TMZ is just that good. They know everything about everyone. In the last movie I watched, I think the guy was the prince of Nebraska or some other exotic place. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was Nebraska. Maybe it was Idaho.

A Christmas Prince

And if the person isn’t the prince or princess of New Jersey, then you can almost guarantee that someone in that person’s family is secretly Santa Claus. Despite the beard, the name Nick, and the fact that he mysteriously disappears for several hours every Christmas Eve, everyone is shocked that he is Santa. I mean, his name is Nick for crying out loud. Why do you think he has a secret village in the garage? Who else do you know that hangs out with an entourage of elves and reindeer.

Every time I meet someone named Nick, I automatically give them my Christmas wish list. Matter of fact, I have a coworker named Nick. When I first met her, I shook her hand and whispered in her ear, “I know your secret.” Several hours later, I found myself in Human Resources explaining what I’d meant. Apparently, I’d made Nick a bit uncomfortable. The words “harassment” and “blackmail” were being thrown around. The whole situation was truly unfortunate. In the end I apologized, but perhaps where I went wrong was whispering in her ear, “Good try, but I still know,” during that apology. I didn’t think it was a fireable offense, but at least I had the chance to give Nick my wish list before I was escorted off the premises.

Anyway, now that it’s been decided that I will have my own holiday movie, I would make it completely different from all the other movies out there. Mine would start with someone’s purse being snatched. I haven’t decided whether I would play the purse snatcher or whether I’d be the person having his purse snatched. Until I figure it out, let’s take me out of the movie. I don’t want you to be too distracted by what role I’m playing. So, let’s just say there is a guy and a girl as the stars. Neither one of them is Michael.

Merry Kissmas

Because my movie is completely different, after the purse snatching incident takes place, the robber and the victim, who do not like each other at first, end up falling in love. Perhaps the robber gets caught and sentenced to 1,000 years in jail, but the victim thinks the punishment is too harsh so she agrees to marry him instead. After all, depending on your mate, marriage can be the ultimate punishment. The robber asks if he could be sentenced to death instead, but the judge believes marriage to the victim is more than harsh enough. I haven’t exactly worked out all the details just yet.

After they get married, they eventually fall in love. Of course, this process is not easy. She is a Starbucks person, and he likes Dunkin’ Donuts. Every morning they fight over where to stop for coffee. It’s been a real strain on the marriage. They also can’t agree on whose Super Bowl halftime show was better, Beyoncé’s or Lady Gaga’s. He likes Beyoncé. She likes Gaga. This causes them to fight over the radio station all the time. I’m not sure why they only have one car, but maybe that was one of the stipulations of the robber not going to jail.

Later in the movie comes a real shocker: The victim’s father, Nick, has been Santa all along. Although the victim didn’t know her dad’s profession, the purse snatcher catches Santa changing into his red suit in the bathroom on Christmas Eve. The whole time the victim thought her dad was a librarian. To her, the beard, the elves, and the nine reindeer in the back yard weren’t enough to give it away.

Adding to the complexity, the purse snatcher is not really a criminal. No, he’s the prince of Iowa, who secretly wants to be an actor. He snatched the purse because he was preparing for a role he was trying out for as a burglar. As a prince, he didn’t know what it was like to live in the mean streets beyond his castle walls, so he wanted to experience it firsthand to bring some credibility to his acting. He eventually goes on to win an Oscar. See, my movie was completely different!

Don’t worry. I will keep some of the holiday movie must-haves. Of course, there will be the obligatory dance scene. However, since I may be staring in the movie, we may have to change up the dance a bit. My momma never taught me to do the Waltz or the Tango like I had repeatedly asked her to do when I was five. Maybe she was a hater, or maybe those types of dances just weren’t allowed in Baltimore. Hmmm. That’s probably why she kept me in the house so much. She just didn’t want me to experience what would happen if I shimmied down North Avenue or Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard doing my Singin’ in the Rain routine with the umbrella and tap shoes to go with it.

Yes, it’s the Christmas dance

Perhaps instead of the typical ballroom type dance where the loving couple ends it with a passionate kiss, in my movie, we would break out into an impromptu version of the Electric Slide. As opposed to the dance taking place at the company holiday party, we would probably do it in the office to waste time while waiting for something to print off the copier. One person would start it and everyone else would join in. Of course, we will have a Sandy who doesn’t know the dance and messes it up for everyone. It’s required.

I would also include the prerequisite ice skating scene, but with a twist—literally. Maybe during the ice skating scene, instead of the leading guy and girl being able to skate amazingly even though they have never skated before in their lives, one of them falls and breaks a leg. Not one of those clean breaks that will heal in a few weeks. The leg completely breaks off and skids across the ice, knocking over three people.

Because I want to keep the movie rating at a G, there will be no blood. Come on, I have a little bit of class, and I know kids may be watching. Things must be tasteful. Even though there is no blood, someone’s grandma still manages to trip over the leg. She, herself, doesn’t break a leg, but it is then that grandma got ran over by a reindeer. That poor grandma never stood a chance.

Of course, the movie would be a classic. I mean, it has everything. There’s comedy, romance, mystery, and horror depending on how frightened you are by a stolen purse or a broken leg skidding across an ice rink. The leg doesn’t exactly scare me, but if my purse were stolen with my iPhone X inside, that would be a travesty. Let’s be clear, I don’t have an iPhone X or a wedding ring, but because I’m kind of sort of an actor, I can just imagine me dropping down to my knees with my fists to the heavens demanding revenge and a plague on everyone’s houses.

Oh wait, I have to go. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is calling. Apparently, no one told him that he didn’t get the lead role in my holiday movie because I got the part. I should probably break the news to him delicately. I mean, have you seen his arms? It’s ok, though. I hear he’s a professional. He’ll understand. Maybe once he gets a bit more acting experience, I’ll write him a role as my best friend in my next movie. We’ll see.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram and Twitter handles: @mikeyllo

He Dances with the Fishes

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Nov• 25•17

Oooh, baby, baby

OK, the news and TMZ reports are true. I have recently been dealing with some family issues. Perhaps I use the term “family” a tad bit too loosely. By family I mean my fish. Maybe fishly is the more appropriate term. I realize that is not exactly a word. However, if we agree to start using it moving forward, by year’s end it could easily be included in the dictionary, and it would have all started right here. How cool would that be?

I’m not sure what happens when you create a word, but I assume you get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and you get to meet the queen. By queen I mean Cersei or Latifah. Whichever one is available when I get the call from Merriam-Webster. It doesn’t really matter to me. What does matter is that I already have my bags packed.

Anyway, one day I was minding my own business when I noticed something strange going on in my fish tank. For some reason, all ten of my fish were hiding. Even Gertrude, the one who proclaims herself the Beyoncé of the group and keeps me and the other fish in line. I put my ear up to the tank and was surprised that I couldn’t even hear “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” through the glass, which was usually on repeat. Something was clearly wrong.

I immediately turned on the news to see if there were any reports of rogue fish causing mischief around the city. It wouldn’t surprise me if my fish had decided to go on strike. After all, I was feeding them bland looking fish flakes while I ate steak and potatoes. It wasn’t fair and equitable treatment by any means. Fortunately, none of my fish showed up on the FBI most-wanted list—at least not in the top ten.

Although my fish apparently weren’t fugitives, I still had reason to be concerned. Them hiding wasn’t normal. I mean, if Gertrude wouldn’t come out, who was going to lead our dance troupe trough our routines? Not everyone can get on the megaphone and yell, “Fin, fin, tail, tail, and swirl, and swirl.” I have never been good at keeping count. Especially when I’m trying to remember whether it’s right fin or left fin.

I said a hip hop, The hippie, the hippie, To the hip, hip hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it

If I can be honest, leading up to the fish disappearance, Gertrude had had me a little stressed. I don’t know about you, but it’s no fun having a fish threaten you that if you don’t hit all your steps, you could easily be replaced by Chris Brown. Apparently, he’s been dying to work with her for years. Making matters even worse, he lets his fish eat at Ruby Tuesday’s. And if they dance really good, he takes them to Red Lobster.

According to Gertrude, she taught Chris everything he knows. She has even alleged that she was the fish that taught Michael Jackson the moonwalk, which I’m sure was a bit easier for her. After all, how hard is it to float backwards in water? But I digress.

To get a better view of the situation, I stuck my head in the tank. I know what you’re thinking. Wasn’t there an easier way to find fish in a fish tank? Well, yes. Possibly. But where is the fun in that? Besides, all my leadership training tells me that sometimes you just have to bring yourself down to a fish’s level to make progress happen. I mean, fish are people too. We all put on our dad jeans one fin at a time.

Anyway, with my head still in the tank, I saw something that frightened me. It was terrible to say the least. There was a sick fish here, and a sick fish there, here a fish, there a fish, everywhere a sick fish. So I did what any normal person would do. I immediately called 911 and then began performing mouth-to-gill resuscitation as I had learned from that one episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Those skills really do inevitably come in handy.

When the police and the paramedics arrived, they were quite upset for some reason. Apparently, I wasn’t exactly clear with the 911 operator when I called. I had yelled, “Help! Send someone right away! I don’t know how much longer they are going to make it,” which I thought was the right thing to do at the time. To my surprise, the police didn’t exactly consider a group of sick fish an emergency. I admit that I may have misjudged the situation, but I’m not sure I deserved to spend a week in jail for it.

Fortunately, my mother was very understanding when she bailed me out. I thought she’d be disappointed, a word she’d used so often in my childhood that I thought it was my middle name. According to her, “disappointment” was my very first word as a baby. Anyway, she had recently endured a similarly unfortunate incident herself when she called the fire department one evening because her rabbit had gone missing. She thought that maybe he had escaped, but as it turns out, he had been safely beneath her bed snuggling with her bunny slippers the whole time.

By the time I got home from jail, I had four floaters in the tank. And by floaters I mean several of my fish had decided that they’d had enough and kicked the bucket. Just like that, Gertrude and I had lost the majority of our background dancers. It was beginning to look as though we were not going to be able to pull off our Christmas Eve annual performance of The Nutcracker this year.

Real men do the ballerina

At this point, I couldn’t hold back the tears. Partly because I couldn’t afford that many fish funerals at once, and partly because I had been practicing day and night for the past three months for my big dance solo. Although I am a perfectionist, I have to admit that part of the reason for all the practice was because I felt pressured to perform well. Every time I walked past the fish tank, Gertrude would nonchalantly flash me her cellphone showing Chris Brown’s phone number on speed dial. She’s tough.

The following morning I woke up to three more floaters. As I scooped them from the tank, I wondered what I could have done to avoid this. I mean, we are all depressed that Game of Thrones and Veep both only have one more season left, but certainly there had to be more to live for. Right? Maybe I hadn’t administered enough CPR. Maybe I shouldn’t have poured as much Nyquil in the tank or forced the fish to take adult Tylenol three times a day. Clearly, I had failed my fish. This would have never happened to Chris Brown…or Meredith Grey.

The next day all but one fish had keeled over. In the center of the tank was my last remaining fish giving me a sinister look. It was Gertrude. She explained how the rest of the fish simply couldn’t cut it so she did what she had to do. She had recently watched The Godfather and decided her tank mates would be better off if they “sleep with the fishes.” If they couldn’t fin-fin-tail-tail properly, what good were they as backup dancers?

New dance called “The Scowl and Point”

That noted, if you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because Gertrude has me and her replacement backup dancers on house arrest until we nail all of our steps. She has been more than clear that “The Nutcracker” will not fail under her watch. Not today. Not ever! If we ever forget our role as supporting dancers, she is quick to remind us that Chris Brown is ready and willing to fill in at a moment’s notice. But for now, me and the backup fish will just keep dancing, and sleeping with one eye open.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram and Twitter handles: @mikeyllo

All smiles here!

Are Those Dad Jeans You’re Wearing?

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Nov• 06•17

The other day a coworker of mine pointed to my dungarees and yelled, “You’re wearing dad jeans!” Ashamed, I quickly scampered across the room and hid behind the photocopier. If people thought they were going to insult me, they would have to find me first. Also, they couldn’t judge what they couldn’t see. That noted, I remained crouched there for the rest of the day, handing over random copies and coughing. It was pretty dusty back there.

The dad jean allegation was a claim I’d heard before from a “friend,” mind you. At the time I just laughed it off. I mean, what do my friends know anyway? Just because some of them have three MBAs and five CPAs, doesn’t mean they are qualified to critique my dungarees. After all, I have a humor blog. All I’d have to do is say the word and my three readers would be happy to help make dad jeans great again.

I must admit that I don’t keep up with fashion or whatever the “kids” are wearing these days. Matter of fact, I had to learn the hard way a few years ago that cool guys no longer wore pleated slacks. In one fell swoop, I lost virtually all the pants in my closet. For the next few weeks, I roamed the streets bottomless until I could afford more stylish pants. Surprisingly, my friends were more accepting of me in just my boxers than they were with me leaving the house in pleats.

As one does when they are hit with a dad jeans allegation, I immediately jumped on the Googler. I mean, were the jeans that I had just bought a few weeks before from Kohl’s already out of style? Had one of my favorite stores led me astray? More importantly, even though I had worn the jeans for at least 15 days, would Kohl’s allow me to return them now that I had learned the error of my ways?

I had barely hit the search button for dad jeans when I was bombarded with pictures of my beloved dungarees. Apparently, stonewashed, light blue, high-waisted, relaxed jeans had been voted off the island in World War I. In some states, wearing jeans that sat comfortably at your navel and billowed at the thighs was a serious offense. Unless you were sitting in a retirement home and immobile, you could be locked up on the spot.

As I read the terms “fitted,” “slim,” and “skinny,” I was reminded of years ago when I attempted to try on a pair of skinny jeans and almost died due to limited blood circulation. Some of you may remember this. I was the number one trending topic on Twitter for fifteen weeks. To this day reporters are still calling to do follow up stories to find out whatever happened to that poor, unfortunate guy that had to be cut out his skinny jeans with the Jaws of Life.

I think I need a paramedic!!!

Right before I got to the point where I was starting to feel depressed, I learned that my attraction to dad jeans may not be totally my fault. One article assured me that my passion for comfort over style was actually a disease. Allegedly, I had what they called Dad Jean Syndrome. As such, I immediately called out from work. There was no need for me to spread the disease around. If I am one thing it’s considerate.

As I lay there on the couch with a wet compress on my head and a thermometer in my…umm…you know, I searched for a cure. Although I didn’t find a magic red or blue pill that would fix me right up, I did learn that me and my dad jeans were in good company. Right there on the screen were hundreds of photos of my friend, Barrack, who thought dad jeans were all the rage. If they were good enough for the former president, they were certainly good enough for me. Right?

I continued to look through the photos and saw other alleged offenders such as Jerry Seinfeld and George Clooney. And right there before a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio but after a photo of Jay Z was a picture of me in all my dad jean glory, waving to the camera. There I was amongst the greats, thinking I was cooler than a cobb salad, but the paparazzi certainly didn’t agree. Apparently, my lettuce was a little wilted. And maybe a bit brown.

Although I thought I looked nice enough to go to Cinderella’s ball at 11:59, the article said I should have been arrested for walking the streets wearing shapeless, unflattering rectangles around my legs. They noted that I had been spotted doing three squats in the gym, so I had certainly earned the right to show off my progress in a pair of well-fitted jeans. Clearly, they didn’t know that the only time my legs were actually firm was when I was wearing compression stockings.

I pondered my fate. Would I cave to the pressure and start looking for darker, slimmer jeans that would sometimes cut off my ability to breathe? Would I be ok with foregoing comfort for fitted pants that would hold me hostage in an emergency and prohibit me from making a quick getaway? If I were stuck in skinny jeans, who would step up and get the cat off the neighbor’s roof? More importantly, who would help the poor grandmas get across the street if my thighs were constricted? I had a lot to think about.

On the other hand, I saw articles that assured me that, at the ripe old age of 38, I was past my prime and too old to try to be “cool” by wearing skinny jeans. According to one writer, I was supposed to accept the fact that I was no longer hip and that I drive a minivan to get my bushel of kids back and forth to soccer and dance practice. I didn’t even know I had a minivan or kids. I wonder how much mileage is on this alleged minivan. Better yet, who’s been paying the child support for these alleged kids?

Apparently, I was too old for skinny jeans, but too young for dad jeans. If that was the case, what was I supposed to wear? A nice dress with a sensible heel? Those Easy Spirits do look mighty comfortable. Adding dresses and skirts to my wardrobe would certainly give me a bit more versatility and would show my support for women’s equality. After all, it’s 2017. Why should women be the only ones making life decision about whether to shave their legs or not every morning?

In any case, I’ve decided to do what Barrack and other dads have long done before me. I’m going to have to buckle down—or buckle up my jeans at the navel—and embrace my Dad Jean Syndrome for now. I mean, who knows what tomorrow brings? Maybe dad jeans will come back in style and all the people who jumped on the skinny jean bandwagon will be pissed when I’m the only one in fashion, strutting my unflattering shaped pants down the block. Well, one can certainly dream, can’t he?

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram and Twitter handles: @mikeyllo