Hypothetically Speaking . . .

. . . . . . . . Because Humor Matters

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.


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

Birthdays, BMI and Blood Pressure

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Oct• 23•17

The one time my pressure was ok.

A wise man once said that age, weight, and blood pressure are just like rent and taxes: at a certain point, they just go up. Maybe it was me who said that. Maybe I’m the wise man. Hmmm. Anyway, I was minding my own business the other day when my birthday came to “kick in the door, wavin the four-four.” Well, not exactly a four-four, but certainly close enough.

I won’t complain too much about turning a year older. As they say, having a birthday is way better than the alternative. But my question is, how would anyone know? Has anyone died and been like, “Nope, this ain’t for me. Who do I talk to about being alive again?” Maybe on the other side every day is your birthday. Maybe there you don’t have to pay student loans or credit card bills. Maybe there gyms are illegal—hopefully. But I digress.

Before making any grand birthday plans, I checked my bank account to see what type of funding I was working with. Apparently, as long as the cost was less than a quarter, I was free to do whatever I wanted. I checked with American Airlines and they informed me that there was absolutely nowhere I could fly on that budget. Even after I demanded to speak to a supervisor and claimed discrimination, they wouldn’t budge. However, I did make their no-fly list.

So, instead of traveling, I decided to keep it low-key and knock some things off my bucket list. Well, not exactly my bucket list, but I could at least visit a few of the places I had bookmarked on Yelp over the years. Some of these places may be familiar to you, but based on the reviews, I’m excited to check out this one restaurant called KFC and another one called Taco Bell. Maybe they will even sing “Happy Birthday” when I tell them it’s my big day. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

In preparation for my birthday, I called my team of doctors to schedule my annual health tune up and oil check. I had barely stepped into the exam room before I was offended. The medical assistant tried to rush me onto the scale as if it were her favorite thing in the world to let people know just how fat they were. I calmly informed her that if I was going to get on the scale, there was only one way that was going to happen. I would have to be nude. There was no way those numbers would include my belt and my undershirt. Not this time.

When I finally stepped onto the scale, the lady slid the number up to 250 pounds and slowly inched her way down. When she got down to 200, I overheard her say “Really?” under her breath as if she was surprised I was still in the hundred range. It was then that I realized my fist was balled up. Before I did something I would later regret, I remembered the words of my dear, sweet mother. She said, “It’s 2017. If you haven’t verified for yourself, don’t just assume it’s a woman. You know what they say happens when you assume.”

Fortunately, the doctor came in right about that time, so there was no need for me to lay hands on the woman—or man—or whatever that was. I won’t assume. Although I had lost weight, the doctor informed me that I still failed the BMI chart. At 184 pounds I fell into the overweight category. For my height, a normal weight range would be from 125 to 169, meaning I would have to lose 15 pounds just to be one pound away from being overweight. Maybe this is what my mother meant when she said I would never be normal.

First of all, I haven’t been 125 pounds since World War II. Second, if I was anywhere below 169, I wonder if I would look healthy. The only good thing about me possibly being that small would be that I wouldn’t have to purchase a skeleton costume for Halloween each year. Instead, I could go as is and tell everyone, “I woke up like this.”

If I’m being honest, there may be a few places where I could stand to lose a few pounds. I mean, if I could lose five pounds from my nose, and ten pounds from each of my ankles, maybe then my team of doctors would be proud of me. Maybe then Golden Corral and other buffet establishments would allow me back on the premises. Apparently, my situation is so dire that even Nutrisystem found me on Twitter and offered to help. I could be their next spokesperson. Who knows?

40% Off The Cost, Or Off My Weight…Hmm.

Not long after being diagnosed as overweight, the medical assistant snatched my arm up in the air, slapped a cuff on it, and began taking my blood pressure. I tried to breathe deeply and meditate, which are techniques I learned from a guy I met on the street who said he could tell me my future for $1.99. I’m pretty sure he was homeless, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t learn something from him. I don’t discriminate. However, I did wonder who the invisible person was that he kept talking to and why he kept calling me Lynda. Maybe that’s what my name means in his native language.

Anyway, I knew that if I wanted to have a good reading, I would have to relax. I thought about puppies. I thought about kittens. I thought about the “Red Wedding” scene on Game of Thrones. As I expected from how tightly I was gripping the exam table, the results weren’t good. “146 over 90,” she said proudly. “Of course, it’s high,” I yelled. “You just called me fat and told me I may not live past lunch!!!” I would have slapped her, but I remembered that I hadn’t physically verified whether it was a female yet.

Even though I opted not to hit him or her, apparently you aren’t supposed to yell at medical assistants. Oh, also, you certainly aren’t supposed to snatch up a syringe off the counter and use it to threaten your doctor to take your blood pressure again or else. I had to learn this the hard way. Fortunately, before the cops arrived, the doctor complied with my request. This time my reading was 155 over 95. To this day I have no idea why it changed so quickly. Maybe I was stressed. Police officers do tend to have that effect on people.

High Blood Pressure!!!

If being arrested wasn’t bad enough, I had other lessons I needed to learn that day. After accepting that I had failed both my BMI and blood pressure tests, I decided to share my numbers with a few friends and coworkers—BIG MISTAKE! I wanted them to feel sorry for me, but instead they started trying to hold me accountable and counting my calories. Before I knew it, cheesesteaks, bacon, cakes, and biscuits were all being snatched right out of my mouth. Worst of all, one of my coworkers said I could have no more fries. NO MORE FRIES!!! I screamed. I yelled. I grabbed a syringe off the counter.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. Why are there so many syringes just lying around everywhere. I wonder the same thing. My shrink says I could have handled the situations differently. I don’t like when people I pay disagree with me. Fortunately for her, all of her counters were bare. She even went so far as to snatch up the pen off the table just in case I got any clever ideas. Good thinking. Pens and syringes are basically cousins.

I share all of this with you, my dear blog readers, to let you know what I’m going through. Because of my big mouth, if I eat anything other than carrots and lettuce, I have to do it in the comfort of my closet or the third bathroom stall at work after hours when the lights are out. It’s pretty sad. That noted, if you see someone snacking on a bacon cheeseburger under a bridge, or if you hear someone moving around in your basement or attic, don’t worry, it’s probably just me trying to eat pepperoni in peace. Accountability sucks!

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

Fifty Shades Of Michael

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Oct• 14•17

If you’re anything like me, you’re in total disbelief that it is fall already. Where did the summer go? Where did the warm weather go? More importantly, where did the rest of my wine go? But I digress. Time seems to be flying faster than it used to. We wake up, go to work, come home, watch Will and Grace, go to bed, and then do it all again. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. And if you’re lucky, you may get to squeeze in a decent slice of pizza every now and then.

Sad but true, as the temperature drops, we are nearing the end of that time of year where people shed their clothing and show more skin. Those that did their push-ups during the winter months last year are still strutting their stuff peacock style at the beach, in the locker room, and around the office. “Yes sir, we see your fourteen muscles.” These people really need to be voted off the island at the next tribal council. Don’t tell them I said it.

For those of us who are allergic to push-ups, we’re excited that winter is coming. Matter of fact we’ve already started taking every opportunity to put more clothes on. Yes, that’s me at the pool and in the sauna with my sweater and winter coat on. Hey, I’m just trying to protect you from being exposed to what’s going on underneath these clothes. Trust me. Once you’ve seen it, it can’t be unseen. It’s like the eclipse. If you don’t have on the right type of glasses, you can totally lose your sight.

Although my journal shows that I did one pull-up on February 12th, and a half of one on April 8th, I somehow went into the summer of 2017 with a few more pounds and bulges than I had intended. I noticed this when I innocently tried on my Speedo in the comfort of my own home not long ago. I tucked. I dipped. I jumped up and down. I even lathered myself up with Crisco and gave myself a running start, but nothing I did helped me slip into my swimwear. Perhaps I must accept the fact that I will never be an extra small. Maybe I should stop trying to shop at OshKosh B’gosh.

Once I figured out that I had too many folds and bulges for a Speedo, I decided to try a different approach. However, my first attempt to hit the pool while wearing only a pair of board shorts was met with a few groans. Several people quickly evacuated the area. I had barely sat down on a towel before the lifeguard wagged his finger at me and yelled, “Nope! Shirt on!!!” There really was no room for confusion or discussion.

After putting my shirt back on, I thought the incident was over. However, a few days later I was served a summons to appear in court for indecent exposure. My rental office then sent me a rent increase notice because several of my neighbors no longer felt comfortable or safe living in the apartment complex knowing that I was lurking around and at any moment could show up shirtless and disrupt their barbecue or Bar Mitzvah. I understood the concern. I mean, there are kids around and they certainly did nothing to deserve being forced to see me in all my glory. After all, this isn’t the Playboy mansion.

Instead of taking the risk of being evicted and escorted off the premises kicking and screaming—again, I decided to break out of my comfort zone. If there was one place where I knew I would be amongst people who looked like me, ate like me, and refused to exercise like me, it would be the beach. There, if I decided to slip out of my Snuggie or take off my sweatpants, no one would care or judge me. With that in mind, sunblock in hand, I gassed up the car and hit the road.

Once I got to the beach, I was delighted to find people who had average bodies just like me. It felt like family. It felt like home. It felt as though we were all members of the Cheesesteak and Chicken Wing Tribe. Before I could overthink it, I slung off my coat and Snuggie. There I was, a man with a dad bod and no children. My belly glistened in the breeze.

As I laid there on the beach, looking out at the sparkling water and handing out high-fives to fellow tribe members, I made the mistake of thinking it was a good time to capture a few harmless selfies. Wait. Before you start judging, I did not use a selfie stick. I had it with me, but I was smart enough to leave that in my bag. Instead, I posed for a very reasonable hundred or so candid shots of myself. Don’t worry. Only a handful of people on the beach saw me doing my best Kardashian poses. Oh, and I did remember to suck in my three stomachs.

Unfortunately for me, and much to my surprise, I am not a Kardashian—although I hear Rob’s spot may be open soon. Anyway, when I innocently posted a few pictures of me online, you would have thought I had committed a felony. The villagers came with fire and pitchforks to let me know that my legs were entirely too pale to be put on display without the use of a filter and a public advisory notice. Some even attempted to take my Black card, and I don’t mean American Express.

Ok, I’ll admit that I am aware of how extreme it may look to have tan arms and super pale legs. It’s kind of like I’m Black on top and White Walker down bottom. Every summer people gather around and take bets to see whether the north or the south are going to win the battle. For the record, neither ever wins, but my goal to be tanned on the top and the bottom has led me to do some things that are considered illegal in 42 countries.

First I’ve tried self-tanning lotions, but I often miss spots or don’t apply enough, so I end up looking like a tie-dyed t-shirt. Making matters even worse, the color can bleed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost several layers of coloring due to a firm handshake, a light drizzle, or a little sweat. I was playing hide and seek the last time this happened. They found me simply by following the brown trail. No fun at all.

I also must admit that I’ve tried full-body spray tanning at a salon. This works better than me doing it myself, but I often go a bit overboard and get a few “extras” if they offer airbrushing too. I often end up ordering “the works,” and before you know it, they are painting on abs, biceps, chest and calves. I even request some strategically placed dimples. I walk in with the body of a toddler and leave looking like The Rock. You should hear all the grannies whistle as I walk to my car—even my own granny.

Fortunately, now that it’s getting colder, the pressure to be tanned and beach-ready is fading in the wind. I have already packed up the board shorts, Speedos and the Crisco until further notice. As unlikely as it is, I may begin taking steps today to make sure I am ready for the summer of 2018. For now though, I’m just going to strut down the street and around the office wearing my Snuggie with pride. We, the Cheesesteak and Chicken Wing Tribe, couldn’t be any happier.

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

Just Call Me Michael, The Maintenance Man

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jun• 26•17

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. What is Michael getting himself into now? Is he getting his own show on Bravo? Did he finally get that job changing oil at Jiffy Lube? Or, has he finally taking a dive into the fascinating world of male stripping? I can just hear it now. “Coming to the stage in his toolbelt and cowboy boots is Michael, The Maintenance Man. Have your dollars and coins ready.” Well, one can certainly dream.

I don’t consider myself to be a handy person. I mean, I have been known to swing a hammer at a thumb tack occasionally, but trust me, no one is calling to put me on the cover of “Popular Mechanics” anytime soon. And if they did, what would I wear? A few well-placed oil stains and a couple wrenches? Hmm, now that I think about it, maybe I could pull that off. No sweat. Actually, sweat would be a good thing in that equation. Yeah, I’d look really handy…and oily.

For some odd reason, life has been handing me odd situations where it would have been really helpful to have been born with a screwdriver in one hand and a saw in the other. The first incident occurred when my car lost a headlight. Well, technically, the headlight wasn’t lost. Instead, it decided that, after ten years of service, it’d had enough. It clocked out and went to that little place in the sky where all headlights eventually go.

Stranded, I did what any normal person would do when faced with that situation. I called my grandma. I mean, if anyone could teach me how to change a headlight, it would be her. After all, I’ve seen this woman make dinner for 15 people out of a teaspoon of salt and a ketchup packet. Unfortunately, she wasn’t available. She said something about being right in the middle of teaching a CrossFit class and she didn’t appreciate the interruption even if it was an emergency.

Next, I looked up the instructions on YouTube. There were a ton of them. I decide to go with the one that had the easiest instructions:

1. Get a new bulb.
2. Pop the hood.
3. Remove the bulb.
4. Disconnect the battery.
5. Dismantle the alternator.
6. Drain the windshield wiper fluid.
7. Rebuild the engine.
8. Insert new bulb.

Easy. Piece of cake. Even a toddler could do it. So, the next morning, with a fresh, new bulb, I skipped down the sidewalk toward my car. That was when the trouble started. There I was, fully prepared to get to work, but it was the popping of the hood that stumped me. I mean, where was the instruction manual for that sort of thing? Are there buttons? Is there a remote? Can I phone a friend? After breaking a sweat tugging on the hood and giving the car a few swift karate kicks, I took it to the mechanic. They had the lightbulb fixed within a few minutes. Problem solved.

A few weeks later, my apartment was renovated. I came home to find my kitchen counter lowered and my fireplace raised, which meant I had to move pictures around and raise the flat screen TV. The problem was that the TV was mounted to the wall. Much like the hood of my car, no matter how much tugging, swinging, and pulling on it, it wouldn’t budge. This job would require some elbow grease…and maybe my grandma.

Fortunately, I had paid attention when the TV was originally mounted to the wall. Of course, that means I should have known that I couldn’t just move it with a little push or tug. If it took a drill to get it up there, it was certainly going to take more than a running start and prayer to get it down. Regardless, I firmly believed that I could take the TV down and put it back up myself. Yes, it seemed like it would be a huge challenge, but my momma always told me that I could do anything I put my mind to—except change a headlight.

It wasn’t long before I realized I would need a drill of my own for this endeavor. Immediately, I thought of me drilling a hole into the wall and hitting a powerline or a water main. Knowing my luck, I would probably strike oil. I had visions of me drilling into the wrong piece of wood and having the whole apartment complex collapse right there with me still holding the drill. Can you imagine the headlines? I would be found guilty and sentenced to single handedly having to rebuild the whole complex. That would be a nightmare.

Despite my fears, I decided to plunge ahead and get started. If we could put a man on the moon, I could certainly put a TV on the wall. I went to Walmart and found a whole aisle of drills, drivers, sanders and other equipment that I only knew the names of because I’d recently watched The Bone Collector. One wrong move, and a person could easily lose a finger or a head. Losing either would certainly hinder my progress. Eight hours later, after reading reviews and doing comparison, I made my decision. I couldn’t wait to call my dad and tell him I was a drill owner! He cried.

Now would be a good time to admit that I may have overdone it with the drill and accessories. I had no idea what I needed, so I bought everything—including two drills in case one didn’t have enough power. Although the toolkit I purchased had over 70 pieces included, I still purchased more accessories just in case. You just never know when you’re going to lose or break something. I then bought a few socket wrenches and attachments for good measure like any good maintenance man would do. I was serious about my craft.

Then came the actual work. Do you know the saying, “measure twice, cut once”? Well, had I used that advice, maybe I would have gotten it right the first time. However, because I didn’t, I found myself mounting and unmounting, mounting and unmounting, and then mounting and unmounting until I got the TV in the perfect position. Fifty drill holes later, it was perfect!

The major thing I learned was that it is best to unplug your electronics before attempting to move them around. Not only did the cord hinder my movement in several instances, I also woke up in weird positions on the floor several times with my last memory of seeing a flashing light shooting from the socket. For some reason, my eyebrows appear to have been singed off, and I kept hearing a sizzling sound while smelling something reminiscent of bacon.

In any case, I write all of this to say, you, too, can have your very own electronics installed by none other than myself. Prices are completely negotiable, but just know that TV mounting takes no less than 3 weeks and I am paid by the hour. I will accept cash, credit cards, and your first born if they are willing to iron and make my breakfast in the morning. No returns or refunds. For this and more, just call Michael, The Maintenance Man.

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

When You’ve Lost Your Carpet AND Your Drapes . . . or Spanx For Your Neck

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Apr• 30•17

Straining To Make The One Muscle Pop

If you ever want to know whether you’ve gotten old or not, the first test should be to turn on the radio. If you are surprised when you don’t immediately hear Barry Manilow, then you probably aren’t in the target age group for Forever 21. You’d probably fit in better at Maybe 45…or Kinda 62.

Instead of good ole Barry, you’ll probably hear the sounds of that stuff the kids call “pop” music. Oh, and when you find yourself starting to say things like, “Well, the kids say…,” or “Back when I was young…,” or “This reminds me of when Nixon was in office,” then it is probably safe to say that Moses signed your birth certificate. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He has great Yelp reviews.

Soon after you begin asking Siri what a “Bad and Boujee” or a Bruno Mars is, you may also notice that the plucking of gray hairs is kind of becoming a part-time job—one with no benefits. Let’s not even mention the extra hairs that begin sprouting from your nose, ears, and eyeballs—everywhere except where you need it. Thank God for toupees. I call mine Carl. The next time you see me and Carl on the street, feel free to say hello.

All of that aside, the major tell-tale sign of old age is your clothing. As I sit here on my balcony in a Snuggie, I’m reminded of a time when a much younger me wouldn’t have left my room if my hair wasn’t brushed or if my shoes didn’t match my belt. That statement is not to be confused with whether the carpets match the drapes. Well, because we’re friends, I feel comfortable admitting that I lost my carpet and my drapes years ago.

That’s why they call it Snuggie love

When it comes to clothing, I’ve pretty much given up on being fashion forward. No matter how much I watch “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” I just don’t think I can pull off a yellow romper, even if Caitlyn Jenner recommends it as being comfortable menswear. For me, any sense of style has definitely left the building. Maybe it left with the drapes. Hell, it might have gone with the carpet. How is one to know? But I digress.

Recently, I caught my reflection in a store-front window. To my shock and horror, my pants were pulled up a lot higher than I used to be comfortable with. As opposed to my belt being at waist level, my reflection showed that it sat slightly below my floppy B cups, which had previously been A cups until I had a big breakfast that morning.

Panic-stricken, I began pushing my pants down as if there were no tomorrow. Defiantly, they would not budge. I wiggled. I jiggled. Some middle school children giggled. I loosened my belt. I undid the button and lowered my zipper, but the pants clung to my chest as if their success in life depended on it. It was as if they were Jennifer Hudson in “Dreamgirls” as they began to sing, “And I am telling you, I’m not going.”

I looked around and tried to identify someone that I could use to determine how high the waist of my pants were supposed to be. First, my eyes landed on a group of teens whose pants were sagging in a manner that exposed a bit more than I believe would be allowed in my business-casual office, and were certainly lower than the legal limits in at least five southern states. Besides that, I am certainly not cool enough to pull off the sag. After all, I was wearing khakis, a fitted shirt and oxfords.

Next, I spotted a few guys whose pants were sitting as high as mine were. I began to smile because I believed I had found where I belonged, but then I noticed that these guys all had walkers. Gray hair—or no hair—rested where once black, blond, or brown drapes had grown. Depressed, I left my pants right where they were under my man-boobs and joined my new friends. We spent the rest of the day playing bridge while discussing the merits of suspenders and orthopedic shoes. I felt right at home.

On another clothing-related note, it does not appear that I’m going to get through the summer of 2017 by wearing a waist trainer under a pair of full-body Spanx at the beach as I had planned. I emailed a current photo of me to the CEO at Spanx so that she could see what I was working with. She responded with a lovely memo stating that the organization simply did not have access to enough fabric for such a project, but she did wish me luck on my future endeavors.

After crying myself to sleep that night, I wondered if I could put a few liposuction sessions on my credit card. When each of them was declined, I called my insurance company and complained that the procedure should be covered because it just wasn’t natural to allow a person to walk the streets with three chins and five necks. I sent them pictures of me as well, and they responded with a cease and desist letter. Apparently, forcing their staff to view photos of me in various states of undress was cruel and unusual punishment. However, they did recommend that the pictures be used as an alternate form of torture since waterboarding is so controversial nowadays.

All of this body-shaming caused me to revisit my New Year’s resolution to hit the gym. I mean, since I’ve been faithfully paying membership fees for the past 10 years, I figured the least I could do was stop by and look at a treadmill. Sure, the last time I went to the gym, I sprained my rotator cuff by moving a 3-pound dumbbell out of the way to make room for my Starbucks cup. Oh, and there was that terrible case of athlete’s foot that I caught in my left eye. Besides that, I didn’t think a gym visit would be so bad.

You will be pleased to know that I’ve gone to the gym more in the past few weeks than I did in the past 20 years. Surprisingly, I still weigh exactly the same as I did before. In addition to me not losing a single pound, my blood pressure and cholesterol are hanging in their high and strong. Much like me, apparently my numbers are resistant to change. I’ve gotten used to that look of shock and amazement my doctors display when they check my numbers and wonder how I’m still alive.

Seeeeeee…I did go to the gym that one time!!!!

Whether I go to the gym or not, or whether I lose weight or not, in my opinion, I have still been doing my duty as an American citizen in supporting U.S. businesses by faithfully paying my membership dues to Bally’s each month. Oh wait…my mom is telling me it is now called LA Fitness. Huh. When did that happen? 2011?!?!?! And no one corrected me all this time when I’ve been lying about going to Bally’s every morning! Geez, who can you trust?!?!?!

Regardless of the name, I am proud to say that I helped LA Fitness keep the lights on. And, yes, you can thank me for the new elliptical machine at your local gym because it was probably my hard-earned money that paid for it. You’re welcome. I wonder if my name is inscribed on the treadmill somewhere. I wonder if it was expensive. I wonder if it came with carpet and drapes.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full humor blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1