Hypothetically Speaking . . .

. . . . . . . . Because Humor Matters

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

Birthdays, Stumbles and the Military Diet

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Nov• 25•16

The birthday boy and his blue dinosaur.

The birthday boy and his blue dinosaur.

So, as you all learned from the incessant news coverage on CNN and the various SNL skits over the past few weeks, I recently had a birthday—yes, another one. At this point, I’m starting to believe that once you reach a certain age, your birthday just comes around whenever it wants to as opposed to just showing up once a year. This year mine rolled around at least three times against my will. I even filed a restraining order and a cease and desist letter, but like a student loan debt collector, my birthday somehow still found me.

My new age had barely settled in when I began reaping the benefits of being a whole year older. It was great to be able to check the box marked “I’ve stopped counting” on all applications. And of course McDonald’s offered me coffee at the discounted rate for seniors, but it was really great to see a movie for $3 less after showing my ID, and it is even better to have two people assist me on and off the treadmill at the gym each day. People are truly concerned about making sure I don’t overexert myself, which is the exact reason I avoid going to the gym in the first place.

The most surprising thing about my being a year older was the spike in responses my profiles received on Match.com, Oldies-But-Goodies.net and Counting-Down-The-Days.org. Apparently, my profile was chosen to represent the “older gentlemen” category, so it was the first time I had 48 year olds reaching out to me because they looked forward to the wisdom and guidance I could provide. It was thrilling to have so much in common with my potential suitors such as having the same medical alert bracelets, matching wheelchairs, and a healthy appreciation for the smell of Ben Gay. A few people even offered to pay for me to get autographs when I link up with my former classmates Betty White and Hugh Hefner at the next high school reunion.

For several weeks leading up to my birthday people asked what I was going to do to celebrate. Would I have my face carved into Mount Rushmore with the presidents? Would I allow Beyoncé’ and Britney Spears to perform backup at one of my concert events? Or, more realistically, would I finally make the time to offer those fitness training sessions to The Rock, Vin Diesel, and Tom Cruise so that they could bulk up before their next movies? Apparently they have dreams of one day having my physique. I mean, can you blame them?

Perhaps I did look a bit more in shape and svelte than usual around my birthday because I allowed one of my clearly deranged co-workers to talk me into going on the three-day Military Diet the week before I officially became elderly. For those three days, you’re essentially allowed to drink a glass of water and eat 1 peanut for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. Yes, you read that correctly. I literally had to take one peanut and split it three ways to make it last throughout the whole day.

Military Diet meal plan

Military Diet meal plan

I’m not usually a dieter because I believe in the healing power of chicken nuggets. However, since my doctors have been telling me for years that I’m just one French fry away from being obese, I got excited at the idea that I could possibly lose ten pounds in just three days. I thought that if I stuck to the diet, I’d be able to finally squeeze back into those extra-large t-shirts that I adored in my twenties without first slathering myself down with a mixture of Crisco and lard. Oh, those were the days.

Naturally, I weighed myself on the first day. The number was so offensive that I immediately hopped off the scale and tossed it across the room and off the balcony. Unfortunately, it ricocheted off a tree branch and hit someone’s little boy in the head. Don’t worry, though. The kid was bothering some squirrels that were simply minding their own business, so he totally deserved the encounter with the scale.

With dreams of being a new and improved me for my 98th birthday, I set my resolve to endure the three days of starvation. On day one I heard voices and went through the five stages of grief and abandonment. On day two, one of my shrinks reminded me that I was doing this to myself just before she blocked my number and demanded that we both see other people. On day three I rolled around on the floor with hunger pangs and tried to eat one of my neighbor’s goldfish before I finally caved and had four Milk Duds after dinner. I had truly reached a new low.

The day after the diet was over, I practically ran to the scale to see what I had accomplished. Much to my shock and dismay, instead of losing ten pounds, I only lost three. I blame those four Milk Duds for getting me so off track! Disappointed and depressed, I had a cheesesteak for breakfast. By the next day, my replacement scale showed that I had gained all the weight back plus two extra pounds. In a rage, I flung the new scale off the balcony, too. This time the scale only slightly grazed the arm of someone’s grandma. Scared for her life, she ran for cover. However, her family later thanked me because they hadn’t seen her move that fast in years.

A few days before my birthday arrived, I decided that I would go to Niagara Falls so that I could finally scratch that off my bucket list. It was then that several of my friends informed me of how cold and miserable it would be up there this time of year. I was also reminded of my clumsy nature and that I would probably reach down to pet a friendly dog, trip over someone else’s shoelaces, and tumble right over the falls. After all, since it had been years since someone had accidentally gone over the railing, fate would probably recognize that I was in the area and choose me to balance out the numbers.

To avoid the run in with the dog and the shoelaces, I gassed up the car and drove to Norfolk, Virginia instead. If it was in fact my turn to stumble into Niagara Falls, fate was going to have to put in some extra effort to make that happen. My two additional pounds and I met up with some friends in Norfolk where I ate a lot, slept a lot and played Topgolf for the first time after being convinced that it was nothing like real golf and that I wouldn’t tumble off the third-floor platform if I somehow swung too hard, missed the ball, and was pushed forward by a gust of wind.

Look at that technique. Tiger Woods would be proud.

Look at that technique. Tiger Woods would be proud.

Much to my surprise, and possibly because I may be kind of related to Tiger Woods, I came in second place during the first game and I actually won the second game. Not to brag, but I was forty points ahead of my closest competitor. I mean, sometimes when you’re gifted, the numbers just speak for themselves. My win probably did have something to do with the scoring holes being large enough to be a parking lot, but I was just happy to be able to call my Dad and tell him that I had finally found a sport that I was partially good at. He was so proud.

I won!  I won!  I WON!!!!!  First of all I would like to thank....

I won! I won! I WON!!!!! First of all I would like to thank….

Oh, and since I know what you’re thinking, because I’m responsible, like last year, I absolutely did not have drinks of any kind for this birthday. There were absolutely no cocktails, shots, wine, or beer of any kind. Did I mention no shots?

Don't judge me.  It is just water!!!

Don’t judge me. It is just water!!!

All in all, I have to say that being 98 isn’t so bad. For one, whenever I share how old I am with people, all of the compliments I receive for looking so good for my age is empowering. Also, when I explain that I have had very little work done so far, it is as if I’m giving people the gift of hope that they too can look as good as I do when they reach their nineties. Well, nothing is for certain, but one can dream, can’t they? Yes, one can dream.

Happy Holidays!!!!

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

Burritos In Bikinis

Written By: Michael Rochelle - May• 30•16

It Took Me Years To Squeeze Into This

It Took Me Years To Squeeze Into This

So, I woke up this morning and it was a like a million gazillion degrees outside. I’m not exactly sure how that happened. Of course, I’m being just a tad bit extreme. I mean, it’s not exactly a gazillion degrees outside. According to my weather app, it’s only 88 degrees, but that’s close enough. I’m expecting the devil to show up at any moment and then quickly retreat to a place that has AC. At least that’s what I would do.

Although at first I thought global warming was just a myth to distract us from noticing the most recent antics of Chris Brown or Miley Cyrus, I’m now a believer because I’m quite certain that it was winter when I went to sleep. While I remember wearing a jacket and long johns just a few days ago, everyone else seems to be in bikinis and high heels—even the men. All of this seemed to happen without any form of notice via Skype or messenger pigeon. I am clearly out of the loop.

Now, if I can have just one moment of honesty, I’m not exactly happy about the swift change in the weather because I’m not exactly two-piece ready. Matter of fact, if I went to the beach right now, I would probably wear my extra-large Snuggie because it would be the only thing in my closet that would kind of sort of fit over all the cinnamon pecan rolls I developed while hibernating and eating bagels throughout the winter. It’s not exactly my fault though. I was born this way. My stomach expands a little every time I see food. I blame several of my biological fathers for this.

All I have in this world is a Snuggie and a smile.

All I have in this world is a Snuggie and a smile.

In any case, when I woke up and saw my neighbors frying eggs and boiling grits on the sidewalk, I decided to get out there and get some exercise. Instead of doing jumping jacks down the block, I opted to take my bicycle out of hiatus and ride around the neighborhood. My first mistake was thinking that at this age I could just go from not riding a bike for six months to just hoping on one without stretching and a couple rounds of prayer first. Boy was I wrong.

First of all, I’m not exactly sure what my bicycle seat has against my butt, but they are certainly not friends at this time, and I don’t believe there is any possibility of reconciliation in the foreseeable future. I expect that I’ll be walking funny for the next few weeks due to the irreconcilable differences. If my bicycle seat were running for president, I would not expect my butt to show up at the poles. The only positive thing is that, with the DC Metro shutdowns over the next few months, at least folks could use the gap in my stance as a tunnel to get to work. I believe there’s room for at least four lanes of traffic each way.

Second, as I began riding, I realized that my knees don’t function the way they once did. Actually, this isn’t exactly a revelation. I learned this the last time I tried to drop it like it was hot at the club and I had to quickly grab onto a table so that I could lower it like it was lukewarm. Needless to say, as I peddled up the first hill, I cried. My knees cried. We all cried together.

Because I know my limitations, instead of riding in the street and dodging cars, I chose to ride on the sidewalk for as long as I could. About five minutes into the ride, I found myself pausing to use Yelp to locate the nearest Wendy’s. All of that riding left me in the mood for a couple junior bacon cheeseburgers. Because my knock-off version of a Fitbit registered that I had burned off 5 calories since I left the house, I figured that I deserved the burgers.

As it turned out, Taco Bell was several blocks closer than Wendy’s, so I settled for two burritos and a soda instead. By then, I had burned 7 calories, so I had made more than enough room for the food. What I neglected to realize was the fact that I was about to try to ride a bicycle on a full stomach. And the full stomach itself wasn’t exactly as bad as what it was that made my stomach full. Let me explain.

For those of you who don’t exactly get it yet, think about what a burrito can do to you when you’re just sitting stationary in the comfort of your office. Now take that same burrito in your stomach and roll it around in there a bit. Bounce it a few times. Make it go up some hills, and down some hills. Make that burrito hit a few bumps. Let the burrito make a few quick stops due to drivers not caring that you were trying to make a mad dash home as they failed to stop for you in the crosswalk simply because they had the green light.

Just as I was about to let the burritos win by TKO, I reached an empty parking lot of an office complex, which was perfect because I was about to leave the bicycle right there on the sidewalk and call an Uber. As I rode around the parking lot to let the burritos settle, I saw a few no-trespassing signs, but I took an internal vote and then decided that the signs were optional. I mean, what company cares about some random burrito-filled guy riding a bicycle through their parking lot and accidentally hitting the one or two parked cars that just seemed to pop up out of nowhere? Don’t worry, each time I hit one of them and scratched off a little paint, I left a note that read, “I’m sorry. Sincerely, Barack.”

About five minutes after I arrived, two security guards came out of one of the buildings and headed in my direction. I thought they were going to arrest me. Maybe the no-trespassing signs hadn’t been optional after all. At first I got a bit nervous, but then I thought about the last time I got arrested; it wasn’t so bad. They had cable and everything. And I didn’t even have to cook. I made a few friends. Got a few unwanted tattoos. You know, the usual stuff one does when they get arrested. I’m sure most of my readers are familiar with that.

Once the guards determined that I was not a threat, they allowed me to continue crashing into the parked cars as long as I gave them time to move their own vehicles to an area where I promised not to ride. They made me sign an affidavit and everything. I waved goodbye and rode happily along until I stumbled across something that made me stop in my tracks. Right there before my eyes was something I couldn’t exactly comprehend because I couldn’t think of a reason for it to be there.

Here is exhibit A:

What the crap!?!?!?!

What the crap!?!?!?!

After riding up on this thing that I have lovingly called a machete case, I immediately looked up into the trees to see if I could spot Rambo, or the U.S. Army, or O. J. for any insight as to why such an item would be there at the edge of a corporate office parking lot. I saw nothing. I scanned the perimeter a second time and still saw nothing outside of the norm. If I were ever called in as an eye witness, the only thing I would be able to describe would be leaves and brick buildings.

It was around about that time that my sense of self-preservation kicked in. After all, I am from Baltimore. One of the first lessons I learned as a toddler, before learning numbers and ABCs, was to run if you saw other people running and to ask questions later. My mother taught me to stay with the herd or else! I remember her sitting me in front of the TV for hours watching what happened to baby gazelles who didn’t keep up with their mothers when the lions and tigers showed up. It scarred me for life, but I never forgot that lesson. You should see me when I stumble across people running around a track. Even if I’m in a three-piece suit, I just start running as if a tiger will show up at any minute. Thanks, Mom. #LifeLessons.

Right about then, the knees that had been crying a few moments before began screaming instead. They gave me an ultimatum: either I leave the scene at that very moment or they were going to detach themselves and head home alone. I couldn’t argue with them. They threatened to call my mom. I took my 68-year-old legs and got to moving as quickly as I could. Those knees are the only reason I’m here to tell the story.

All of that noted, I sincerely hoped to be more prepared for bikini season. After all, I started preparing for this season 10 years ago when I decided that 2016 would be the year that I would go to the beach without wearing three sets of Spanx under my trunks. It’s ok, though. All is certainly not lost. I just found a website that will show me how to lose 50 pounds in 3 days. Wow!!!! If I lost 50 pounds every three days for the next 4 months, maybe I’d be able to squeeze into a large Snuggie by my birthday in October. Wish me luck. Oh crap!!! Wendy’s is having a sale on cheeseburgers. I’ll be back!!!

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

Holidays and Birthdays

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Dec• 29•15

Christmas and Chill

Christmas and Chill

So, we’re in the midst of the holiday season and I’m floored by the fact that another year has flown by so swiftly. Weren’t we just celebrating the end of 2014? Geez. I haven’t even begun any of my 2015 New Year’s resolutions yet. Now I’m forced to squeeze in losing 20 pounds, going to Disneyland, and saving the world within the next couple days. Well, I’m not giving up just yet. My mother always said that all things are possible and I could be anything I wanted to be: a doctor, a lawyer, or a stripper. Whatever my heart so desired.

In any case, I hope everyone has been enjoying the holidays so far. Here in Maryland the temperature has been unseasonably warm. Because we’ve had a few days that have been above 70 degrees, my neighbors can attest to my recent indulgence in outdoor activities that I thought I wouldn’t do again until the spring of next year such as riding my bicycle, getting tired and then walking my bicycle, and sunbathing in a neon green Speedo on the front lawn of my apartment building.

While I will admit that I haven’t exactly been to the gym as often as I’d hoped this year, I have to say that I think it was a bit extreme for my neighbors to have had me forcibly removed from the premises. Allegedly, I was scarring the children, and all of the dogs refused to go out for their regularly scheduled walks as long as I was out there tanning. Personally, I feel a little bit slighted. I’m sure they wouldn’t have taken such harsh measures if I were Channing Tatum or Joe Manganiello. In any case, I’ve decided to do two squats and one bicep curl a day moving forward to see how things turn out next year. Maybe instead of having me tossed off the lawn, they’ll offer to put me on the cover of the “Middle-Aged Men of Gaithersburg: Battle of the Dad Bods” annual calendar.

For the first time in a long while, I spent Christmas Day with family. In my mind I thought the evening would be reminiscent of those videos where they put 8 bums in a ring and throw a chicken wing in the center. I expected there to be hair pulling, wig tossing, bottle throwing, name calling, and turkey chucking. Now don’t get me wrong, there were all of those things, but it went way better than I could have imagined. No one fought to their death, which was an excellent change of pace. There were actual hugs instead of headlocks. I have to say that I rather enjoyed it.

In other celebratory news, as I’m sure you all may know because you read it in the tabloids, I had a birthday a few weeks ago. Not one of the majors, but still a considerable one. I mean, I didn’t exactly turn 50 or anything, but I’ve had so many birthdays by now that you could pretty much consider me a pro. Let’s just say I turned one of those ages where, when you say it, people look at you as if they don’t expect you to live through the end of your next sentence. Matter of fact, I’m like two people away from holding the Guinness Book of World Records’ title for being the oldest person alive. But I digress.

For my big day, I envisioned having E! on the premises to film the shenanigans so that they could air it as a special right after Keeping up with the Kardashians. I planned to invite everyone. Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Kim and Kanye. Bert and Ernie. It would have been great. However, I ran into a slight snag when I called E!. They pretended as if they didn’t know me. It was as though they had never heard of my little blog that could. At first I was offended, but then I realized, at this age, who has time to cry over spilled milk or unknown blogs. I mean, I may only have a few good days left.

After the E! receptionist hung up on me (twice), and threatened to send the police if I called again, I opted to do the next best thing: spend my birthday with a few friends and co-workers. Because I consider myself to be a beacon of responsibility and a shining example for today’s youth, I am proud to say that there absolutely was no alcohol involved.

Me Not Having A Drink

I actually fought peer pressure and did not get excited when drinks were presented to me.

Nope, I will not drink these.

And even though I held a few drinks in my hand just to look cool in a few pictures, I did not have a single drink.

Just kidding.  Not Drinking

If you look really closely, you can see that the drink is actually going down my shirt.  Not in my mouth!!!!

And although I was surrounded by people who were having drinks in my honor, I absolutely didn’t get drunk.

Nope. Not Drunk!!!!

Umm, these pictures better not show up on the internet. I’m warning you.


So imagine my complete and utter shock when I woke up on a strange couch the following day. My head pounded as my eyes adjusted to the light. I tried to make out the weird faces in the room. After a bit of moaning, I learned that I hadn’t been abducted by aliens, and those things that kept moving before my eyes and calling my name were actually my friends. Somehow, I had slept through the remainder of my birthday night and right on through until 12 noon the following day. My friends had reached their caregiving limits and were sending me out to face the world one year older and alone.

I was dropped off at the nearest DC Metro station where I perused my phone to learn that I had drunk texted several co-workers, teachers, and my boss. Fortunately, I didn’t type anything too out of the way, but I did somehow extend out several marriage proposals that were all respectfully declined. I didn’t take it too personally, though. I mean, maybe my boss just isn’t ready for that level of commitment, and that is completely understandable since she’s already married with eight children. In the aftermath, I reached out to Mark Zuckerberg and asked him to immediately create an app that would serve as a breathalyzer on my phone so that I’d never be able to send text messages while under the influence of non-alcoholic Diet Coke ever again.

As I waited for the train, a woman in a fur coat and boots sat beside me and asked for the time. She had a cellphone in her hand so I wondered why she couldn’t have checked that on her own. I figured that either I was about to be robbed, or she had Verizon phone service, which charges an additional $42 a month to allow people to check the date and time. Fortunately for me, it was the latter.

After I secured my phone and wallet, the lady sat down beside me and struck up a conversation. This has never happened to me on public transportation before. In the past, there were times when all I wanted in life was the person next to me to ensure me that I was on the right train, that I was heading in the right direction, and that I’d make it to my destination safely. However, in most cases, my attempts to engage my seatmate in any form of dialogue were met with an eye roll, some choice words, or creative hand gestures that certainly wouldn’t have made their grandmothers proud. But this woman was different.

My head continued to pound from the night before as she asked if she could smoke. When I mentioned that I didn’t think it was the best idea since there were no less than 33 signs posted advising against it, she agreed. It was then that she told me that she had just gotten out of jail, and it wouldn’t be in her best interest to be arrested for smoking on a Saturday because she wouldn’t be released until Monday at the earliest. I’m from Baltimore, so I admired the fact that she knew the prison system like the back of her hand. If that isn’t a marketable skill, I don’t know what is.

When the train arrived, the felon walked past 5 completely empty rows of seats to sit directly in the spot next to me. We talked about everything, from men in skinny jeans to whether it was a good idea to try to return a cellphone that was purchased (possibly stolen) from Target to a Walmart because there was no receipt. I chose my words carefully because I knew that anything I stated could and would be used against me in a court of law at a future date. When she made it to her stop, we exchanged numbers, so I expected to get a call later that day requesting bail money. Fortunately, that call didn’t come until a few days, which gave me time to scramble together a few dollars to put on her books.

Like any normal person would do, after a few weeks, I opted to hire some security and end the relationship. I mean, the 4 AM phone calls from the various correctional facilities got to be a tad bit disturbing to me and my fish. However, in hindsight, I wished I had have asked more questions. How else will I ever learn if the big house is anything like Orange is the New Black? Who will teach me to turn a toothbrush into a shank when the time arises? More importantly, how will I ever learn to turn a battery into a lighter so that I can heat up a pack of ramen noodles in my time of need? Oh well. Maybe I’ll just have to include those things in my resolutions for 2016.

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

Real Men Wear Tiaras

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Oct• 25•14

I just couldn't decide.

I just couldn’t decide.

As I’m sure all of you know, I had a birthday recently. It was one of those major birthdays. One of the ones that makes you want to get all of your affairs in order, like wills and powers of attorney. No lie, I had to make at least eighteen calls to ensure that someone would be willing to take over the ownership and feeding of my fish. Shout out to Reverend Jenkins for taking on the task. I know that I don’t go to your church or live in your state, but I appreciate you offering to study the flow charts and spreadsheets I created so that you’d know each of my fish by name and be familiar with their histories and all their hopes and dreams.

For me, the worst part about my birthday was having to figure out which headgear to wear to celebrate. Would I wear a crown to symbolize victory and honor? Would I wear a tiara in support of women’s equality and strength? Would I wear both? I consulted with Duchess Kate Middleton regarding this conundrum, but she said she’d never heard of a Michael Rochelle, Duke of Maryland, so she couldn’t say one way or the other. I swear, The Royals can be so self-centered.

Elbow, Elbow, Wrist, Wrist

Elbow, Elbow, Wrist, Wrist

Well, as you can see, I opted to wear both as a sign of humility, but I alternated throughout the day. You should have seen some of the looks I got from other passengers while riding the DC Metro. Instead of letting their stares get to me, I simply waived to all my subjects, remembering that it was elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist and not wrist, wrist, elbow, groin as I once believed. The day went well until I later had to refuse to enter a Target until someone rolled out the red carpet for me. As it turns out, they’d recently used the carpet for Beyoncé, and she decided to take it with her when she left. It turned out to be ok, though. I simply had the manager carry me around the store instead. How dare they think that I would walk on a bare floor on my birthday! Hmph!!!

So, before you find out my age from the tabloids, I’ll go ahead and admit that I turned 35 on October 23rd. Most people seem to think that 35 isn’t that old—unless they’re younger, of course. Eighteen year olds get this look on their face like they’re surprised I’m still alive or like I should be taken out back and put out of my misery. For that exact reason, I stopped by a senior citizen home and went from room to room sharing my age. To them, I’m still a baby, which is exactly why I immediately put on a diaper and stated slinging peas around the room.

Giving Pharrell A Run For His Money

Giving Pharrell A Run For His Money

On the surface, 35 may not seem so bad, but when you put it in perspective, it gets a little sketchy. If I said, “I’ve been to jail 35 times,” or “I’ve gained 35 pounds in my neck,” or “Hey, Mom, I just stole 35 hams,” people wouldn’t dismiss that number so easily. However, I have to admit that turning 35 has its perks. The walking cane that some say I’ll need soon will really come in handy to hit people with whenever they say that I’ll need a cane soon. More importantly, being 35 puts me that much closer to getting that modeling contract for Geritol.

After I finished up at Target, I headed over to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license. Of course, I did all I could to make sure my picture was something that models would look at in awe. First I wore my best shirt and my lucky boxers. Then, I took a portable wind machine out of my book bag and asked the lady who would be taking my picture to adjust the lighting in the office. I need to be photographed in natural light and from my good side. All reasonable requests, I thought.

The first picture was horrid.

When I use the term “horrid,” I mean that both the photographer and I threw up in our mouths a little bit after seeing it. I begged to take a second picture. The clerk refused. However, when I pulled out three crisp one-dollar bills from my wallet, her tone changed quicker than a stop light. The second picture was just as terrible. It looked as if I had four chins. The third photo . . . well, let’s not even talk about that one. It was just inhumane. Like I’d been discovered during the last moon landing.

My New License Photo

My New License Photo

Fortunately, I was allowed to take a fourth one, which ended up looking exactly like the first one. I asked for another camera, another lens, and another photographer, but the lady informed me that there was nothing wrong with the equipment. “It’s your face,” she said. “Not much I can do. It can’t be helped.” Because she was the barrier between me and my ability to drive, I opted not to throw my crown at her and sentence her to the dungeon for all eternity. But, if we ever cross paths again, she may not be so lucky.

Well, now that I’m so advanced in years, I’d be remiss to not share some of the things I’ve learned along the way. So, here we go:

  • No matter how cool you think you are or how flexible you were back in the 90s, don’t challenge a twenty year old to a rap battle or a dance-off in the middle of the break room at your place of employment. It’s just not worth explaining to a team of doctors and nurses that you threw your back out trying to twerk across the counter. And, by all means, don’t even think about filing an insurance claim if you do decide to drop it like it’s hot on the copier machine. I’m not speaking from personal experience, but the last time I did that, Cigna responded with a simple, “Denied because you’re dumb.”
  • Whether you’re a man or a woman, Spanx are your friend. I’d advise you invest in some Spanx for your chin ASAP.
  • Regardless of how nicely they jazz up the packaging, fat free and sugar free items taste like death. Save yourself the heartache and the hassle and make sure that everything you buy reads “twice the fat.” If that’s not possible, feel free to add your own Lard or Crisco.
  • There is no shame in having your shrink on speed dial and listing him or her as your emergency contact on official forms.
  • Avoid scales at all cost. Nothing good can come from knowing your weight. The last time I got on a scale, there were so many digits on the display that I thought it was my social security number.
  • Ending a conversation with a simple “shut it down,” is incredibly empowering and worked wonders when I disagreed with my manager during my last performance evaluation. Extra points if you throw in some hand gestures and bang your fist on their desk when you deliver the message. Which reminds me, I’m newly on the job market and may need a few of you to serve as references for my future endeavors. Thanks in advance.
  • Being middle-aged gives you the right to stand true to your convictions, no matter how wrong they are—even if there is scientific evidence to prove otherwise. So, yes, my middle-aged friends, this gives you the right to walk into a McDonald’s and demand a crab cake with a side of lobster tails. If it makes you happy, go for it.

Real Men Wear Tiaras

Real Men Wear Tiaras

All things considered, the only downside I see for my being 35 is the level of disappointment some people will feel when they expect me to act my age and be responsible and I fall short of those expectations. I will still roll around on the floor and cry for my mommy when the jeans I want from Kohl’s are just a bit more than I’m willing to pay. I will continue using my “Sponge Bob” back pack to carry my laptop until I’m well into my fifties. But most of all, I’m going to keep smiling, laughing and remembering to live each day to the fullest. And regardless of your age, my dear readers, I advise you do the same. If anyone has a problem with it, use your cane to teach them a thing or two!!!

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

And The Oscar Went To…

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Apr• 28•14

Michael's Oscar

Michael’s Oscar

It is with deep sadness and regret that I inform you that, even though my blog was nominated in six of the major categories for the 2014 Oscars, including best supporting fish in a documentary, my lack of posts since November put me in an inactive category, so the academy gave all the trophies to Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, and Lupita Nyong’o—whoever they are. Honestly, I didn’t exactly take the news well. In fact, I may have accidentally thrown a temper tantrum and flipped off Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep before hurling my red wine at George Clooney and his new fiancée. Let’s just say it wasn’t my best moment.

Maybe they didn’t exactly deserve that treatment, and I should probably think about apologizing at some point, but I’m going to give myself a few months to pout about it first. However, I will not let my spirit be broken. Like that song from “Frozen” says, “Let It Go.” Actually, that’s going to be my motto for the remainder of 2014. As a matter of fact, when my next electric bill arrives, I’m going to just “Let It Go”… right in the trash. A lack of electricity never bothered me anyway.

Though I didn’t win an Oscar this year—AGAIN—all is not lost. At the end of the night, I was escorted away with walked away with a “World’s Greatest Superstar” trophy that I won (purchased) because I’m so awesome—kind of. I can almost certainly guarantee you that neither Jennifer Lawrence nor Sandra Bullock has one of these. Also, as awesome as “Gravity” and “American Hustle” were, neither of them can say that they write for this blog. That honor, my friends, is all mine, and I’m glad to be back in the driver’s seat. That noted, without further ado, let’s begin.

So, you’re probably wondering where I’ve been and why there have been no new blog posts in months. Well, contrary to what was recently printed in the tabloids, I did not fall off the face of the earth. No, I didn’t run away to France with my fish and an iPod. And, no, I didn’t win the current season of “Naked and Afraid” on the Discovery channel. In fact, on the first day of taping, after taking off just one sock, I was voted off the island for fear that viewers would boycott and file lawsuits for having to endure being exposed to my right foot in high definition every week. Unfortunately, due to the lawsuit I’ve filed against the network, I can’t go into greater detail about this incident, but just know that my foot and I are highly offended.

Though I can’t say that I have a great reason for being away so long, I can say that I used the time to knock a few things off my bucket list. First of all, during my hiatus I finally watched the first three episodes of “Scandal,” which leaves me only forty-five episodes behind when the show comes up in conversation. The only problem I have with watching Scandal is that you then start looking at everyone like they have an ulterior motive: the mailman, the paperboy, the cashier at Target, your dad. I’ve really got to stop telling people, “It’s handled.” Especially when they’re just asking me what time it is.

The most significant thing I’ve done over the past few months was attend my brother’s wedding in Phoenix, AZ. Before you ask, no, I wasn’t in the wedding. Although he vehemently denies it, it is my belief that my brother didn’t want the competition of having someone so handsome in the ceremony taking all the attention off him. Honestly, I understood where he was coming from because that was the same reason that I wasn’t invited to Brad Pitt’s and Channing Tatum’s weddings, but it’s their loss.

Anyway, because I’d already flown halfway across the country, I used the opportunity to go to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose—all in the course of one week. First of all, I didn’t even know that regular people like me were allowed to travel and go to places like Vegas and LA. I thought excursions like that were saved for important people like Alec Baldwin or Will Smith. However, after applying for a passport and receiving a security clearance to cross state lines, I was on my way. Who knew?

Although we were in the midst of a snow storm on the East Coast, in Phoenix it was very warm. And dry. And dusty. The kind of place where you’d expect your mother to stumble drunkenly out of a saloon with a pistol and tell you to “Stick ‘em up, partner!” Despite the fact that I thought I would have to fight my brother for his refusal to turn on the AC because “It was ONLY 80 degrees,” I had a great time—especially when I saw that they had a Starbucks. And a mall. And a grocery store.

The Wild Wild West.

The Wild Wild West.

After the wedding, we headed to Vegas. Since I was a little boy, I’ve always dreamt of going to Vegas. While other kids pretended they were on Sesame Street with Bert and Ernie, I had dreams of hitting it big on the slot machines. I pictured myself winning some type of game where I’d receive so many chips that I’d just throw them up in the air and let them rain down on all the other players. Now that’s what I call a great time! Let’s not forget that Vegas is known as Sin City and when you arrive they make you sign an affidavit stating that you agree that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I knew that rule well. Even at age three.

Sin City

Sin City

Well, what I can say is that, if there was any sinning going on, I must have slept right through it. I was in bed by 10 PM every single night. From what I hear, that’s the time that the fun is just starting. I believe this was proven the morning after the first night there when I ran into a group of grandmas stumbling back to their rooms at 8:30 AM. One was missing her skirt and the other had a fresh tattoo of tiger prints going up her thigh—then again, those could have been age spots. I’m not exactly sure.

I've been drinkin'.  I've been drinkin'.

I’ve been drinkin’. I’ve been drinkin’.

I think what really did me in each night were all the buffets. If you happen to see any footage of me on YouTube stripping off my clothes and crawling back to my room, it wasn’t because I was drunk and sinning; it was because I had one too many crab legs and needed to loosen my clothing to make room for all that I had ingested. And although I thought that I would spend tons of money on slot machines, I actually only spent a dollar gambling. There was just so much to do and see. Instead of losing my house and my mother on a game of craps–AGAIN, I enjoyed all the lights and attractions, such as The Big Apple Coaster at New York-New York Hotel & Casino and the indoor amusement park at Circus Circus.

Let's Get The Party Started

Let’s Get The Party Started

Because my brother, his new wife and I are big nerds, we soon left the bright lights of Vegas to go see the Hoover Damn. About an hour into the visit, my sister-in-law’s eyes widened as she pointed to something on my shirt. Before I could register what was happening, she and my brother were running in the opposite direction. It was clear that I was going to die. Insects, spiders, and all those sort of things love me. Even though there were thousands of people present, I would be the one person to somehow end up with a scorpion on his shoulder. It was later revealed that what I thought was a scorpion was really just a stink bug. Both are equally dangerous in my opinion.

What's more beautiful, me or the scenery?  LOL

What’s more beautiful, me or the scenery? LOL

When I ended up not dying, we went to Los Angeles. If you know anything about me, then you know where my first stop was: Starbucks! After getting my caffeine fix and threatening to sue the manager because the Starbucks on the West Coast had different pastries than we had in the DC area, I convinced my brother and his wife to go to the Madame Tussauds celebrity wax museum so that I could rub elbows and hobnob with the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Madonna—you know, all people who have used my blog as inspiration for their own careers.

All The Single Ladies!!!

All The Single Ladies!!!

Well, blog readers, I have to say that what you’ve heard about celebrities is true. They are kind of snobby. No matter how many questions I asked, none of them bothered to respond. Although I expected that sort of treatment from Michael Jackson, I expected more from Jennifer Lopez. After all, she’s just “Jenny from the Block.” Brad and Angelina were no better, but I didn’t really expect them to be. After all, I’m too old for them to adopt, so what interest would they have in engaging in conversation with me?

Junk In The Trunk

Junk In The Trunk

Honestly, the highlight of my Madame Tussauds experience was having the opportunity to take a picture with President Obama. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, we are both equally powerful men, but even I have to have someone to look up to. I mean, maybe if I didn’t aspire to be a writer I would have wanted to be president instead. Hmm. In any case, hopefully, one day I’ll meet the real president because I will have done something noteworthy like save a goldfish from a burning building, or maybe he’ll call a meeting with me after he’s read one of my posts. I guess the wax version will just have to do for now. Although he didn’t say much, he did allow me to use his phone and put my feet up on his desk, which I’m sure he doesn’t allow anybody else to do—except for Olivia Pope, maybe.

What do you mean "Scandal" is on hiatus?

What do you mean “Scandal” is on hiatus?

After finishing up at Madame Tussauds, we decided to hit the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Of course, like any normal person, I replaced all the celebrity names with my own. In reality I thought the Walk of Fame would be more awesome. Don’t get me wrong, seeing the stars on the strip was amazing, but it was obvious that people just walk all over them, and I’m quite sure that some of the stars have been peed on. At one point I dropped my danish on Britney Spears, but I opted not to use the five-second rule in that instance. That’s how I caught osteoporosis and high cholesterol last time.

One day this will be mine.

One day this will be mine.

After making a quick stop at the beach in Malibu, we drove up to San Jose where one of my former supervisors live. She and her family then took me to San Francisco for the evening. Over the course of a few hours, I went to Pier 39, saw the Golden Gate Bridge from a distance, and rode down Lombard Street, which is one of the world’s most crooked streets. After the ride down that block and several other steep streets in the area, I not only lost my desire to ride roller coasters for a while, I also lost my dinner.

Well, in closing, my friends, what I’ve learned from all the traveling is that the world is so much bigger than my living room, and there are so many other things out there to see besides what’s on Netflix. In fact, before I’d even gotten back home, I was searching the Expedia website looking at travel rates so that I could plan my next trip back to Vegas and Los Angeles. Unfortunately, if I’m going to travel more, I’m going to have to come up with some creative ways to make money. Like my brother once said, “I’m going to have to do some strange thangs for change.” That noted, if you should happen to see me under a bridge or on a street corner holding up a sign, throw me a quarter or two. I’ve got places to go and more wax celebrities to see!!!

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

Lions, Ferrets and Cheeks on a Treadmill

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Nov• 11•13

My running shoes in case I ever decide to use them.

My running shoes in case I ever decide to use them.

So, I was walking through the park the other day, trying to clear my mind, when the oddest idea came to me. For some reason, I wanted to run. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was the music I was listening to. Or, maybe it was the offer I’d received to serve as the before model for several of the participants on the next season of “The Biggest Loser” and those “Hip Hop Abs” infomercials. Now that I think about it, that was probably it.

And when I write that I wanted to run, I don’t mean just a regular old run that anybody’s grandma can do. My run was going to be more like that of a gazelle dashing through the forest, running away from an overly flirtatious lion who doesn’t understand that lions and gazelles aren’t a natural fit—even if they’ve negotiated a solid prenup and the lion is holding a boom box blasting Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together.”

I’m not exactly sure why, but I’d somehow gotten it into my head that running was something that I could do. I mean, I see people doing it all the time. Even dogs do it. And I clearly remember being able to run that one time back in the nineties. You’d be amazed at what you can do when you have a lion on your tail—literally.

So, before I could register what was happening, my legs began to quicken their pace, and I was off. Picture me gaining momentum, passing trees and people and pigeons, leaving them all in my Michael dust. So, this is what running is like, I thought. What a rush!!!

My worries and cares all slipped away. No longer was I concerned that I was two months behind on my rent with only $5 to my name, which I planned to use at Starbucks on the way home. No longer was I thinking about homework, or my car note, or the fact that my fish were on strike because they felt that I wasn’t providing them with the quality of life they’d grown accustomed to at PetSmart. I wasn’t focused on any of that.

But then my age kicked in.

Suddenly, I realized that each time my feet hit the ground, the impact was reminiscent of that one time I gave birth during my lunch break at work. Making things even worse, my manager at the time demanded that I not only clean up the mess, but that I also stay late to make up lost time after training my newborn on how to use the copier machine so that she could help with some of the slack. Obviously, this isn’t a good memory for me.

And let’s not even talk about my breathing. Although my mouth was open wide enough to catch two butterflies and a bumble bee, air just wasn’t flowing in and out quickly enough. My lungs began to scream for mercy. The feeling was reminiscent of that one time I gave birth to triplets in the middle of a Connecticut Walmart with no Tylenol because I couldn’t find my debit card and the cashiers were demanding that I pay before using the merchandise.

Although I would have sworn that I’d run five miles, in reality I’d only made it the equivalent of three city blocks. Ok, two city blocks—one and a half for sure. Forty-five minutes later, I was still leaning on a tree, trying to catch my breath, and wondering what it is that makes people like running. I mean, I could see if one of the dancing zombies from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video was chasing you and trying to force you to learn the routine. Or, maybe you’d want to run because your mother-in-law was trying to catch up with you to ask if she could move in with you. But besides those two instances, why would anyone voluntarily run?

As I mentioned, it hurts. Kind of like that one time I gave bir—ah, you get the point. And by the time you’re done running just for the heck of it, you’re too tired to run in case something actually happened that would require you to run. Like what if you’re just finishing an hour-long jog when you stumble across a rogue ferret? Then what? Congratulations, you just became ferret kibble? Or, what if Oprah was throwing cash out of the back of a Mercedes because it was one of her favorite things? See, then you’d miss out because you’d be too tired to try to catch the fives, tens, and twenties as they floated to the ground.

Now that I think back on it, maybe it was the fact that I’ve lost a little bit of weight that made me think I was superhuman and could run a couple hundred miles that day. What I learned is, if I am superhuman, my superpower must be my ability to store fat. As I was running, there were things moving around and jiggling that really shouldn’t have been—like my eyebrows and my ears, for example. At one point, one of my cheeks was jiggling so hard that I thought it would pop off and run to the nearest police station to report me for abuse.

It’s times like those that make me wish we could only exercise the portions of our bodies that need to be improved. I mean, just because you’re chin and stomach are storing up fat for the winter harvest, why do your legs and elbow have to suffer too? When you think about it, it’s really not fair. Why can’t you just put your cheeks on a treadmill while the rest of you catches up on old episodes of “Family Guy” on Netflix?

I write all of this to say that I am firmly against running and I think it should be illegal. The next time I get a chance to vote, if the candidate is a runner, I’m automatically voting against that person because he, she, or it clearly has terrible judgment and should probably be put down. Oh, wait, that’s my cue. The photographer is calling my name. I never dreamed I’d serve as the before model for a 350-pound Asian lady who has already lost the weight. Hmm, at least she and I kind of look-alike. Not like last week when I served as the before model for a German Shepherd. Anyway, wish me luck.

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

Go Shorty, It’s Was My Birthday

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Oct• 25•13

Picture of a birthday card with Michael's photo on it.

Happy Birthday To Me, Happy Birthday To Me

As I sit here, a few days after my sixth time turning twenty-eight, I’m perplexed by several things. First, where has all the time gone? It’s not possible that I was entitled to yet another birthday so soon. I still haven’t quite recovered from the last one. You remember the details, right? Last year I cried a lot, ripped off my shirt, and rolled around the office floor until I’d collected so much hair and lent that I looked like a shih tzu.

I’m not sure what happened this go-round. It’s like I blinked twice and a whole year had passed. What happened to the summer? What happened to March? Better yet, what happened to Miley Cyrus? 2013 is almost over and I still haven’t watched a single episode of “Breaking Bad With The Walking Dead’s Modern Family” yet. There really is no excuse.

Because this birthday kind of snuck up on me, I didn’t plan anything for it. No party. No cake. And no panda bear strip clubs. Not this year. However, I must admit that I did spend the last few months trying to get Congress to make my birthday a national holiday, so it’s highly likely that I’m the reason for the recent government shutdown due to them simply not being able to decide how to best recognize my big day. One group wanted to name a monument after me, while the other group wanted to rename the state of Vermont in my honor. Personally, I would have been fine with either. I’m not hard to please.

But when your birthday falls dead smack in the middle of the week, what can you really do to celebrate it? Instead of gaining cool points, I think you actually lose them for stumbling into the office on a Thursday morning with a hangover because you stayed up too late the night before drinking Coke and watching Netflix. Because I couldn’t take off work that day, the only thing I had planned was to wear clean underwear if I could find some. And if I couldn’t, I would just have to settle for using a little Febreze in all the key places—as usual.

Another concern about this birthday was, when you reach middle-age, at what point is it ok to no longer spend an hour trying to figure out what you’re going to wear each day? When can you just get up and go, even if you have on no bottoms? Should I no longer iron or worry whether my plaid pants match my red, polka dot shirt and green, striped tie? And will my use of “I’m middle-aged” give me some form of credibility at the McDonald’s drive-thru or gain me understanding when I explain to my supervisor that my being middle aged is the reason why I’m late for work. Hmm. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

Although the time has gone by quickly, I can’t say that it has been completely uneventful. Actually, I have an announcement. Are you sitting down? Oh, you are? It’s because you’re driving? Hmm. I’m not sure it’s legal to read and drive? Well, I would hate for you to miss my announcement. Ok, continue on and we’ll just keep that between us.

Well, on October 2nd, I kind of sort of accidentally started a new job in downtown DC. I know what you’re thinking: Michael, didn’t you just start a new job a few months ago? Well, yes I did, but I never considered my stint as a Victoria’s Secret model to be something I would do long-term. Although the pay was good, there are just some things that a middle-aged Michael shouldn’t wear. If there is one thing that I do have, it’s class and dignity and a mother who doesn’t look kindly upon those types of things.

Actually, the new job came unexpectedly. There I was, minding my own business one day when the phone rang. It was a bill collector. I hung up. But the next call was about a job opening just a few blocks away from the White House—and you know how I feel about the White House. And if that wasn’t reason enough for me to do a career change, when the recruiter informed me that they’d give me the opportunity to grow into the role of a janitorial analyst, I just couldn’t pass it up. I mean, if I play my cards right, one day I could clean a toilet that Obama actually peed in! See, real dreams do come true.

While I wait for that cleaning opportunity to come to fruition, I can honestly say that I’m thoroughly enjoying the job so far. Even though I went from a five-minute drive to work to a forty-five-minute ride on the metro—which deserves an entire blog post all to itself—the change has been invigorating. Downtown DC reminds me a lot of that fictional city they called New York on “Sex and the City.” Everyone is so friendly and they address me by name before demanding that I unclog the toilet.

So far, I feel right at home with the new job and I really enjoy the people. Oh, and did I mention that the team decorated my desk for my birthday although I’ve only been there a few weeks? I couldn’t believe it. I have no idea how they knew about my big day. On second thought, maybe they knew because I brought it up like a thousand times, or maybe they noticed the huge flashing billboard I rented right outside the building. Either way, I was thrilled.

Photo of Michael at his desk.

Are my eyes closed on this one, too?

In addition to the wonderful people, I think the best thing about the job is that it came with business cards. I’ve always wanted business cards—and not the ones where you have to scratch someone else’s name off and write in your own. Finally, it’s like I’m a big boy. You know what they say, it’s the business card that makes the man. You should see me standing outside the metro station waving to all the people and handing out cards to anyone willing to accept them. On the other hand, I think my supervisor is probably getting a little tired of me handing her one every time we have a meeting. Next time I’ll just leave some on her desk.

In addition to the business cards, the new organization has even set up a photo shoot for the end of the month so that they can take a professional picture of me to add to the company website. Due to my brief stint modeling for Victoria Secret and because of my wining that one season of “America’s Next Top Model,” I hope that my photos don’t come out too good for someone of my janitorial status. I wouldn’t want to outshine my new co-workers. However, if there is a wind machine at the shoot, all bets are off!!!

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

If You Sprinkle When You Tinkle, Don’t Be Offensive

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Aug• 12•13

Look, It's A Crapper!!!

So, I was speaking to my mother on the phone the other day when I apparently overstepped our mother-son boundaries. This isn’t exactly shocking. When I was growing up, this happened all the time. Basically, anytime I had an opinion other than my mother’s, I was overstepping the boundaries. If I wanted pancakes when she wanted Cheerios, I was overstepping my bounds. If I wanted to wear pants when she wanted me to wear shorts, again, I was overstepping my bounds. And, of course, if I accidentally put out a personal ad on her behalf in the local newspaper, you guessed it, I was overstepping my bounds—even if that ad did end up resulting in her fourth marriage.

I thought what I was telling her was relatively tame in nature, but before I realized what had happened, my mother was using her stern voice and calling me by my government name. First of all, I didn’t even know that she knew my full name. I certainly hadn’t shared it with her. Second of all, with all the recent wiretapping going on, her use of my name aloud meant that the police, the FBI, and worse, the student loan folks, could trace my whereabouts. Because of this, I immediately relocated from my living room to my bedroom just to be safe. I hadn’t cleaned up in a while, so I was sure that no one would find me in there.

As I noted, I’m no stranger to my mother dramatically clutching her pearls and fainting in the middle of a mall or thrift store based on something I’d said or done over the years. According to her, I’ve never had full control over my mouth, so I’ve always said whatever came to my mind regardless of how many times she tazed me as a toddler, put me in the closet, and threatened to withhold dinner. Allegedly, even as a baby I had to have the last word. What can I say? I was born this way.

In any case, her reaction caught me so off guard that I had to ask her what it was that I had said. Tuna? No, it couldn’t be tuna. Strawberries? Possibly, but what was so offensive about them? Before diving into full blown apology mode, I demanded to know for what I was being reprimanded. I know my rights. I’m innocent until proven guilty. Without a hint of humor, my mother responded in a way that made my jaw drop and bounce off the coffee table before landing in one of my potted plants.

Lately I’ve been thinking about getting a puppy. Granted, I don’t have the time, patience, or space for one, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting a little furry friend of my own. Don’t judge me. Maybe it’s because I see so many of my neighbors with dogs. I mean, you can’t take two steps forward without stepping in something that you would have rather avoided, especially when you’re not wearing any shoes.

Anyway, my mother and I were talking about the best way to housebreak a puppy, and of all the words she could have been bothered by, I’d gotten her dander up because I’d used the word pee-pee.

“I didn’t raise you that way,” my mother said.

“What way?” I responded, genuinely confused.

“To talk like that. We don’t say pee-pee.”


At that moment, I wondered if my mother had ever met me—or if she had ever met herself. I mean, we’d practically grown up together. I’m quite sure I’d heard her use the term “pee-pee” a time or two. Even if she didn’t, since when is pee-pee a bad word? Isn’t that the term parents use when trying to potty train their toddlers? Certainly, she didn’t want her 33-year-old son saying “I’ll have to teach my puppy to go potty.” I hadn’t been that confused since that one time I had to pick my mother out of a police lineup for eating grapes at the local Giant. I did end up choosing the wrong woman, but it wasn’t exactly my fault. All mothers look alike.

Respectfully, I asked my mother what term I was supposed to use instead. According to her, she’d raised me to say urinate. OK, between you and me, I don’t think I’ve ever used the word urinate before in my life. I mean, who does she think I am? The Queen of England? “Puppy, I now command you to urinate on the lawn.” There are like a bazillion things wrong with that statement.

Although I’m not a fighter, if I ever heard someone say that their puppy had to urinate, even I would want to take them out back and teach them a thing or two. Who talks like that? According to my mother, we do. After five minutes of back and forth, she decided to compromise and said that I could use “wee-wee” instead. When I asked her what the difference was between the two, she said, “Wee-wee just sounds better.”

I can’t wait until the next time I’m in the locker room at the gym with all the fellas and I excuse myself for a moment so that I can go wee-wee. That will go over real well, I’m sure. The next time we all play basketball or football, I just know I’ll be picked last. Right after Grandma Gertrude and Wheelchair Willy. It will be like high school all over again when all the teachers, bus drivers, and even the janitor were picked to play dodge ball before I was. Hmmm. Memories.

Now before you go thinking that I’m just this horrible son that goes around saying inappropriate stuff to his mother for kicks, I’d like to point out that my mother has certainly said some things to offend me as well. In fact, just last week she told me that I wasn’t her favorite child—even though I’m her only one. And let us not forget that one time when she said she wanted to leave me at the hospital at birth because I looked more like something you’d see delivered on Animal Planet as opposed to something that came out of a person.

In closing, I’d like you all to take a moment to think before you speak as you go about your week. If I could offend my mother by saying “pee-pee” instead of “wee-wee,” who knows how many other people we’re offending throughout the day. Maybe there is a better word for taco. Perhaps there is a more appropriate word for muffin. Just to be safe, you may want to ask my mother before you just go using words all willy-nilly. You can find her contact info on Match.com and under the personal ads section of your local newspaper.

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

And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Moving

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jul• 08•13

Attack Of The Moving Boxes

Attack Of The Moving Boxes

One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that the best way to tackle any situation is to just be a man—or a woman, if that’s your thing—and address the situation head on. That noted, let’s go ahead and address the pink elephant in the room…err, on the blog. In case you were wondering, his name is Jamal. He represents the past few weeks (months) that I haven’t updated the blog. I tried to come up with a good reason for the delay in posts, such as being kidnapped by aliens or going undercover with the FBI, but the only thing I could come up with is that I was probably just sleeping. I know I’m a bad person, and I’m sorry. Now that we’ve acknowledged Jamal, let’s just leave him in the corner, which is exactly where pink elephants who wear blue tutus should be.

Anyway, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the term “punishment.” You know, like when your mother beats your hind parts for going into the cookie jar even though you’re 37 and they’re your cookies because she’s visiting your house. Or, when you get in trouble at work for pulling a no-call-no-show because you were stuck in line for three days waiting for the latest iPhone. I mean, it wasn’t exactly my fault that the line was so long. I’m not sure why my manager was so upset. We only missed four deadlines due to my absence, which were fewer than the number of deadlines we missed last month when I was waiting in line for Justin Bieber and New Kids on the Block concert tickets.

In any case, the reason I’ve been thinking about punishment is because I recently moved. I know what you’re thinking. Michael, you moved AGAIN?!?! Well, yes, but I didn’t exactly make that decision lightly. I spent two whole minutes pacing back and forth in my bathroom before I reached the verdict that it was time to go. And, of course, I also consulted with a jury made up of my fish. After three years of living in the apartment of my dreams, I realized that everyone in the whole world had heard about the recession except the staff at my apartment complex, who had somehow managed to increase my rent by $300 a month since I’d moved in back in 2010.

After a lot of crying and an unsuccessful attempt at flinging myself off someone’s first-floor patio, I decided to pretend that I was a grown-up and chose a cheaper apartment so that I could use the extra $300 a month in a more financially sound way. I mean, maybe I could start putting it toward my car payment. Maybe I could use it to pay down my student loans. Or, maybe I could buy more Starbucks coffee. Not necessarily in that order. Because I know where my priorities are.

Before we delve any further, personally, I’d like to know which one of our forefathers—or foremothers, if that’s what you’re into—came up with the theory that moving from one place to another was a good idea. Whoever it was, they need to be beaten publicly at the center of town square. I mean, why can’t we just stay where we are? Honestly, that’s part of the problem with our society. We’re never satisfied, so we don’t stick with anything. We’re not happy with our apartment, so we move. We’re not happy with our marriage, so we divorce. We’re not happy with our waistline, so we give up cheeseburgers and anything else that contains more than 5 calories. Whatever happened to staying the course?!?! Does anyone respect commitments anymore? Geez.

Well, I hadn’t even finished packing the first box before I began regretting the decision. If I could have just had the gas or electric cut off, that would have been $300 in savings right there that could have been put toward the rent. Once you know what your apartment looks like and where everything is, who needs lights? And if you believe that people should accept you just the way you are, who needs an iron or an electric shaver? But I digress.

To me, there is no greater punishment than moving. Put me behind bars and throw away the key. Sentence me to twenty years of community service. Perhaps force me to drink milk after the sell-by date, but please don’t make me move ever again. Every time I see a box and/or tape, I immediately drop to the floor and start flapping around. Matter of fact, I think I’ve singlehandedly found the solution to the whole prison overcrowding issue. Just sentence the criminals to life as an employee at a moving company. I can guarantee you that they’d be reformed after the first week, if not on the first day.

When I explain to people that I moved from one apartment complex to the one right next to it, they say it wasn’t a “real” move. However, because I had about fifty boxes that I packed and then unpacked myself, by the time I finished with that and did the cleaning of both places, everything hurt, including my dimples. I did hire movers, but since the company only provided two men, the move that was estimated to take four hours actually took a little over seven. If that wasn’t bad enough, one of the movers dropped the glass from my entertainment center, and it shattered into so many pieces that it took the guy fifteen minutes to clean up.

I must admit that the move wasn’t all bad, though. During the process, I somehow lost ten pounds. This was probably due to the fact that all the food was packed away in random boxes, which meant that I’d be unpacking a box labeled “clothes” when I’d randomly find a box of macaroni. As excited as I was about this discovery, that enthusiasm disappeared once I realized that I had not found the boxes containing pots, bowls, or spoons. I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten uncooked macaroni before, but it’s hard and it tastes a lot like…well…uncooked macaroni. I lost four teeth during the process.

Another good thing about the move was that it provided several big-boy moments for me. I found myself at Home Depot on numerous occasions for random odds and ends. You should have seen me using all the wrong words and performing big gestures in effort to explain to the workers whatever gadget it was that I needed. It took a while, but eventually they got it. For the first time in my 33 years of life, I can say that I’m the proud owner of a hacksaw and a screwdriver. Although I still haven’t figured out how to use either of them, I can’t wait to tell my dad. He’s going to be so proud. Maybe he’ll finally claim me as his son after I explain that I have a few manly tools now.

Also, I’ve learned a few things about settling into a new community. The first lesson is that you don’t complain to your new neighbors about how bad your new neighbors are. They really don’t like it. Even if you start each complaint with, “Don’t take this personal, but you and your dog [insert complaint here].” For some reason, they still take it personally. The next thing I’ve learned is that, after you’ve turned in your keys to the old place, the new tenants don’t like it when you stop by your old apartment to offer them decorating tips. Oh, and they don’t like it when you claim that you’ve left something behind, like the big-screen TV hanging on their living room wall.

In closing, I’ve been in the new apartment for a few weeks and I swear that I’m never moving again—at least not until my lease is up next year. It’s just too much of a hassle. Besides, it’s time that someone makes a choice and stands behind it. This is where I live now. This is where I’m staying. No new apartment complex is going to tempt me with their lush grounds, their state of the art workout facilities, or their sparkling pools. Nope. I’m staying right here. Oh wait…my old apartment is listed on Craigslist…and it’s $300 cheaper!!! Back up the U-Haul, Jamal. It’s time to move!!!

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

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