Hypothetically Speaking . . .

. . . . . . . . Because Humor Matters

Apparently, I Get Around

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jun• 19•12

You’ll never guess what I did the other day. No, I didn’t win the National Senior Citizen Wet T-shirt contest again, but I did come in second place. Personally, I think I was robbed. I was the only one who didn’t require being hosed down with a mixture of water and Ben Gay to get things started. It was so hot outside that I had already sweated through my t-shirt before I even hit the stage. To me, that should have counted for something, but the judges were haters, which was truly surprising since the event was organized by my mother. But that’s another story for another day.

Though that was a great guess, I was referring to my taking the DC metro for like the third time ever so that I could participate in the annual walk supporting Crohn’s disease and colitis. Because I’m severely allergic to exercise in all forms, I’m just as shocked as you are that I walked for anything other than to get the remote, but it was for a good cause and there were Subway sandwiches at the finish line, which made it all worth it in my opinion. And despite my prediction that I would die shortly after taking my first few steps, my legs and heart had only given out just a little bit before I flagged down a yellow cab and caught a ride to the end point. As they say, it’s not the journey, it’s the destination. Don’t judge me.

Because my legs haven’t tanned just yet, I wore jeans because I figured that would be less distracting than having everyone stop the walk to debate how I managed to be African American up top and Caucasian at the bottom. I should probably be studied, and when whatever I have is determined, we should all walk for that cause too. Maybe they’ll call it Michael’s disease, or just Michael’s. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Imagine 500 years from now when people will be holding their heads high and saying “It’s tough, but I’m taking one day at a time. I’ve come down with a case of the Michael’s.”

Anyway, I don’t know if there is a metro system where you live, but the one here in DC is pretty intimidating. I think there should be some form of mandatory training course or something before anyone is allowed to use it. First, there are several different routes and each one has a color and there’s a map with a legend and a key and you really have to make some serious life choices before picking which train to get on. I mean, one wrong decision and you could end up in Utah like I did a few weeks ago. I was sooooooooo late for work that morning.

Another issue is that you have to be really aggressive if you want to get wherever you’re going. At first I was trying to be nice and let the women, children, and old people over twenty-five go first, but then everyone would just bump me out of the way and I’d end up missing the train. No lie, one time I let someone’s grandma get on in front of me, and she knocked me down, gave me the finger, and then yelled out “SUCKER!!!!” as the train doors closed. Ashamed, I slowly picked myself up off the ground and wondered if the gum in my mouth was there before I fell, or if I had somehow acquired it when I landed tongue-first on the concrete. In any case, I truly learned my lesson that day. Now, even if a granny is using a walker, she’s just going to have to wait because I’m going first—and I’m not afraid to use an elbow or issue a few karate chops to someone’s neck if I have to.

In other travel news, I recently took an extended weekend trip to North Carolina for the first of like 600 weddings that I’ve been invited to attend over the next few months. Personally, I think there must be something in the water causing everyone to decide to take the plunge all of a sudden. Maybe it’s because of the potential tax discounts. Maybe it’s the mouth-watering opportunity to wear matching “I’m With Him” or “I’m With Her” t-shirts. Or, maybe it’s just easier to know who’ll be making the bed or paying for dinner at the end of the evening—I always wonder that, even when I’m by myself.

In any case, a marriage epidemic is definitely taking over the country, and my wallet isn’t too happy about it. When you take a step back and really think about it, people are getting married that have never gotten married before. It’s really alarming. Believe it or not, I’ve already had to refinance my apartment twice to cover all the gift cards I’ve had to purchase to celebrate the various nuptial milestones such as we-found-each-other parties, we-lost-each-other-and-then-found-each-other-again parties, and the classic you-ticked-me-off-so-I-sold-all-of-your-crap-on-eBay-but-I’ll-still-marry-you-anyway-because-we’ll-get-a-lot-of-good-gifts parties. At this rate, I’m going to have to start looking around the house for future gift ideas. Since they say it’s the thought that counts, one lucky couple is going to be getting a half roll of toilet paper very soon.

Because the DC metro doesn’t have any stops in North Carolina, I drove. You should have seen me flying down the highway with the music blaring, trying to avoid “the man.” Though some people don’t understand how I could spend six or seven hours in the car by myself when there are opportunities to ride with other people, I absolutely love the “me” time. I like being able to choose the song on the radio and the temperature in the car. And if I want to play the same Usher or Lady Gaga song fifty-eleven times until I know all the words and can recite them backwards on command, no one can stop me. I’ve got the power. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, although I made the journey specifically for the wedding, I kind of missed the exchanging of the vows, but I was able to attend the reception. It wasn’t my fault, though. First of all, I accidentally hit the road four hours later than I planned. I mean, if you’re going to go to a wedding, you have to invest a proper amount of time into making sure you’re wearing the right socks. You aren’t supposed to just show up wearing any old thing. It’s someone’s big day, for crying out loud. There are no do-overs. If the bride or groom is walking down the aisle and your fraudulent socks catch their eye, it could be catastrophic. Really, who wants that?

Because the wedding took place outside, when I drove by 15 minutes after it was scheduled to start, I could see that things had already begun, which I thought was pretty rude considering I obviously hadn’t arrived yet. I mean, I know I wasn’t actually in the wedding, but how could they start without me? Just because I was late and wrong, didn’t mean that they had to be equally inappropriate by starting on time. Don’t they know I have a blog???

Well, as opposed to causing a huge commotion by walking down the aisle and pretending to be one of the flower girls until I could make it to an empty seat, I ended up going to a nearby Barnes & Noble and wasting an hour or so until I could go back and sneak in later during the reception after everyone was too liquored up to notice that I had missed the best part. When I did finally arrive, everyone was too busy trying to remember the moves to the Electric Slide to notice that I was late—or that I was still wearing a flower girl dress.

All in all, the part of the ceremony (the remains?) that I did witness was beautiful. It’s so awesome to think that one day you could be minding your own business when some homeless person walks up to you asking for change and your phone number (that’s how this particular couple met). And when that happens, you have absolutely no idea that he, she, or it will one day be your next husband after you’re done with your current one. Hmmm.

Since I don’t know what’s in the cards for me with all that mushy stuff, I’ve decided to treat everyone a little bit better—even grandmas—because you really just never know. Grandmas need love too. The next dollar you give to the person holding the sign could be that exact same dollar used to by his-and-her happy meals later on that day when you’re on your first date. I’ll give you a few moments to ponder that. I know it was kind of deep and philosophical. You’re probably not used to finding that level of insight here. Don’t worry, the pain will subside. Just put some Ben Gay on it.

P.S. Before you start handing out ones to every Tom, Dick and Mary on the street or at the office based on my suggestion, because of my current financial situation, I must politely ask that you hold off on any marital bliss and consummation until further notice. I will not be able to afford or celebrate any further engagements, housewarmings, birthdays, baby makings, or other activities prior to August of 2039. At that point, you can return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wait a minute!!! You, sir, in the pink pajamas! Didn’t you just read that I requested you and your wife not do that until further notice??? Fine! Go ahead! Don’t listen to me! Nine months from now, you’re on your own!!!

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

My Blog Be an Old Lady

Written By: Michael Rochelle - May• 23•12

Before I get into all the usual shenanigans that you’ve come to love and expect from me, I have an announcement: Four score and seven years ago (which after doing a ton of statistical research, I found out was really just the equivalent of three years—apparently Lincoln had a flare for the dramatic), on May 16th, 2012, my blog turned three years old. That’s right. My blog is a toddler! I couldn’t be any more proud. I’m guessing that the only other person in the world who would really understand how I feel right now would be that Mark Zuckerberg guy who created Facebook. Of course, Facebook is nowhere near as popular as my blog is, but give it a couple more years. You’ll see.

Yes, folks, it’s been three years. Time is really flying. When I first began this blog, I was just a bumbling young man with eyes so full of hope and innocent wonder. I was still in my twenties and working on an undergraduate degree. Well, fast-forward a few years and I’m now middle aged and working on an MBA from a partially accredited university that holds night classes out of the break room of a local KFC. Just look how far I’ve come.

It still surprises me when some random person that I’ve casually mentioned my blog to three hundred times says that they’ve actually read an article of two. Of course, I always respond with, “Really? You read my blog? That thing sure does get around.” I’m just glad that what happens on the internet, stays on the internet.
Seriously, though, I still get excited when I learn of a new reader, and I love the follow up questions that inevitably come when someone stumbles across the blog:

New Reader: Are the stories you write true?

Me: Yes, all of them are 100% true unless I’ve completely made them up.

New Reader: What makes you write that stuff?

Me: Well, New Reader, I’m glad you asked that question. It’s just my calling. Like, when you know, you just know, and I know. You know?

New Reader: No.

Me: Well, I understood it. And my momma says that’s all that matters. Would you like to take a picture?

New Reader: Oh my gosh! I’d be so honored to take a picture with you, Michael.

Me: Yes, it is a pleasure to meet me, isn’t it? Oh yeah, that will be $29.95 for the picture. Add an additional $20 if you want me to sign it. I take Visa. No checks.

Anyway, even though I may only get one or two comments here and there, trust me, more people are reading and taking notice than I ever would have expected. Although I love feedback, I completely understand why you, the reader, would want to disassociate yourself from the blog. I mean, if I have to sneak into the closet and double bolt the door just to write it, who knows what lengths you’re going through to maintain anonymity. It’s ok. Just know that when you read, you are not alone. I put my blog in the same category as Kim Kardashian, weed, and that “Glee” show: Everybody’s doing it, but nobody’s telling.

Matter of fact, one day I was standing at the urinal in the restroom, minding my own business, when this lady taps me on my shoulder and says, “We know what you did.” After I finished (yeah, I know it’s TMI, but I didn’t want you to think that I was the type of person who would just start a conversation mid-stream), I said, “I know why you’re here, lady. You must want my autograph.” I was then served with some legal papers alleging that I’d pilfered a picture of a chicken wing from her company’s website and used it for one of my blog posts.

Instead of my being concerned about potentially being hauled off to jail—AGAIN, I did a somersault right there in the men’s room. I couldn’t believe that a company actually cared that I’d allegedly stolen a picture of a chicken wing from their site. Granted, the picture was probably encrypted with something that allowed it to “phone home,” but I’d like to think that one of the executives was getting his or her daily Michael fix when he or she just happened to stumble upon it. And though I cannot confirm nor deny the theft allegation, I will acknowledge that the picture now links to the company’s site. I always knew my downfall would be chicken-wing related.

Now, as we embark on season three of Hypothetically Speaking, I just want to thank you again for taking the time from your busy day to check in every once in a while. You could be doing anything in the world, like watching TV or beating your children, but you’ve decided to spend quality time with me and I truly appreciate that. I feel like breaking out into my own rendition of “I Will Always Love You,” but Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson just recently did that, and I don’t want to outshine either of them. Just hug yourself and pretend it’s from me. See, now isn’t that nice? Oh, you want another? OK, but I do charge $39.95 for each subsequent hug.

Before I bring this entry to a close, I have one more surprise. Although I would like to say that it’s due to the three-year anniversary of my blog, it’s completely coincidental that I’ve been asked to do my very first guest blog post ever for the All Fooked Up blog which can be found at http://allfookedup.com/go-ahead-amuse-me-michael/ . Oh, and by my use of “asked to do my very first guest blog post,” I mean that I campaigned, begged, and offered my left arm for the opportunity. If all goes as planned, extra content from me that you won’t find here will be posted at some point on Thursday, May 24th, as part of the site’s “Go Ahead, Amuse Me” series. After you’re all done here, head over there and check out Lynn’s blog. She just posted an entry where she ponders other places fish could use the restroom instead of crapping where they live. How could you not be intrigued? Personally, I’d like my fish to crap somewhere else too. If only I could put them on a leash. Hmmm.

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

It’s Raining Pink Slips

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Apr• 26•12

Life is funny. If someone had tapped me on the shoulder a week ago and told me that I’d soon be back out on the job market again, I probably would have called the cops and then pressed charges. I would have more quickly believed that I’d won the Mega Millions jackpot even though I didn’t play. Or, I would have more easily been convinced that I’d landed the role of Katniss Everdeen in one of the “Hunger Games” sequels than believe that I’d soon be without a job. Nope, not possible. Not me. I’m allergic to unemployment.

But then it happened—kind of.

The day started out just like any other. The sun was shining. Birds were chirping. And only three pedestrians had ventured out into oncoming traffic, forcing me to slam on the brakes and spill my coffee during my five minute commute to work that morning. One of them gave me the finger. He was probably five.

Because I’d just renewed my lease that morning, I’d come up with a plan. May 2nd would be a year since I’d been with the company, and I was ready to grow. The week before, a higher-level position had opened up, and I had my sights clearly set on it. For once, the management team and I were on the same page. It was time to take on additional responsibility. I had earned it. My mind raced as I envisioned my new name tag: Michael Rochelle, Assistant Janitor. My mother would have been so proud.

When I got to my desk that morning, I’d barely taken a sip of my coffee—not Starbucks—before I saw the word that would completely throw off any thoughts or ideas I’d had about growth and stability: merger. But this wasn’t just any ole type of merger. No. This was more like a marriage where my company would clearly be the wife, losing our name and taking on new ownership. Yeah, I went there. Shout out to my friends getting married over the next few months. Hope you enjoy your new leashes…uh…I mean leases on life.

Although the outlook isn’t exactly good, I’m keeping a positive attitude. I mean, realistically, McDonald’s is always hiring—although they did reject my application for a cashier position a few years ago because I was highly underqualified. The problem is, as mentioned, I just started this job a year ago, so I clearly remember the months of sending out resumes and filling out applications before this opportunity came through. Oh, and I won’t even mention all the interviews where I was forced to sit there and talk about myself for an hour or two. And if you know anything about me, you know that talking about myself is the one thing I rarely ever do. Nope. I’m humble.

My favorite fish, Kim Kardashian, took the news the worst. I’ll just go ahead and put it out there: he’s a little high maintenance. I’m not exactly sure where he gets it from, but I hear he’s been associating with one of my other fish, Kanye West, a lot recently. In any case, Kim pulled me to the side the other day and told me that if I thought he was going to settle for some generic brand of fish flakes, I had another thing coming. So, I wasn’t surprised when I found him dead later that evening. Apparently, fish get depressed and suicidal too.

It was then that I began thinking about my options. Of course, I could always break my newly signed lease and move back in with my mother. I don’t how long that would work out, though. She’s very strict. And not just motherly strict, she’s military-boot-camp-sergeant strict. One time I visited her one afternoon and accidentally stayed past 9 PM and she sent me to my old room because it was past my bedtime. I was 32. When I complained and said I wanted to go home, she responded, “My house my rules. I brought you in this world, and I can take you out!!!” I don’t really see that arrangement working out too well.

Honestly, I won’t really know the status of my employment until sometime this summer, but if worst comes to worst and I find myself without a job, I could always devote some of the downtime to my alleged novel or to posting on my blog more frequently while I can still afford the electricity and internet access to do so. Based on how much I’ve saved over the past few years, I’d say I can keep up this lifestyle comfortably for about two whole days before I have to start posting items like my remaining fish or my used boxer shorts on eBay. Because I really want to connect and feel close to the new owners, I won’t even bother washing them before shipping them out. I’ll Febreze them upon request, though. I’ll even let the buyer choose the scent.

Speaking of cutting back, being unemployed will definitely cut into my Kohl’s and Starbucks budget. I may even have to drop down to only three or four visits a week. Oh the humanity!!! On the flip side, because food may soon become scarce, I probably won’t have to worry about my weight or cholesterol level in a few months. That’s a good thing. Hey, I’m just trying to stay positive. Remember, you have to look at the glass as being half full even when it is really half empty.

Maybe some downtime would give me the opportunity to throw myself more into my schoolwork. I could finally turn in that research paper that was due two semesters ago. Or, maybe this is the push that I need to finally figure out what it is that I want to do with my life. We all know that I write, but what’s next for me in terms of a career? Everything up until now has definitely been a job—unless you count that rough patch a few years back when I had to resort to stripping to make ends meet. Maybe I could bring my old stripper alter ego, Caramel Macchiato Thunder, back to the stage for a few more performances. I made some good money back then. Five whole dollars a night! Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to dust off those stripper boots.

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

You Know You’ve Had A Good Night When…

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Mar• 23•12

So, have you ever woke up in the bathroom of a strange home, in nothing but your boxer briefs, so that you could throw up in front of an unidentified and slightly judgmental dog? No? Me either. But let’s just pretend I did for a quick moment, shall we? But remember, this is all hypothetical and only partially 100% true. To protect the identity of the individual that this actually happened to, I’ll just say it happened to me. As opposed to writing, “David woke up to find someone else’s gym sock in his mouth,” I’ll instead use, “I woke up to find someone else’s gym sock in my mouth.” Don’t forget that this is only partially, kind of, 100% true, in an alleged sort of way. Understand?

Last Friday, my job had a team-building function where they rented out a private portion of the local bowling alley just for the finance team. It was awesome. First of all, there was free food and drinks, and you know my motto: If it’s free, it’s for me. Now, some people may raise an eyebrow at the idea of having drinks at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, but not me, of course. Unlike the dog that would witness me puking up a week’s worth of meals later on that night, I’m not judgmental. It has always been my belief that a man should have a gin and tonic first thing in the morning if he chooses. Preferably before work like other people. Trust me, more people are doing it than you know. Most people who say they are drinking coffee first thing in the morning should be using air quotes as they say “coffee.”

That noted, I thought nothing of starting off the bowling outing with a Blue Motorcycle, which is a mixture of gin, tequila, vodka, rum, and some other cool stuff that make the drink blue. Hey, don’t judge me. At least it was 2 in the afternoon. It wasn’t like it was 1 o’clock. And this is all hypothetical, remember? After scoring 101 points during my first game, I decided to treat myself to a second drink and several shots before starting the next game. For some reason, I didn’t do as well that time. I only scored 80 points, which was due to the massive number of gutter balls I rolled and certainly NOT because I’d had about five drinks by then. Scientists will one day read this and blame it on the alcohol because the number of gutter balls increased with each drink I had, but I refuse to believe it. If there are two things that we Michaels do well, they are blogging at infrequent rates, and holding our liquor.

After we were done bowling, I was all prepared to go home like a good person should have such an event. It was already 4 PM on a Friday, way past my bed time. But before I could make it to my car, a few of my coworkers came up with the idea that we should go to a local bar for a few hours to wind down. Because I had nothing else planned but to watch Netflix with my fish for the rest of the evening, I reluctantly agreed. That was the beginning of the end. If only my mother had’ve let me watch some of those after school specials on TV, I wouldn’t have succumb to peer pressure and spent the night clutching someone’s toilet bowl.

From what I remember about the bar, I believe I enjoyed myself in the beginning. There were about five us in attendance when someone—I swear it wasn’t me—brought up the idea of having a few more shots. After confirming that I could still count to 10 and someone else was paying for the shots, I agreed. Three or four hours and just as many shots later, an assortment of drinks were brought to our table and a warm Jose Cuervo shot landed in front of me. I should have known by the way my coworkers quickly grabbed all the other more user-friendly drinks, that I’d suffer for having slower hands later. As soon as Jose and Cuervo began doing the Mexican Hat Dance in my tummy, darkness began to take over me.

I woke up in the restroom. Not the bathroom that I’d end up in later on that night, but the one at the bar. I’d locked myself in the one stall they had available. Someone was calling my name and asking if I was ok. I had no idea how I got there. After assuring the person that I was ok and that I would be out in “2 minutes,” I went back to sleep. I’d later learn that I’d been in there for over an hour, which left people pretty pissed. And since I was holding up the only stall in the men’s room, I mean that literally.

When I woke up again, I was in an unfamiliar bed. I had no idea how I had made it out of the stall and into someone’s car, bus, or plane, and then ended up in that person’s bed. I could tell the person was lying beside me and I wondered who it was. Had Oprah heard one of her lost children calling out for help and she came and saved me from the bathroom of a bar in Gaithersburg, MD? Had I somehow managed to send Barack a drunken text in the middle of the night and he sent the Secret Service to ensure I’d made it to the White House safely? I hadn’t had time to figure out who my guardian angel was before I realized why I had woken up: I was puking—in Oprah’s or Barack’s bed.

Somehow I found my way to the restroom where the puke-ation continued. After what seemed like an eternity, I removed my head from the toilet bowl to notice that I hadn’t shut the door completely. If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, I then realized that I was being watched. It was Loki, my cowoker’s dog, and he wasn’t too happy about the mess I was making. I could tell by the way he tilted his head in a manner that let me know he was wondering if I were crazy. After petting him for a bit and making him promise not to tell, I started to feel better about the evening’s events. I was safe. I was with friends. But then I realized I wasn’t wearing socks. You may not know this about me, but I don’t like feet—not even my own. If I could trade them in for two more hands and attach them to my ankles, I would. I never take off my socks. Not even in the shower. And definitely not at the pool. Never!

After pondering what happened to my socks, I learned that they weren’t the only articles of clothing that I was missing. I had on no shirt. I had on no pants. I had on no undershirt. Too scared to look, I slowly reached down to see if there was at least a piece of fabric or a loin cloth covering my who-who. I’d never been so happy in my life to feel the cotton of my boxer briefs that kept me from being completely naked while hugging the porcelain throne of my coworker’s bathroom. That’s when I learned that cotton really is the fabric of our lives. However, my happiness was only temporary as I wondered whether I’d taken off my clothes at my coworker’s house, or whether I’d relieved myself of them at the bar. Immediately, I threw up again.

When I woke up the following morning still hugging the toilet, I surveyed the damage and tried to clean up as quickly as I could. Unfortunately, the shower curtain could not be saved. It would have to be burned. I would later learn that my coworker replaced many of the items that didn’t survive my wrath that night. The plunger. The trash can. The scale. The tub. And the washbowl. All of it had to go. She calls her new bathroom the Michael Renovation. I’m embarrassed and flattered.

Before I realized what was happening, I found myself having a conversation with my coworkers in the middle of the living room while I was still in my boxer briefs as if it were normal. What had happened was, I hadn’t yet mustered the courage to ask where my clothes were, so I just tried to pretend that I was not naked—even though everyone else was fully clothed. I thought that maybe if I kept the conversation interesting enough, they wouldn’t notice that I hadn’t put on lotion the previous day or done any form of man-scaping, which I believe should be a prerequisite to that level of exposure. I also hoped they wouldn’t notice that I hadn’t been to the gym in a few weeks. Unfortunately, my boxer briefs left nothing to the imagination. If they’d ever wondered, they were now certain that I didn’t have abs or buns of steel.

After one of my male coworkers had suffered enough of seeing me in my underwear, I was shown to the bedroom where my clothes were lying on the floor. As I quickly dressed, I can’t tell you how relieved I was that I hadn’t done an awkward strip tease at the bar—AGAIN. It was nice to know that I hadn’t tried to sexily pour liquid down my bare chest and then scream because that liquid was someone’s hot coffee. I was also happy to know that I didn’t pull my pants down while asking for tips before realizing that I needed to do laundry and hadn’t worn any underwear that day. Hey, it has happened to the best of us, right? No?

One of my coworkers was nice enough to drive me to my car, and I made it home safely. After I parked, I remembered that I lived on the fourth floor, so I opted to sleep in the car for a few hours before trying to tackle the steps. I mean, it was a beautiful day. Why not lie out and enjoy it? I just wish I had rolled the windows down beforehand. Maybe that would have saved me from waking up around noon not being able to breathe and sweating profusely from being so hot.

When I finally made it into my apartment, I collapsed on my couch and stayed there for the rest of the day. Later that night, I tried to drink a little Coke to put something on my stomach and I found myself right back in the bathroom spewing like a faucet—24 hours after taking the Jose Cuervo shot! That noted, the moral of this story is that if you’re going to have 10 shots in a single setting, make sure you’re wearing underwear in case you decide to give folks a strip tease. And if you’re going to do a strip tease, make sure you aren’t at a work function—or a family function. And if you do manage to drink and do a strip tease at a family or work function, you don’t have to worry about checking IDs. You already know those people, so chances are, their money is good. However, to make things less awkward, I would start thinking now about how you’re going to explain to your grandma where she should swipe her credit card.

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

State Of The Michael Address

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Feb• 24•12

The New Me

A few weeks ago I went to the doctor for my annual oil change and engine tune-up. I’m never thrilled about those visits, but once you reach my age—32—your primary care physician becomes such a regular and important part of your life that it is totally possible that you may see him, her, or it more than you see your spouse or your kids. I’ve seen my doctor so many times this year that I’m thinking about listing her as the beneficiary on my life insurance policies instead of my fish. My mother used to be listed, but she got bumped a few years ago after we had a heated disagreement about whether or not oatmeal tasted better than cream of wheat. I mean, anyone who doesn’t know that cream of wheat is better certainly doesn’t deserve to receive the $50 payout when my final day comes.

Anyway, so I sat there on the bed, kicking my feet like a two year old, confident that everything would turn out ok. After all, I worked out twice in January. That certainly had to help lower my blood pressure and whatever else exercising allegedly helps with. There was nothing to worry about. Basically, I was there to have the doctor hand me a lollipop and draw a smiley face on a Popsicle stick—one of the many benefits of still going to a pediatrician even when you’re middle-aged. I bet your doctor doesn’t offer that service! Well, imagine my surprise when the doctor looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Your cholesterol sucks.” That wasn’t such a huge shock. They’ve been saying that since I was four. However, what she said next made my head spin as if I were that girl in “The Exorcist”: “If you don’t make some changes now, I’d say you have about ten to fifteen years before you have a stroke or something.”

A stroke or something!!!

Honestly, as I sit here buttering my bagel while frying chicken and drinking whole milk, I can’t even begin to explain how this may have happened. I mean, could it have been the bacon double cheeseburgers with the extra mayo? Was it the weekly Meat Lovers pizza with extra meat and extra cheese? Or was it the scrambled eggs that I eat every morning with the extra side of eggs? Please don’t tell me that it was the deep fried lettuce or my daily assortment of cakes and pies. Of course not! I refuse to believe it. My favorite foods would never betray me. I asked my doctor for her credentials because I was sure there had to have been some form of mistake. She’d obviously gotten it wrong. I wanted to speak to a manager. After finding out that she was the manager, I asked to speak to her mom. Someone was going to pay!!!

After the guilty-of-high-cholesterol verdict set in, my mind began to race. I mean, I’m only 32 in human years. Why has my body forsaken me? I always thought high cholesterol wouldn’t be something I’d have to worry about until I was old and decrepit—you know, like when I turn 33. Although my doctor’s mother explained that my doctor is still a few credits shy of her bachelor’s degree from a partially accredited medical school called Super Walmart, I decided to take her warning seriously. I mean, if something happened to me, who would pay off my student loans? Who would feed my fish? Who would finally vacuum my floors? And, most importantly, who would write my blog? Now that Stephenie Meyer and J. K. Rowling are done with their little “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” projects, I’m sure they’re just waiting in the wings for my demise so that they can take over my blog. Never!

And then I shared the news with my mother.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone was happier to hear about my pending demise than she was. Because she dropped the phone when I told her about my crisis, I assumed that she had become overwhelmed with the idea of losing the only child she had fully paid for with her credit card. Instead, I heard her and my father in the background giving each other high fives. Before I fully realized what was going on, there was the sound of a champagne cork being popped. Apparently my mother had been expecting this news for a while now and she’d finally won the bet over my father who had believed my eating habits weren’t really that bad. When she eventually made it back to the phone, she said, “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that, Mikey” before yelling to my father that he had two weeks to come up with the money, or else.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I made the mistake of sharing the news with some of my coworkers. Why on earth did I do that? Now, whenever I try to eat anything, at least twelve people remind me of how whatever I’m eating isn’t good for me. You should hear them. “Michael, is that a raisin? You know that’s bad for your cholesterol,” or “Are you drinking water again? You know that’s just going to raise your cholesterol,” they say. Have you ever had a whole department shake their heads in disapproval and wag their fingers at you because you ate two strawberries for lunch knowing that you already had bad cholesterol? So far, the only things they’ve allowed me to eat without giving me a lecture are used Post-it Notes and an occasional staple. Everything else is absolutely off limits.

In order to try to live for at least another few years or so until my book comes out, I’ve began looking at the nutrition label on everything—even my clothes. What this has taught me is that there is basically nothing you can eat other than grass that isn’t bad for you in some way, shape or form. If it’s low in cholesterol, then it is high in sodium. If it’s low in sodium, then it is high in sugar. If it’s low in sugar, then it’s high in trans fats. If it is low in cholesterol, sugar, sodium, and trans fats, then it tastes so bad that you’ll want to fling yourself off the nearest tall building in effort to put yourself out of your misery.

So, here’s the plan, instead of sentencing myself to a life of eating nothing but cardboard and tree bark, I’m going to try to replace some of my bad eating habits for better ones. For example, at lunch, instead of eating a cheesesteak, I’ve been eating a bowl of cream of wheat or soup. Sometimes, instead of having something fried for dinner, I’ll have a bowl of cereal. And when I do decide to splurge and eat a donut or piece of cake, I’m trying to only eat half, or a portion smaller than I would normally eat. Another tactic that works for me is taking two bites of something and then throwing the rest in the trash really quickly before I throw it down my throat instead. So far, I’ve only gone in the trash one time to retrieve a piece of cake that was so good that I was ok with the puddle of soda it had landed in and the few pieces of gum that had gotten stuck to it. I don’t know who those pieces of gum originally belonged to, but I can confirm that those individuals and I are now forever connected. I mean, when you think about it, how cool is that? Do you chew gum? Have you ever had a red piece that you discarded after it removed the smell of garlic and onions from your breath? Really? Then maybe we’re connected!!!

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

Let’s Get Physical…Kind Of

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jan• 30•12

Ok, so we’re five weeks into the new year and I’ve already betrayed all of my resolutions. For one, I’m eating like I’m 51 months pregnant. Just yesterday I went to both Popeye’s and Panda Express for dinner. Oh, and did I mention that I also went to Mrs. Fields for cookies afterward? And no, I didn’t just get one cookie. I got six!!! Definitely not my finest hour in terms of calorie content. On top of that, I didn’t work out at all last week or the week before. Then again, maybe I can count that one afternoon when I found that stale piece of gum that had been hiding in my glove compartment for a year or two. It gave my jaws a real work out. Hmmm. In that case, I guess I haven’t gotten too far off track.

Despite the temporary setback, I can honestly report that I worked out twice during the first week of the year—I think. You should have seen me. I even broke a sweat while trying to figure out how to use the treadmill. After I finished, I thought I had really done something. I walked around the office ripping off my shirt as if I were Arnold Schwarzenegger every chance I could. Most of my coworkers just laughed and strongly encouraged me to put my shirt back on. However, my human resources manager wasn’t so fond of me standing on top of her desk and beating my chest as if I were Tarzan. She promptly wrote me up—AGAIN. I think she’s just jealous because she doesn’t have abs of steel like the ones I will one day have when my order comes in off eBay.

One reason I haven’t worked out is because I haven’t really been feeling like myself lately. Well, I haven’t exactly felt like Brad Pitt or Meryl Streep either, but I definitely haven’t been feeling like the Michael Rochelle you’ve all come to know and love. Last week I had a cold, so there was no need to run on the treadmill because I’d already burned plenty of calories running back and forth to the restroom. But even before that, for some reason, all I’ve wanted to do is go to work and then go back home and sleep. I’ve logged so much time on my couch recently that I think I’m up for some kind of world record. But before you start calling the authorities to report me as being depressed or off my medications again, that’s not it. I think I’m just a little burned out.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying, “Michael, you haven’t done a blog post in four weeks, you haven’t had any homework since Christmas, and your reality show, “For the Love of Michael,” is on hiatus. Why are you so tired?” Well, for your information, I’ve had to put in a lot of extra time at the office recently. And because I’m a salaried employee, all those extra hours fall under a category of volunteerism that doesn’t count toward the community service hours I was sentenced to due to that one unfortunate incident I got into with someone’s grandmother over the last red scarf at that K-mart blue-light sale. I’m still embarrassed that I let that granny get the best of me. If only I had used my walker as a weapon like she did.

Anyway, another reason I may be feeling a little out of it is because school started back up last Wednesday, and I’m dreading this semester. A full 15 weeks of nothing but economics and statistics. How does one say “yuck” in English? I know I should have a more positive attitude like Oprah suggested when I spoke to her last night, but as I explained to Big Mama O, she’s not the one taking the classes. There are like a million other things that I would enjoy more than 15 weeks of studying those two subjects. For example, I would rather wash the feet of 100 strangers with nothing but my navel and a toothbrush. Or, I would rather run a marathon with nothing on but a handful of strategically placed gift bows to hide all twelve of my private parts. I thought about including a diagram here, but then thought it would be unnecessary. I mean, we all have the same 12 or 13 private parts, unless you’re from Germany where you’re born with an extra three.

Speaking of being from Germany, I think I’m going to come up with a new and exotic place for me to be from instead of Baltimore. I have a few coworkers from Vietnam, a few from Africa, a few from India, etc., and those places all seem far and foreign. Nobody gets excited when I say I’m from Baltimore. For some reason, they always ask if I can show them my bullet wounds and whether or not I know how to read. When I tell them that I placed 2nd in a dramatic reading contest of “Jack and Jill” during my senior year of high school, they then ask if I was on “The Wire.” No, I wasn’t. But my mother was. I don’t remember the exact role she played, but it was either that really mean character, or she played that guy that walked up and down the street with a shot gun because it wasn’t too far of a stretch from what she does in real life. I always get confused, but I’m afraid to confirm because it’s not advisable to ask a person with a shotgun a silly question—even if that person is your mother.

If I could be from anywhere, I think I would be from Family Dollar or PetSmart. Why? Because no one else ever says they’re from there. When was the last time you’ve heard someone tell a story about their hometown which is on aisle 5 of the men’s department? Never. But I’m just being silly. I know that Family Dollar is not a country. I’m pretty sure Walmart is though. It’s bigger. And the cost of living there isn’t too expensive. They have everyday low prices. But if for some reason that doesn’t work out, I think I’ll be from Asia. I mean, people already compliment me on my Asian features anyway. They’re actually quite surprised when I explain that the lady who adopted and raised me in the basement of her home says that my birth mother told her I was either African American or European right before she signed over the documents to rent-to-own me. Who knew?

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

Goodbye 2011, Hello Chicken Wings

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jan• 02•12

So, it’s 2012. A new beginning. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was sharing my resolutions for 2011 with you. Apparently, the older you get, the faster time flies. At my age, if you blink twice, you’re likely to miss the whole month of March. But I digress. A quick review of my 2011 resolutions makes me feel kind of like a failure. The fried chicken wings I had for breakfast this morning certainly prove that I’m not eating healthier. Making matters worse, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to the gym over the past 12 months—and most of those visits were only due to my need to use the restroom. Despite that, there is at least one good thing that I did accomplish during 2011: I was nominated “Sexiest Man Alive.” Although I didn’t top People Magazine’s list, my four fish unanimously voted me “The Sexiest Man Alive That Lives In My Apartment.” I couldn’t have been more proud.

Now that I think about it, it’s probably a good time for me to decide who and what I want to be in 2012. Obviously, the roles of Ryan Gosling, Adele, and Bradley Cooper are taken, but what’s left for me? What do I want my legacy to be this year? When people see me out and about, what descriptions should come to their mind? writer? student? Kohl’s shopper? Of course, I’m a major celebrity that receives worldwide recognition comparable to that of Justin Bieber. No one would ever argue that fact. But at the end of the day—or in other words, at night—who is this grand enigma that is Michael Rochelle? What plans does he have for 2012? And can he convince the cashier at Popeye’s to do home deliveries? I could really use a biscuit right about now.

First, I definitely HAVE to write more and search for new opportunities to do so. My articles haven’t appeared in a magazine or newspaper in quite some time, and I really miss the excitement of seeing my work in a print form outside of my blog. I may have mentioned this before, but I want to be a writer who happens to work in accounting to keep the lights on and the fish fed as opposed to being a worker in accounting that happens to write. Like myself, I’m sure there are many others spending more hours to ensure that the bills are paid than they are pursuing their true passion. Who knows? Maybe Beyoncé is putting out music solely because it was the only job she could get, but secretly she just wants to be a stocker at Walmart. Should we deny her the one thing that would truly make her happy? Of course not!

Second, I’d like to read more. When I was doing my undergrad, it was easy to rattle off the last book I’d read because reading was a part of the curriculum. Now that I’m in grad school and focused on business, besides textbooks and newspapers, I couldn’t begin to tell you the last book I’ve read from cover to cover. Of course, I sneak into Barnes and Noble every now and then to read a chapter or two of Ellen DeGeneres’ “Seriously I’m Kidding,” or Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” so I can pull chapters from them to post on my weekly blog as if I’d written them myself, but that’s not reading for pleasure. That’s just me searching for new content. And if there is anyone who knows the importance of putting out new and original material, it’s me, Ellen DeGeneres.

In addition to reading more books, I need to read more blogs. I know this will probably be just as much of a shock to you as it was to me, but, allegedly, there are a whole slew of other blogs out there besides mine. Who knew? Hopefully, I’ll be able to use my findings to help me become a better writer and make your experience as a reader even greater. I know it’s hard to imagine enjoying my blog any more than you already do now, but apparently it’s possible for me to refine my craft as a slightly best-selling author and blogger. Believe it or not, some bloggers post every single day. Could you imagine having a dose of Michael with your coffee and bagel every morning? Well, kind reader, if you dream it, I, Tina Fey, can achieve it.

Another goal of mine this year is to trust my instincts a little more. For example, the other day I was at Starbucks, looking over the menu for something that would excite me when my eyes landed on a Caramel Apple Cider. Immediately, I frowned at the thought of an apple cider and coffee mixture, but I decided to take a chance and try something new. I mean, without taking risks, I would have never discovered the magical wonder of the McDonald’s French fry last week. As it turns out the drink doesn’t have coffee in it, but the barista (look at me using big, new words) encouraged me to try it mixed with the Cinnamon Dolce latte. I took his advice. He’s the barista after all. If I can trust him with my financial planning and future dog grooming needs, the least I can do is let him recommend a drink.

As soon as the warm liquid hit my tongue, I pondered suing Starbucks for assault with a deadly drink. I’d never been so wrong about a choice since that one time I lost my Toyota to Taylor Swift and Lil’ Wayne over a game of Spades—they both cheated if you ask me. I expected as much from Taylor, but Lil’ Wayne being anything less than a gentleman completely shocked me. I’m thinking about calling his mother. Anyway, my less-than-great Starbucks experience taught me that when I take risks, the outcome may not go exactly as I expected, but I’ll still gain helpful experience that will be awesome for me to pass on to my great grandchildren one day—or to my future Pomeranian, whichever comes first.

Lastly, before the year ends, I’d like to get rid of some of the random stuff I’m holding onto but will never use. Honestly, I’m probably just one napkin away from being placed on the national hoarder registry. I have books, gadgets, shoes, and clothes that I haven’t worn or used in years; why am I still holding on to all that stuff? There has to be better use for all that space—I could get new stuff!!! But really, how many microwaves and irons does one person need? I could probably make due with having just three of each and get rid of the rest of them, right? With that in mind, does anyone need a “How to Read Harry Potter in Arabic Braille” book? I’ve got twelve of them!!!

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

A Christmas Michael–I Mean Miracle

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Dec• 25•11

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. You know it’s the holiday season when random people hold doors open for you, let you merge on the interstate, or allow you to go in front of them when you’re standing in the check-out line shaking frantically with your legs crossed and a bottle of extra strength Pepto Bismol in your hand—I love it when that happens. This time of year, people who don’t usually speak actually part their lips to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “What are you looking at?” or “Take a hike, jerk.”

For me, the best part of the season, topping the gift giving, decorations, and all the store clerks in Santa hats, is the extra time off from work. Although I LOVE my job and ADORE my coworkers (umm, some of them may be reading), I also love the three or four-day weekends that sometimes come along with Christmas and New Year’s. And because of all the niceness in the air, I typically get written up or fired less during this time of year, which is an awesome benefit. “Sure, I’m five hours late and I didn’t bother to call, but you wouldn’t terminate me during Christmas, would you? Oh, and by the way, I need to leave early.” Yes, it’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year. So wonderful, that I finally found the energy to take the blog out of hiatus.

As some of you know, my goal for the past few months has been to do a weekly blog post. Of course, that has kind of gone out the window. However, I can honestly say that I wasn’t missing in action because I was camped outside of a mall waiting for the new Air Jordan sneakers to be released. Instead, school happened. And then work happened. And “30 Rock” happened. Yes, while I was off the radar, I was either at work, doing schoolwork, or sprawled out on the couch watching Netflix—or what was left of my Netflix subscription after they hiked up the prices and forced me to take on a part time job in order to pay for the new separate DVD rental and streaming services. I’m just happy I didn’t throw away my stripper outfit. I had a feeling I was going to have to use it again.

In my defense, I didn’t stop writing altogether. I started writing several blog entries, but then something shiny would come on the TV, or a teacher would call nagging and whining that one of my assignments was 4 weeks late or something, so I’d have to put off blogging to pretend to be slightly responsible and “prioritize” as people in the business world like to say. Thus, I have several articles about my Thanksgiving and Black Friday experiences, but I think it may be just a tad bit too late to post them. Maybe I’ll save them for February when everyone is distracted and starry eyed because of Valentine’s Day, so no one will notice how late and inappropriate a Thanksgiving post is at that time. We’ll see.

Over the past few weeks, because some people know that I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, many questions arise about whether I’ll celebrate Christmas or not and what I’ll do with myself that day if I choose not to. Although I’m not currently a practicing Jehovah’s Witness, my parents still are, so holidays are just like a regular day for me. December 25th may as well be June 25th—wait, that’s not a holiday too, is it? The funny thing is, whenever I tell someone that I’ll be just lying low, watching TV, and sleeping through the holiday, they act as though I’m depressed and need to be placed on a suicide watch. And let me tell you, it is very hard for me to write this blog in the middle of a psych ward with two big burly wardens watching my every move and tranquilizing me every time I get upset because they don’t serve Starbucks here. I mean, wouldn’t you go crazy if someone cut off your coffee supply? I’m just saying. By the way, they’re telling me that I can’t use words like “cut,” but I’ll see if I can somehow slide that by them.

But anyway, in terms of my holiday being relatively uneventful, don’t cry for me, Christmas celebrators. Like Lady Gaga said, I was pretty much born this way. My mother became a Jehovah’s Witness when I was about 5, so I have years and years and YEARS of experience in not being with family, having a tree, or getting gifts for Christmas. Matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that the savings due to her not having to buy gifts was one of the big selling points of the Jehovah’s Witness lifestyle that made my mother say “Sign me up!!!” Hmmm. I wonder if it’s too late to sue for all the lost presents and earnings over the years? Maybe I need to call Judge Judy. Mom, I’ll see you in court!!! And bring your checkbook!!!

Since I’m actually writing this on Christmas, instead of spending my day opening gifts and planning my travel route to return the majority of those unwanted items tomorrow, I’m spending it doing exactly what I want to do. Looking at the November 5th date on my last blog entry is very disturbing, so I’m excited to be adding new content. Next, I plan to add at least one chapter to the alleged novel that I’ve been working on for the last few years. Also, because I’ll be spending the day with my parents tomorrow, I went for a drive earlier and raided all the outdoor Redbox machines until I found the movie “The Help” for us to watch during our family time. Thus, I may not exactly be celebrating Christmas per se, but I’m still enjoying myself. Did I mention that I also rented “Just Dance 3”? Yes, I’ll be spending the evening dancing and sweating until the paramedics come knocking. I can’t wait!!!

In closing, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and I look forward to connecting with my readers more in 2012. Enjoy yourself and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do—which pretty much means you can do anything you want.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Access my website: http://www.mikeyllo.com
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Halloween, Birthdays, And A Run For President

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Nov• 05•11

So, I was sitting there on Halloween, politely waiting for trick or treaters to show up at my door. I’d been waiting for over an hour. Now that I think about it, the fact that no kids showed up was probably my fault. Maybe I shouldn’t have waited until after work on Halloween to stop at Target to pick up candy. While I was there, I did kind of get a tad bit distracted by a few of life’s little necessities. I mean, you can never have enough of that stuff that makes your toilet water blue so that it matches your towels and wallpaper. In any case, I didn’t make it home until after 9 PM, which means I probably missed all the kids. That kind of sucks because now I’ll be forced to eat all that candy by myself over the next few days, which would totally ruin my diet if I were on one.

Well, I can’t exactly call that night a complete loss. Not too long after I arrived home, I heard a knock and I practically sprinted over to the door and whipped it open expecting to see a bunch of cute kids in their scary little costumes. Except those kids weren’t exactly kids. Those kids were like fifteen . . . or twenty-eight or something. They didn’t even bother to pretend to wear costumes. One was taller than I am. Trust me, I’ve never seen a kid holding a beer bottle in one hand and a cigarette behind one ear as part of his or her outfit. My smile faded as the trick or treaters shoved a black trash bag in my direction and said, “Fill ‘er up.” I couldn’t believe I was handing over a handful of snack-size Snickers to two guys and a girl who had to be at least as old as I am. Maybe I was imagining things, but I could have sworn I noticed a few gray hairs in one of the guy’s moustache.

I wonder how many actual children I missed while I was at Target deciding whether I really needed another iron and matching microwave set or not. I mean, you just never know when the three irons you already have are going to give out, and one can never have too many microwaves in my opinion. How else can you pop your popcorn and warm up your coffee at the exact same time without using that stove contraption thingy that takes up half your kitchen but you make up for it by using it as a storage unit? Thanks to my three microwaves, I can prepare an entire meal for one person in less than five hours. And if I decide to go simple and make something like Cheerios or Fruit Loops, I can cut that down to about sixty minutes. What can I say? I’m a professional.

Last Halloween, so many children showed up at my door that I ran out of candy and had to improvise. After some quick thinking on my part, I began handing out 12-ounce cans of spinach and peas instead of Kit Kats and Almond Joys. Needless to say, the kids weren’t so thrilled with that quick fix and the next morning I found all of the cans neatly stacked outside my front door. Ingrates! As disappointed as I was that I missed all the kids this year, I have to admit that a part of me is kind of glad the evening was so quiet. I mean, you might think that little ghost or goblin is somebody’s two year old, but before you know it, you’ve opened the door and that two year old is taking your bowl of candy and your wallet. You just never know these days. Better safe than sorry.

Moving on, a lot of people have asked what I did for my birthday two weeks ago—OK, one person asked. Well, if I’m honest, I did exactly what I thought I would do—homework. Yes, on my actual birthday, I didn’t even leave the house. I was glued to my couch reading something about marketing for my marketing class and something about accounting for my accounting class. Actually, I’m lying. I did leave the house for about an hour so that I could go to Carvel and order myself a birthday cake with my name on it and everything.

Ok, I know what you’re saying, “Michael, you bought your own cake! How sad!” Well, don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’ll have you know that when you buy your own cake, you get exactly what you want and the whole thing is yours unless you choose to share it!!! And when I lit my 32 candles, no one was there to witness the small kitchen fire it caused and I was totally able to play it off by saying I had some faulty cords when the Montgomery County Fire Department showed up. See, so I didn’t exactly spend my birthday alone. Furthermore, I’d like to dispute the rumors that aired on “Entertainment Tonight” and “TMZ” that I caused the fire so that people would show up for my birthday. Yes, I did ask the firemen to sing “Happy Birthday” while they hosed down my microwave, but it was not pre-planned—just like Kim Kardashian’s divorce.

As bad as it may sound, it was completely my fault that I didn’t do anything big on my birthday. I waited until the last minute to do my homework for the week, so I had to cancel plans I’d made with friends that day in order to get it done. Why be a show off and turn your work in early when you can wait until the last minute and make it appear that you put some effort into it and took your time to make sure you did the work accurately? I’m just saying. Anyway, despite how low-key my actual birthday was, I had dinner at Buca di Beppo, an Italian restaurant, and went bowling with another set of friends the night before. I had an awesome time in spite of the fact that I came in third or fourth each game. Apparently, no one told my friends that they were supposed to let me win in honor of my birthday—even if that meant that they somehow needed to score less than 20 points the whole game. Next time I’m requesting that we use the bumpers or gutter-blockers that the kids use.

Now that I’m officially 32, I feel like I should be evaluating my life, where I’ve been, what I want to do, and who I want to be when I grow up. Well, first, I want to start rewarding myself for my achievements, which is exactly why I rewarded myself for burning 100 calories at the gym the other day by going to Checkers and having a Bacon Cheese Champ compo right afterwards. It was so worth it. Second, I want to finally learn how to do the Crank Dat Souldja Boy dance from 2007 that I never quite mastered. Because I’m not a quitter, I’m going to put in more practice and possibly debut it for my birthday next year. Third, I wonder if it’s too late for me to put in my bid for president. My momma always said that I could be whatever I want to be. Hmmm. There you have it. You heard it here first. Michael Rochelle for president in 2012. Do you want to know the first bill for me to get through congress? I’ll work on making Starbucks, Netflix, and iPhones free for everyone!!!

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

Damn, Damn, Damn Near 40

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Oct• 22•11

Tomorrow I’ll officially be 32, which one of my aunts so lovingly describes as “being damn near 40.” Well, yes, I may have graduated from high school the same year that Betty White did, but I bet nobody would look her in the eye and tell her that she’s damn near 40. I don’t know what it is about getting older that allows people to make such a giant age association. I mean, I won’t be 40 for 8 more years. That’s two whole presidential terms. I could plant and grow a school-aged child between now and then. In my opinion, I’m still closer to 30, but in everyone else’s opinion I’m almost 60. Apparently, those age leaps only work once you’ve reach a certain age because I never remember anyone telling me that I was “damn near 20” when I was just 12. Now that I think about it, it would have been awesome to have been able to say, “Mom, you can’t send a 12 year old to his room. I’m damn near 20. Now get me a beer.”

I haven’t really thought much about the big day. Honestly, it was just a few days ago that I realized my birthday was at the end of the week instead of two weeks away like I’d been telling people. I hope that won’t throw everyone off in terms of getting my gifts on time and ordering a big cake that Beyoncé will jump out of while singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” The funny thing is, when I mention my age—the official one that the government won’t allow me to change despite many attempts—people typically look me over as if I’m some form of alien or something before saying things like, “You look good to be 32. What’s your secret?” Well, first, I’m not yet 32. I assume my appropriately aged face will be delivered by FedEx on October 23rd. Second, I guess my secret to looking young is a healthy avoidance of water, exercise, and vegetables. It’s either that or my face is simply confused as to whether it should age based on the passing of time or my stagnant maturity level. I’ll say it loud, I’m 12 and I’m proud—which is really damn near 20.

For the past few weeks, people have been asking me what I’d like to do to celebrate the aging process. Actually, since my birthday is on a Sunday, I will probably spend the entire day sitting on my couch doing homework because that’s what a responsible adult would do—allegedly. I mean, I could reach out to my professors and ask if they would give me some form of special birthday homework pardon, but if they weren’t willing to offer me a Columbus or Labor Day pardon when I asked, I doubt they’ll be open to giving me a free pass this time around either. But like they say, nothing beats a failure but a half-hearted try. That noted, I’ll reach out to them and see what they have to say. At the least, maybe my mentioning the big day will convince them to get me a nice gift from Kohl’s. Hey, I’m not picky as long as people get me exactly what I want. I probably should have established a birthday registry. Hmmm. I wonder if it’s too late.

The good thing about getting older is that you can blame everything on old age and entitlement. If I fall asleep at my desk, it’s because of old age. If I happen to put a ton of items in my shopping cart and accidentally leave without paying, I can blame that on old age. If your name is Sharon and I walk around calling you names like Rehoboth or Missouri and then swear that those were the names you gave me when we met and then refer you to your own birth certificate for verification, chalk that up to old age as well. Although I know that I’m nowhere near the age where I can just say whatever I want and get away it, I’ve certainly been getting in some good practice over the past few years. So far, I’ve only gotten two black eyes, a busted lip, and a three-week suspension from work. Hey, you live and you learn. But when I’m 65, a lot of people are going to get a real piece of my mind! Who knows? Maybe I’ll be the next Andy Rooney.

Speaking of birthdays, I recently took my annual trip to Gatlinburg, TN to help one of my buddies celebrate his big day, which is also in October. Each year he rents a log cabin in the mountains and invites a handful of friends out to drink, play cards, drink, sightsee, drink, have intelligent conversation, drink, watch movies, and occasionally have a drink to break up all the monotonous drinking. As usual, I had a great time and the scenery is absolutely beautiful this time of year because the leaves are changing colors, and there is nothing but trees as far as the eye can see, which means none of the basic necessities for human survival are nearby like Starbucks, Macy’s or J.C. Penny. Yes, I had withdrawals, and I know that if I had stayed just one more day, I probably wouldn’t have lived to write this story—I mean blog.

Unfortunately, during the trip I was viciously attacked by a huge insect that was impersonating a twig. I mean, this creature looked as if it could have been a fill-in for one of the dinosaurs on Jurassic Park. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit, but I’m pretty sure the thing would have launched an attack on me if one of my buddies hadn’t risked his life to save mine. Actually, the incident is kind of foggy now because after I spotted the insect, I did a very manly scream, and then promptly passed out. When I recovered, I was lying face down on the wooden floor and my buddy—also known as my hero—was escorting the bug out the door with a pool stick. I’d never been more grateful in my entire life—except for maybe that one time when Britney Spears hired me to be a backup dancer to her backup backup dancers. All I need is like 30 of them to get sick or injured at the same time and I’ll finally get my big break!!!

Each year the group goes into town and takes old-timey photos where we’re dressed up as gangster mob bosses. For some, it’s their favorite part of the trip. For me, it’s the most dreaded. First, because we’re acting as if we’re mobsters, the photographers always tell us not to smile. Apparently, people with names like Bugsy, Hachette, or Bullet Tooth aren’t supposed to show any signs of happiness. Unfortunately, I fail at this every year. Even when I believe I’ve positioned my face in a manner to look the most ferocious and hardcore I’ve ever been in my entire life, I always end up appearing as though I’m smiling for a Colgate commercial. Second, because I’m one of the shortest people in the group, I’m always put in the front, which emphasizes the fact that I’m the only grinning gangster and that I don’t know how to hold a tommy gun properly. I’m typically the only one who needs a tutorial. For everyone else, it comes naturally. When the pictures are finally printed, the fellas just shake their heads. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and tell them that I’ll try to do better next year after I practice making mean faces and watch a few more episodes of “The Wire.”

In closing, I’m very excited about the opportunity to use my birthday as a fresh start. 32 is my year. This will be the year that I get this so-called life together. This will be the year that I start being more productive. This year will be the year that I finish the alleged novel. This will be the year that I stop waiting until the last minute to start my homework assignments. And this will be the year that I finally pay off that library fine I was charged 12 years ago. Who knows? Maybe this will be the year that I save up enough money to settle down and purchase a spouse. Yes, this will be the year that Michael Rochelle single handedly takes over the world!!! And if not this year, then certainly next year or the one after that!!!

Michael Rochelle
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