Hypothetically Speaking . . .

Deodorant May Not Be A Necessity, But Starbucks Is

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jun• 20•11

If it hasn’t been said before, let me be the first to say that I’m starting to believe that Starbucks is a cult. Not one of those bad cults where people meet in the middle of the woods and call themselves weird names while chanting, but the kind of cult that you can participate in during daylight hours where no one judges you or thinks you’re likely to drink arsenic Kool-Aid at your leader’s request. Starbucks doesn’t even sell Kool-Aid. Well, now that I think about it, Starbucks has recently started selling smoothies, but I don’t think they’re Kool-Aid based, so we’re probably safe even if they are a cult. I’ve never heard of anyone being poisoned by a fruit smoothie. But just in case, I’m going to stick with the coffee because you just never know. I mean, why risk it? Better safe than sorry.

Cult or not, it is possible that Starbucks will eventually be the death of me. Although I’ve cut back to one drink a week—ok five—I often base my entire schedule around Starbucks being open or not. Even worse, I usually spend my whole day thinking about whether my boss will miss me if, on my way to the restroom, I accidentally go and get a Frappuccino instead. Of course, I’d probably never resort to such desperate measures, but when I worked a part time job for a few weeks last summer, I always stopped at Starbucks on the way in, regardless of whether my stopping would make me late or not. I just figured that my supervisor would understand and would probably be more upset that I didn’t bring him something than be mad that I was 40 minutes late for work over a mocha latte. I mean, hasn’t it been proven that coffee increases productivity? Well, that’s my story, and that’s what I’m sticking to.

I’ve spoken on this before, but due to my love of coffee in general, some have called me an addict. Because of this, and to prove everyone wrong—because they are—I’ve decided to do a little more research on some of the signs of having an addiction. Some experts say that addicts can have extreme mood changes and have random displays of happiness, sadness, anxiety, and/or become easily excited. Hmmm. Well, I do get happy about having Starbucks, sad when I can’t have it, anxious about getting it, and excited about the opportunity to indulge myself. Based on that, it would appear that I’m strung out. However, I cry a lot when it’s time to go to work, get happy and excited when it’s time to leave work, and get anxious for my shift to be over. Yet, I highly doubt that anyone would ever call me a work addict. Well, there goes that theory.

Whether I’m addicted or not, I’m not alone in the coffee struggle. Matter of fact, the Starbucks in my local Barnes and Nobles stays so busy that I typically have to fight for a seat. Just last week a guy asked to sit at my table and threatened me because I told him the seat was taken. Eventually my dad showed up and the guy saw that I wasn’t lying, but for a moment, I thought that he and I were going to reenact the fight scene from Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video. Instead of using a switchblade like the dancers did, I would have had to threaten him with a brownie instead. It may have worked. I admit that my Michael Jackson moves are a little bit rusty, but that old man and I probably could have pulled the routine off splendidly. MJ would have been proud.

Moving on, I don’t know about anybody else, but the weather predictions have been driving me nuts lately. I’ve cancelled my plans for the past two Sundays because the weatherman had called for scattered thunderstorms throughout the day. Despite the predictions, neither day produced so much as a minor sprinkle. I mean, where is all this alleged rain taking place? Egypt? Ironically, although the weatherman can be completely wrong repeatedly, they probably still get a good yearly performance review and merit increase. I wish I was so lucky. Actually, I think there should be some form of law that would allow me to sue the weather channel to get my weekends back when there is an error in weather predictions. Matter of fact, this will be the first thing I talk to Barack about when he stops by for our weekly game of spades tomorrow night.

Speaking of things that I’m annoyed about, the U.S. Open is taking place in this area and it is absolutely running my life due to the traffic. They’ve decided that the field across the street from my apartment complex would be a good place for people to park and then be shuttled to the event, which is being held 20 minutes away. Because of this, instead of my being able to leave for work at the last minute, at 8:23, I now have to leave at 8:15 instead, which means I’ve had to stop brushing my teeth and shaving if I want to make it to work on time. Some mornings I don’t even have time to put on deodorant. Thank goodness my co-workers have been very understanding thus far. I’m just praying that the air condition continues to function normally. One minor malfunction and there could be serious problems.

Honestly, when I first started seeing the advertisements about the U.S. Open, I got so excited because I thought that Venus and Serena Williams were going to be in the area. I had even planned to offer them my couch so they wouldn’t have to pay for hotel accommodations, which can be pretty expensive when major events come to town. Also, I wanted to give them some tips regarding their serve that I learned from that one time I played a tennis game on my Wii. They probably would have thought so highly of my help that they would have asked me to be their manager. Unfortunately, this U.S. Open was for some form of sport called golf or something. I mean, I don’t know a lot about it, but from what I hear, they let a tiger in the woods swing clubs at balls. This year the tiger wasn’t able to make it. Maybe it was hibernating. Hopefully they were able to still get some lions, bears and giraffes to participate in the tiger’s place. Either way, I’ll be glad when it’s all over so I can once again know what it feel like to have fresh breath and dry underarms.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
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A Baby Would Go Good By The Fireplace

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jun• 13•11

Now that I’ve answered my calling as a philosopher, I’ve decided to make some slight changes in my day-to-day life. Since the information regarding my newly recognized gift could leak to the press at any moment, it’s probably in my best interest to keep a low profile. Because of this, I’ve started wearing big floppy hats, sunglasses, and a drawn-on mustache in hopes that no one notices me—even at work. For all I know, I could be the next Dr. Phil, and I really don’t want the hassle of dealing with the paparazzi when I’m innocently walking back and forth to and from the copier. I mean, even we celebrities deserve our privacy.

In fact, the other day, I was minding my own business, trying to make a discreet trip to the restroom, when I heard someone call my name. Immediately, I went into panic mode. In an attempt to create a diversion, I quickly hid behind a small, potted plant and yelled, “He went thataway,” while using one of the leaves to point in the other direction. Fortunately, it was just my supervisor demanding that I take off the floppy hat and get back to my desk, but it could have just as easily been The National Enquirer or TMZ. I’m sure they’re interested in what we celebrities eat for breakfast, or how I manage to stay so humble despite all my many extraordinary talents. I should probably have some form of response ready when these types of things come up. I’ll work on that.

Anyway, as some of you may know, my parents have been here visiting me for the week. Actually, let me rephrase that. My parents and a rabbit named Peanut arrived on Tuesday, and they’ve basically taken over the place. In preparation for their visit, I had to do the most thorough cleaning that I’ve possibly ever done in my whole entire life. I actually had to use the mop—once I learned how. Don’t judge me! Using a mop just isn’t as simple as it used to be. You now have to adjust levers, press buttons, and do a little happy dance to get the thing to work. In my opinion, they should really come with some kind of instruction manual or something. I mean, how else is a person supposed to know that you need to plug it in overnight before use?

After the whole mop debacle, I realized that everything in the apartment could use a good wipe down—even the fish. Because of this, I did what any normal person would do. I broke out my electric tooth brush and scrubbed everything from the stove to the toilet. It took hours. However, once I was done, everything sparkled, and for the first time, I was actually able to see my reflection in the mirror. Up until then, I thought the mirror was just there for show. Unfortunately, all that cleaning made my toothbrush taste really yucky the next morning. I probably should have bought a new one, but that would have been considered “shopping,” and you know that I’ve given up on that sort of thing. I won’t even tell you what I’ve been using for toilet paper since I ran out a few days ago. I just hope nothing comes up where I’ll need to wear a tie any time soon.

Honestly, besides the cleaning, I really don’t mind when my parents come to stay with me. They consider my place as their vacation home, and it’s cool that we’ve grown to enjoy each other’s company so much. My dad actually compared my apartment to a five-star hotel. Unfortunately, that places me in the role of the help. So far, I’ve been the cook, the butler, the maid, the chauffer, the bell hop, the doorman, the errand boy, and I’ve also worked the information desk to answer random questions whenever necessary. It’s kind of like having a second job that I haven’t figured out a way to get paid for just yet. Hmmm. Maybe I can list it as “community service” or “volunteerism” on my resume somewhere.

Since I’m not on vacation like my parents are, I don’t have the luxury of lying around all day, watching cable, and eating bonbons like they do. Despite this, that hasn’t stopped my mother from sending me to the grocery store every evening after I get off work. One day she sent me to get carrots for the rabbit. The next day she wanted Pringles. Ironically, I think those are the exact same type of requests that she used to beat me for as a child. I wish I would have had the audacity to ask her to stop somewhere to pick me up some random item after she’d worked all day. I would have either ended up with a black eye or on the side of a milk carton somewhere. In any case, whether it’s for a can of greens or a piece of gum, when my momma asks, I just say “O.K.” and head to the store. After all, she is my mother, and allegedly we only get one.

Coincidentally, whenever my parents come to visit, one of my friends decides to have an awesome party. This forces me to have to ask my mother whether I can go or not—even though she’s at my house and I’m almost middle-aged. No matter how much I beg, she always says no. “But you’ll be sleep,” I explain. Then she says, “You have company,” and sends me to my room without dinner. After she rejected my request this past Friday, I thought about locking myself in my room, tying some sheets together, and lowering myself out the window and down to my car. Unfortunately, because I live on the fourth floor, I didn’t have enough sheets and had to abort the mission halfway down. Instead of partying like it was 1999, my mother and I ended up baking cookies and we were both in bed by 9 o’clock. Talk about being a party animal.

Speaking of mothers, is it just me, or is having children in style this season? Are babies the new black and I didn’t get the memo? For some reason, everybody seems to be pregnant. Well, I can say for sure that I’m not (thank God that test was negative), but everybody else seems to be. In fact, just because I brought it up, someone somewhere is reading this right now and saying to themselves, “That’s what I need in my life. A baby. I thought I needed curtains, but no. I need a baby. Yes, a baby would look good by the fireplace, right above the mantle.”

Recently, I was asked if I wanted kids, and I’m really not sure. First of all, I still feel like such a kid myself. Second, babies don’t come with a return policy—at least I don’t think they do. You can return a new shirt within 30 days, but a baby is yours for life. I mean, they are cute and all, but then they start talking, and before you know it, your two-year-old is telling you why feeding him broccoli instead of ice cream for dinner is going to scar him or her for life, resulting in years of therapy sessions and a few angry tattoos on his or her face. I’m not sure if I’m ready to tackle those sort of challenges just yet. Then again, my having a kid may increase my chances of getting a reality show like that family from “Jon and Kate Plus 8.” Hmmm. Maybe I should order one off eBay after all. Perhaps they’re having a sale.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
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Grandma, Will You Love Me Flab And All

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jun• 06•11

I’ve been feeling very philosophical lately. It’s weird. It’s like all of a sudden I’ve finally realized my calling, and it’s not just to be the most successful blogger/novelist/fried-Cheerios maker ever. Instead, maybe I’m supposed to use my voice and writing capabilities to impart wisdom to the masses—or at least to my blog readers. The only problem with this realization is that there is now so much pressure to act the part. Like, everything I say should sound smart. And everything I write should be jam packed with wisdom. I mean, a real philosopher would have probably thrown a “thou” and a “henceforth” in this paragraph by now—like I just did. Also, I should probably change my name to Siddhartha and get some glasses because everyone looks smarter with glasses. I should know. After all, I’m a philosopher.

Now that I think about it, I could have probably saved a few dollars a two weeks ago when I bought all those new jeans because philosophers don’t even wear jeans. Though I don’t know exactly what they wear, I’m quite sure it doesn’t come from Old Navy or The Gap. Matter of fact, I should probably start investing in the type of robes that the monks wear. Wait a minute. Maybe I could be a monk!!! They’re pretty smart, right? I mean, they kind of just pray and read all day. They have to be smart to do that. But are they allowed to have blogs? Hmmm. Too risky. Maybe I should just wear a toga and call it a day. Smart people wear togas, I think. Yeah, and I should probably end this paragraph with a smart quote or something. Well, here it goes: “You take the good, you take the bad / You take them both and there you have / The facts of life, the facts of life.”

The other day I was at Kohl’s, accidentally trying on clothes, when something very disturbing happened. Suddenly, someone’s grandmother burst into my stall while my pants were around my ankles and asked if I needed help with anything. I just stared at her for a moment. She looked at me as if what had happened was the most normal thing in the world. Actually, it wasn’t exactly her fault. She was probably being used as a pawn to punish me for shopping after I promised that I would never shop again. However, I needed a pair of black khakis because I only had three or four pairs at home. See, I knew you’d understand. How is a person supposed to live with only four pair of black khakis? Exactly.

Initially, I was embarrassed and ashamed that Granny Kohl’s had seen me with my pants down, but then I thought better of it. I mean, she was someone’s grandma after all. She’s had to have seen a partially dressed man before at some point in her life, right? Even if she and her husband did sleep in separate beds like they did on “I Love Lucy,” she had to have accidentally seen him putting on his pajamas a time or two. In any case, it was then that I realized that there always seem to be women working in the men’s fitting room. It’s never a guy. However, I’ve never seen a man working in the women’s fitting room. Actually, I’ve never been in a women’s fitting room, but that’s beside the point. I’m quite sure it’s not allowed. It’s discrimination. I mean, why can’t I try on clothes without having to worry about exposing my nu-nu, my who-haws, or my wick-wick to someone’s mother? If you ask me, Oprah should have done her last show about that.

In addition to the peeping grandma and my trying to save money, another reason I’ve decided to cut back on my shopping is that I believe I may be going color blind. Seriously, I’ve never had more problems knowing the difference between colors than I do now. Hopefully my life will never depend on knowing whether an object is pink or purple. A shirt that looks grey in dim lighting, turns out to be brown in bright lighting. Pants that are blue when I leave the house, turn out to be black when I get to work. It’s the weirdest thing. No lie, the other day I bought a black shirt, but when I got it home, it was yellow. Completely ruined my day. Not even I can pull off a yellow shirt with red slacks. I was so upset. Maybe I should hire a personal shopper. I mean, if Paris Hilton can have one, then why can’t I?

On another note, recently I’ve had a few conversations with people who think it’s weird that I go to the movies by myself. One, I live right across the street from a movie theater and it’s just so simple for me to run over and check out whatever I want to watch when I want to watch it. Two, I don’t have to worry about coordinating my schedule around someone else’s evening where they have to beat the children, feed the husband, and have the dog all tucked in by a certain time. Three, there is no fight that ends up on the nightly news regarding which movie to watch. If I want to go see “The Hangover Part II” right this minute, I can do that without having to slap someone until they realize that they don’t really need to see “Bridesmaids” for the fifth time.

Furthermore, going to the movies by yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have friends or that people don’t like you. It just means you’re comfortable with being in your own company—even if you do make sure you get to the theater two hours early so that no one sees you walk in by yourself. Also, doing things by yourself can alert other people that you’re single without you having to break out a radio and do the “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” routine in the middle of an AMC theater. Yes, the last time I did it I brought the house down, was offered a record deal, and got three phone numbers, but sometimes all that is completely unnecessary. One time this lady even gave me her daughter’s number right in the middle of a movie. Hey, you just never know when you’ll meet your soul mate—or your soul mate’s mom. It could be at the next Harry Potter or Freddy Krueger movie.

In closing news, although I may have been the first partially nude guy that Granny Kohl’s has ever seen, because the temperature is going up, I’ve been seeing a ton of shirtless guys showing off their gym bodies—even at church. Well, because I just started exercising more and eating less a few weeks ago, I’m not exactly beach or pool ready just yet. In fact, I’ve been banned from the pool at my apartment complex until further notice. Apparently my physique was scaring the children. Regardless, I’m not going to let that experience or all the abs and biceps I’m exposed to at the supermarket lead me to have a bad image of my own body. Nope. Instead, I’m focusing on loving and appreciating every single roll and crevice I have. I hope the world—and my apartment complex—is ready for me because the next time I hit the pool or the beach, they’ll just have to accept me as I am, flab and all.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
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I Fully Admit To Having A Problem…Kind Of

Written By: Michael Rochelle - May• 25•11

Umm, maybe I don't need any more clothes.

Some say that the first step to solving any problem or addiction is to acknowledge that you have one. Well, if I’m allowed to be completely honest, I think that I may have a teeny weenie problem when it comes to spending. I was going to use the word “shopping,” but spending seems manlier. And we all know that my sole purpose in life is to be more manly. I mean, I didn’t grow these three hairs on my chest for nothing. You should see the way I have them slicked down today. Very macho, if I may say so myself. I used a little bit of gel. You just never know when you’ll have to rip your shirt off during a board meeting to get your point across. It’s happened twice today already.

Anyway, back to the shopping thing. There is just something magical about a crisp, brand new shirt that makes my hand automatically reach for my wallet. In fact, I can be strolling along the aisles, minding my own business when some random shirts will start calling me by name. They say, “Buy me, Michael. You know you need me.” “No, I don’t,” I reply. “Yes you do!” they scream back. That’s when the fight begins, and I somehow find myself arguing loudly with a shirt in the middle of a store. Before I even realize what has happened, the shirt utters those three little words, “I’m on sale,” and, instinctively, I find myself dashing towards the checkout counter with shirt in hand—and a few other things I grabbed along the way. I mean, who can deny the allure of having a sixth bottle of black shoe polish?

It probably doesn’t help that I live across the street from both Target and Kohl’s. In fact, when I found out how close my apartment complex was to the stores, I practically signed the lease without even seeing the apartment. “I’ll take it,” I yelled as I entered the rental office for the first time. “But we haven’t even told you the price yet,” the leasing agent responded. “Don’t worry about it. There are three Starbucks cafes across the street. Here’s a blank check. Write down any amount you feel is appropriate,” I said gleefully as I skipped out of the office, across the parking lot, and over to where I knew happiness could be bought for the cost of a mocha latte and a new pair of shoes. Don’t judge me. I was born this way.

One of the first signs that I had a problem should have been obvious when others would ask me to go shopping with them just for the company and I’d end up leaving the store with more bags than they did. No lie, the other day a co-worker left with only 2 shirts while I left with 8—ok 12. The second sign should have been when I noticed that every time I ran into one of my neighbors, I had shopping bags in my hand. He’d even helped me take them up the stairs on a few occasions. Have you ever tried explaining to a level-headed person why it is that you need 35 pairs of jeans? Well, I have, and I wouldn’t recommend it. It even got so bad that I would park my car, look around for him, and then dash up the steps with my bags when I was sure the coast was clear. I know. I’m a mess, right?

Well, my point is that I’m acknowledging that I may kind of have a little problem. Hmmm. Maybe problem is too strong of a word. How about opportunity? I have the opportunity to spend less moving forward. Matter of fact, I’m going to start right this second. Now is as good a time as any, right? I tell you, I’m through with spending money. Believe me. I’m not going to spend another red cent—ever! Oh wait a minute. The mailman’s here. Let’s see. Cable bill. Light bill. And—oh my goodness! You aren’t going to believe this. Kohl’s is having a sale! 30% off everything when you use your Kohl’s credit card with the 99.9% interest rate. What a deal! Uh, I’ll be right back. I’m going to Kohl’s. I can always start saving tomorrow, which is just as good a day as any.

Moving right along, I have some good news. Contrary to this time last week when someone erroneously guessed that I was at least 35, today someone guessed that I was 20. 20!!! It was as if I had won an award. In fact, here’s an excerpt from the speech I gave in the middle of the break room: First of all, I’d like to thank all of those that have made this moment possible. Thanks to the academy. My mom. My dad. My cosmetic surgeon who so willingly squeezed me in for that emergency face-lift over the weekend. Thanks to my backup cosmetic surgeons. My therapist. Where would I be without you? Oh, and my backup therapists. This moment is so much bigger than me. Without you all, I’d be nothing. Words can’t even begin to express my gratitude. I graciously and humbly accept the compliment and I will be forever in your debt. Thank you. Good night. And God bless.

In other news, a wise man once said that happiness and success can be found in the oddest of places. Yes, that wise man was me. Well, I was minding my own business at work the other day when, all of a sudden, a brand new chair was delivered to my desk—and no, I didn’t buy it. Because I’ve worked a few jobs where I’d been forced to make one paper clip and three staples last for six months, I asked if they were delivering the chair to the right place. I wasn’t used to such luxuries. I didn’t feel worthy. The chair looked just like one of the ones surrounding the table on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” I immediately envisioned myself doing deals with Donald Trump and making recommendations on who to fire solely based on my having an executive chair.

It’s funny how something so simple can make you feel so important. It was as if I’d finally been promoted to janitor. I began doing my work with a renewed sense of empowerment. I even began asking people to address me as sir. “That’s Mr. Rochelle to you,” I said to a few coworkers who didn’t recognize that I was the proud owner of an executive chair and was thus privy to that level of respect. Unfortunately, I may have taken it just a little too far when I demanded that my manager address me as Your Highness. Seeing that he was a little uncomfortable with that, I informed him that I would find it acceptable for him to call me Your Majesty instead. I’ll have you know that I was successful in getting him to call me a different name. I am now referred to as suspended. I’ll let you know what he calls me once security allows me back on the premises in 3 days.

In closing news, as much as technology was designed to bring us together, it is with great displeasure that I announce that it is probably doing more to tear us apart. After 30-plus years of only having one line because she felt more than that was unnecessary and wasteful, somehow Verizon convinced my mother to get call waiting. Up until then, she didn’t care what calls she missed, but now call waiting is her best friend. Since she got the service, our calls have gone as follows:

“Hello.”

“Hey, Mom, it’s Mike.”

“Wait a minute, Mike. I have another call.”

Before I can give any form of acknowledgement, she clicks over.

Five minutes later, she comes back on the line.

“Mike, I have to go. I need to take this other call.”

“But, Mom, I’m in the emergency room. My arm fell off.”

“That’s nice, sweetheart. I’ll have to call you back.”

Click.

She still has yet to return my call. That noted, if anyone sees or hears from my mother, could you please tell her that I need to talk to her. I mean, I know that her bill collectors are important, but if she could just once choose talking to her son over talking to them just once, I’d really appreciate it.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
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Only In My Skinny Jean Dreams

Written By: Michael Rochelle - May• 16•11

I think I need a paramedic!!!

Recently I’ve learned that there are certain games that you just shouldn’t ask people to play. One of those games is the guessing game. Guess my age. Guess my weight. Guess my credit score. Basically, you shouldn’t ask anyone to guess anything of a personal nature that may not work in your favor if the guess is way off. One wrong answer and things can turn ugly rather quickly. Because I hadn’t yet learned that lesson, when a co-worker at my new job asked how old I was, I asked her to guess. Usually this works in my favor, and I had just been carded the evening before while getting drinks—and by drinks I mean milk—with friends. My coworker looked me over. Her lips parted. “Thirty-five,” she said. But it wasn’t the guess that bothered me most, it was the words that followed: at least. Thirty-five. At least.

Mind you, I don’t have a problem with thirty-five year olds. Hell, my grandmother is thirty-five. I’m quite sure it’s a lovely age and I hope to one day reach thirty-five in about forty years or so. However, up until that day, no one had ever guessed more than twenty-six, and they only guessed that because I had used statements like “back in the day,” or “back when I was young,” or “My arthritis is flaring up.” I never would have guessed that I’d be twenty-six one day and thirty-five the next. I made a mad dash for the restroom and noticed that my cheeks—the ones on my face—were slightly lower than they had been the day before. Panicked, I immediately called my plastic surgeon and scheduled a consultation because there is only one thing in my life that I absolutely refuse to do and that is to be thirty-five while I’m only thirty-one. Besides that, everything else is perfectly acceptable.

While we’re on that subject, since I now look middle aged, I’ve decided that it is time to wear clothing more appropriate for someone that advanced in years. Up until now, I’ve gone with the baggy look, but now I’d like to wear clothing that are a little more fitted. Of course, that means I’ll no longer have room to smuggle my microwave and a rotisserie chicken into movie theaters, but at least I’d look more polished. More adult-like. More like a person with a successful blog and a novel in the works. However, let me point out that it is not my goal to go so far as to wear skinny jeans because there is only one thing in my life that I absolutely refuse to do and that is wear skinny jeans. Besides that, everything else is perfectly acceptable.

Because wearing fitted clothing is totally new to me, I enlisted the help of one of my friends for support. The first sign that things weren’t going to turn out well was when my buddy warned me not to look at the price tag. Of course, this made me look: $89!!! Do you know how many car payments I can make with $89? Absolutely none. But my point is, $89 is a lot of money for a pair of jeans that won’t tuck me in at night and make me scrambled eggs in the morning. With the price tag still in hand, I fainted from shock. Fortunately, my friend is a doctor and he was able to revive me before I’d lost the last of my few remaining brain cells. Honestly, it’s probably my fault for going shopping with someone who’s a doctor instead of going with someone who’s more on a dollar-menu budget like myself. I’ll certainly know better next time.

Despite the price, I ended up trying on the jeans anyway. In reality, there is nothing wrong with playing dress up every now and then. And if I start saving now, maybe I’ll be able to actually afford the jeans when I turn thirty-five. Anyway, the first pair were a size 34/32 with a slim fit. After putting one leg in, I knew that there was no way anymore of me was ever getting into those jeans. I was then given the same size in the classic and relaxed fits, but both were so tight that you could actually monitor my blood flow through them. Because of this, my doctor-friend warned me to lower my salt intake and wrote me a prescription right then and there. At that moment, I was more concerned about my breath intake because of the very realistic fear that I’d have an Incredible Hulk moment and burst right out of those jeans, sending buttons ricocheting all across the store and hitting innocent women and children.

I then tried a 36/32, which killed me because I had worn a pair of 34/32 jeans into the store and the goal was to go smaller, not larger. To add insult to injury, though my buddy thought the jeans were a good fit and gave me the thumbs up, the saleslady looked me over and screamed, “Oh God,” and covered her eyes before demanding that I go up another size and try a 38/32. “The jeans are European cut,” she explained. I told her that I didn’t care if the jeans were Anglo Saxon diced. Trust me. There is only one thing in my life that I absolutely refuse to do and that’s go into a store wearing a pair of 34/32 jeans with the intent to go smaller and somehow leave with a pair of jeans that are four sizes bigger. Besides that, everything else is perfectly acceptable.

Moving right along, people have been asking how the new job is going, and I can honestly say that things are going pretty well. It is awesome to leave the house at 8:22 AM, drive to work, park the car, walk to the building, hop on the elevator, and still make it to my desk by 8:30. Because of the short commute, I’ve only been to a gas station once during the month of May and even then it was only to buy milk. So far, this month I’ve only used a quarter tank of gas. How amazing is that? Another good thing about the short commute is that I’m able to go home for lunch every day. On the downside, I often wonder about the repercussions of calling out sick while on my lunch break. I mean, if I didn’t make it back to work after lunch, at least I’d worked half the day and that should count for something. Hmmm.

Before I forget, you all are going to be so proud of me. I’ve been exercising lately. I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing and compose yourself. Are you done? Good. I’ll have you know that just last weekend I hiked 3.7 miles around a lake. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit. I actually walked briskly around the lake. Part of the reason that I was walking so briskly was because I’d neglected to use insect repellant and had somehow become a human buffet for all insects with teeth within a 50-mile radius. Regardless, the point is, I did it. Furthermore, I’ll have you know that I’ve also used my Wii Fit, did some Zumba exercise, and played Championship Boxing on my Wii in the past week. Unfortunately, I haven’t exactly learned the art of throwing a punch so I accidentally knocked my flat-screen TV out a few times. It wasn’t pretty. Despite that, I can honestly say that the TV didn’t get in a single punch on me. Thus, I’ve declared myself the undefeated champion until further notice. Yup.

Lastly, I have to acknowledge that today is the two-year anniversary of this blog. Honestly, I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. I’ve hit many milestones between then and now. I graduated college. I relocated from Baltimore to the DC area. I’ve changed jobs—twice. I started on a master’s degree. Oh, and I fought a praying mantis and a grasshopper along the way. From the beginning until now, I can’t tell you how much the feedback means to me, and I can’t believe that there are people out there who have actually read every single post I’ve done. Would you believe I have readers in the Ukraine? It’s really mindboggling. I’d like to take this moment to thank each and every one of you for taking time out of your busy day to read The Little Blog That Could. Although I allegedly have a degree in English, I can’t find adequate words to express my gratitude. That said, happy anniversary to the blog and stay tuned!!!

Yours humbly,

Michael Rochelle
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Three Fish, A Hairline, And A Dumpster Walk Into A Bar…

Written By: Michael Rochelle - May• 08•11

As some of you may already know, I recently changed jobs. Wait a minute. I know what you’re saying, “Michael, you switched jobs again! You barely learned your supervisor’s name at the last job, and you were still getting lost every time you went to the bathroom! They filed 12 missing person reports on you in March alone.” Though that may all be true, and it is slightly embarrassing for the police to kick down the door of your stall in the restroom to compare you to the picture that they have on file, the change was going to come sooner or later. The old job was for a government contractor, and contracts come to an end. No big issues. No huge drama. I was not escorted out of the building by my ear this time, which was a welcomed change. Oh, and the FBI were not involved this go-round.

Of course, starting a new job means that I have to prove myself all over again. Unlike you, the new company has no idea how wonderful I am just yet. Don’t worry. I’ll let them know. I wonder if a companywide email will do the trick. Maybe I should just hand out some introductory pamphlets or something. Hmmm. Either way, I’ll work it out. My only issue so far is the learning curve. Everything I’m instructed to do sounds German to me, and as soon as I think that I’m starting to understand it, they switch over to Korean mid-sentence. In fact, the other day my manager asked me to do the simplest of tasks, and my mind went completely blank. It wasn’t until the third or fourth time that he yelled, “I said click on the right!” that I understood he meant my other right—as in, the opposite of left. Oops. Well, in my defense, when under pressure, sometimes knowing my right from my left is rocket science. And that’s all I have to say about that.

In the wake of the new job, a rental increase, and the rise in gas prices, I’ve decided to make some slightly drastic changes in my life in effort to cut down on expenses. Because of this, I haven’t been shopping for clothing in over two whole days and I’ve even begun skipping some of my daily visits to Starbucks over the past week. Yes, it’s that serious. I’ve even had a talk with my fish about the lifestyle changes and they weren’t too happy about it. As opposed to buying the $2.50 fish food I typically get them, I’ve downgraded to the $1.99 value brand. I know you’re probably thinking that I’m a horrible person and should be reported to the Fish Protective Services Agency, but it is my belief that everyone in my household can stand to tighten his or her belts a little—even if they are tiny little fish belts that I got on sale at Kohl’s back in the day when I could afford such luxuries.

In any case, the fish are having no parts of the budget cuts and have decided to revolt against the system. Instead of getting excited at feeding time, they just stare at the $1.99, non-name-brand food and then look back at me as if I’ve lost my mind. Perhaps I shouldn’t have placed the generic container labeled with red crayon “Fish Food or Something” beside their aquarium. If I had hidden it, maybe they would have never known the difference. This is really all my fault for teaching them how to read. I probably should have left well enough alone after I taught them the electric slide and how to square dance. Fish can be kind of snooty, if you ask me. You should have seen their little noses as they turned them up in the air in protest.

Anyway, I decided to compromise and mix the cheaper food with the more expensive food, but the fish were smart enough to zero in on the “good” food and left the cheap stuff floating. I’m too embarrassed to mention that one of them spit one of the cheap flakes back at me. I even did a demonstration for them where I ate some of the generic food and pretended that it was good. I should have won an Oscar based on that performance. Have you ever eaten a fish flake? Well, let me tell you, it is the one thing in the world that does NOT taste like chicken. Because of this, I agreed to continue spending the extra 50 cents on the food they like—even if it means I have to add a few more performances to my new nightly gig at the Burger Barn Strip Club. If you’re ever in the DC area, I go on right after Bullet-Hole-Betty.

Despite the fact that I am trying to cut cost, the recent pictures that have surfaced of me dumpster diving and subsequently being arrested at my apartment complex are completely unrelated. See, what had happened was, I stopped at a friend’s house after work. Because she lives in my apartment complex, I threw some stuff into the trash compactor on my way to her apartment. When I got back to my apartment, I realized that a bag that contained my umbrella and my favorite brush were missing. I called my friend to see if I’d left them at her house, but I got no answer. So, I did what any normal person would do. I grabbed my flashlight and headed for the dumpster. Completely logical.

My original goal was to just peer over the edge of the dumpster to see if the bag I assumed I’d unintentionally tossed in was on top somewhere. Of course, it wasn’t. I’m not sure what it was that made me decide to lift my leg and hoist myself over the side while wearing a button-down shirt, slacks, and shoes with slippery bottoms. Maybe it was the sense of adventure. Maybe it was the thought of me never seeing my favorite brush ever again. Or, maybe it was someone else’s discarded Target bag that looked like it might have contained something good in it that made me journey into the great unknown. Whatever it was, I practically dove in head first.

Well, if I thought I knew my neighbors before, I really know them now. After sifting through several layers of trash and not finding any of the things I’d thrown away, I learned that my neighbors have a lot of trash. I mean, it seemed as if people had driven for miles and miles just to dump their trash on top of my missing items. Next, I learned that trash that has a smell, and that foul stench should be used to punish people who do bad things, like people who don’t tip or something. I also learned that somebody in my apartment complex likes a lot of macaroni. Then again, maybe they don’t because I slipped on a pile of it right before I gave up on my mission of finding my lost items. I arrived home, broken and disheartened, with a few layers of mac and cheese on my face, just to find a voicemail from my friend saying that I’d accidentally left a bag on her table. Great, I thought, as I wiped the last little bit of old macaroni out of my eye. Just great.

In other cutting cost news, it’s no secret that I’ve been cutting my own hair for years now. In fact, I can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen the inside of a barber shop. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe Lincoln was still in office. Yeah, that’s probably about right. Because I’m not a professional barber, I sometimes have little slip-ups when attempting to give myself a decent haircut. Most times, people either don’t notice or they’re super nice and don’t mention it. However, other times, they stop, point, stare, and/or cover their children’s eyes in order to shelter them from having to witness the catastrophic remains of my lop-sided hairline, my bald spots, or places that I completely missed while cutting. One time, I forgot the whole back of my head. I think I was rushing that day. Let’s just say, I’ve been known to be called Patch Adams a time or two over the years.

Well, instead of giving up and folding to the pressure of having perfect hair, I just keep on trying because that’s what real people do. Whether I accidentally give myself bangs, or I do the opposite and unintentionally push my hairline way back behind my ears, I hold my head high with pride because I’m not a quitter—at least not when it comes to the fine art of barbering. Quitting a job or school is one thing, but quitting the cutting my own hair—never. That said, if you ever see me with a bob on one side, a shag on the other and bald in the back, just know that I saved at least $20 by doing it myself. And who knows? Maybe I’ll start some sort of trend and people all around the world will be wearing patches, bald spots, and missing hairlines with pride. Maybe they’ll call it “The Michael” and I’ll get my own Do-It-Yourself TV show on the Sci-Fi or National Geographic channel. That’s right. The sky is the limit, and don’t you forget it.

Michael Rochelle

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The Real Me (We R Who We R)

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Mar• 14•11

After much thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have multiple personalities. Although my team of therapists have not yet confirmed or denied whether they agree with my theory or not, that would be the only logical explanation as to why one minute I aspire to take over the world, and the next minute I’d like to just sit back and watch TV for the rest of my life. Honestly, I have the best of intentions to go home after work and knock out a few chapters of homework, but then I notice that the news is on and it’s my duty as an American to keep up with what’s going on in the world. I take that duty very seriously. I mean, what if there’s a burglar heading straight for my apartment and I miss the warning because I was too busy doing homework? And what if that burglar steals the homework I’d been working so hard on? Then what?

Because of this realization of my having multiple personalities, I had to wonder, which me is the real me? Is the real me the one who plans to get up an extra hour early every morning to do the P90X exercises, or is the real me the one that bought the Wii Fit two years ago that I have yet to open? Did I mention that I also bought the Zumba exercise game a month ago because I was so sure that I’d be Zumbaing across my living room all day, every day? The problem is it’s still in the plastic. Oh, and Billy Blanks would be so disappointed if he learned that his Tae Bo DVDs sat on my shelf for over 4 years while I geared myself up for his boot camp. Hopefully, he doesn’t read this blog. I would really hate to upset him. I could just imagine him putting me in a headlock and demanding that I drop down and give him 20. Of course, I’d respond, “I hope you mean $20, and not 20 push-ups.”

Seriously though, I really have to step my game up. Remember how I promised that I was going to do a blog entry every month? Well, did you notice that I missed the month of February? Granted, February only had 28 days, but throughout the whole month, I didn’t take 3 measly hours to provide an update for my 4½ readers. The nerve of me! And what about the novel that I started writing 55 years ago? I’m still just on page 283—and that’s only because I made my font REALLY big and used a lot of line spaces throughout. If I reduced the words down to a normal sized font, I’d probably have the equivalent of a sentence that reads, “See Spot run.”

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to have to sit the Michael Rochelle that has all the aspirations down so that he can have a talk with the Michael Rochelle who wants to watch “Wendy Williams” all day. They are going to have to reach some sort of compromise where neither of them will get what they really want, but both will end up with something doable. Instead of my being the first person to win both “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol” in the same year, maybe I’ll just do some local street-corner performances instead. Wish me and me luck on reaching a happy medium. I am rarely ever wrong except for all the many times that I am, so I may need a referee that won’t let me get me.

In other news, I recently decided to upgrade the living conditions of my fish. Apparently, they’d heard the theme song for “The Jeffersons” the other day and they wanted their own “deluxe apartment in the sky.” So, instead of having all four of them swimming around in an 8-ounce coffee cup, I bought them a 5-gallon aquarium, which made them really happy, if I may say so myself. Actually, since I’ve moved them out of the coffee cup, not once have I accidentally added cream and sugar to their water. Oh, and I’ve certainly stopped putting them in the microwave first thing in the morning after spooning in some Folgers. I’ve lost so many fish that way. Hmmm.

In any case, the fish are doing well in their new home. They call it the penthouse. I tried to talk them out of it, but they insisted. They said it was a fish thing and I should just mind my business. Anyway, it was the first aquarium I’d had with a real filtration system to help keep the water clean. Well, when I plugged it in, the fish and I got the shock of our lives as the filter system began shooting the fish across the tank like missiles. This went on for a little while until I got tired of hearing the thump of a fish hitting the glass as it was launched from one side of the tank to the other. Since I’ve fixed that issue, it’s been smooth swimming ever since. And before you start judging me and reporting me to PETA, I’d like to point out that only one fish was injured in the process of using the new filter, but I did successfully Super Glue his tail back on, and he’s just fine.

Speaking of just fine, something that hasn’t been just fine lately is my moustache. Although I’m at least 152 in dog years, I still haven’t mastered the fine art of trimming my moustache properly. I blame my mother for this. Of all the things she taught me, she somehow skipped the lesson on shaving. I have no idea why. Because of this, some days my moustache looks like there’s a caterpillar, and other days it looks as though I drew a check mark or a squiggly line above my lip like the one that sits on Charlie Brown’s forehead. The worse part about messing up your moustache is that the only option is to shave it off and start again, which makes me look like I’m in the fourth grade. Unfortunately, once you’ve shaved half of it, you can’t just run out and get a weave or extensions to fill in the bald spots above your top lip. Actually, you can, but it doesn’t look natural. Believe me. I’ve tried it.

The point of all this, and I do have a point, is whether you exercise every day or whether you buy every fitness DVD and use them as saucers, as Kesha would say, We R Who We R. There is nothing wrong with growing a caterpillar or a dreadlock moustache if you so desire. If you’re 40 pounds or 400 pounds, you’re special gosh darn it. Flaunt it! And just because you’re a fish, that doesn’t mean you have to swim. Maybe you want to fly like my fish do whenever the filter chooses to let them soar. Regardless of the circumstances or what anybody else thinks or feels, just be happy with who or what you are. So what if you’re dad wanted you to be a lawyer and you failed him miserably by only becoming a doctor. Look around you. Everyone else and their multiple personalities are living their lives and doing whatever they want to do. That noted, why shouldn’t you and your multiple personalities do the same? Why can’t we be free to be the real you’s and me’s?

Michael Rochelle
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Never Give Up On Your Stupid, Stupid Dreams

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jan• 31•11

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly glad the holiday season is behind us. One of the main issues I have with that time of year, other than the way my money seems to fly out of my wallet without regard to my rent or cable bill, is that the holidays really test your knowledge of religion. Imagine my shame when I incorrectly wished one of my Jewish neighbors a happy Kwanzaa. Oops. It would be so much easier if we had some form of notecards or something to tell us which holiday was celebrated by which religion. (Oh, so you’re Canadian, give me a moment to check my notecards.) Thus, I love this time of year where you’re able to just say, “Happy Friday,” or “Have a good weekend,” because everyone believes in Fridays and weekends regardless of religious, ethnic, or political affiliations—I think. Hmmm.

Well, it’s official. In spite of my abysmal GMAT score, I was somehow accepted into the University of Baltimore’s Master of Business (MBA) program. Go ahead. I’ll give you a few moments to applaud. I’ll wait. Is that it? Are you done already? It wouldn’t have killed you to have clapped for at least a full minute or two. Geez. I would have done it for you. You should have seen how enthusiastic I was the other day when one of my coworkers called to tell me that their 12-year-old son would no longer be wearing pull-ups because he’d graduated to big boy undies. Personally, I couldn’t have been prouder. I clapped for a full five minutes, might I add.

Anyway, I must admit that I’m not exactly sure what got me over the hump. Maybe it was the pizzas and cheese steaks I had delivered to the admissions staff along with my application. Or, maybe it was the hand washing and waxing I performed on the staff’s cars during the admittance process. Then again, it probably was the Swedish massages I gave the faculty, which was a feat in itself due to the unusual amount of back hair some of those ladies had. Yuck!!! I mean, I could have braided it if they’d asked. I’m glad they didn’t.

Ok, maybe I went a little overboard with the Swedish massages, but at least I didn’t resort to doing anything unethical to get in—again. No money actually exchanged hands—this time. And I can neither confirm nor deny that I did any direct deposits into the admission staff’s bank accounts. Regarding that matter, I plead the fifth. Also, I’d like to point out that I only washed their windows, handled their copying needs, and ran some errands for the admissions staff as a part of an “internship” that just happened to only last for the couple of hours my application was under review. Purely coincidental and completely innocent. Right?

In any case, I got in and I’m incredibly excited, nervous, and a little frightened. I’m excited because I genuinely enjoy the learning process. I’m nervous because I want to do well, but I know that the pursuit of the MBA is going to be a challenge and will take me way out of my comfort zone. And I’m frightened because I have no idea how I’m going to keep up with the coursework and the new season of “The Bachelor” at the same time. For me, this is a very real fear. I mean, how else am I going to learn how to find real love? Duh! Furthermore, I’m frightened because the curriculum calls for accounting classes, which means I’ll have to add and subtract and stuff. Wait. I know that you’re saying to yourself, “But, Michael, you work in accounting.” I know. But not the type of accounting where you need to be able to add—or do anything with numbers, for that matter. It’s a completely different kind of accounting. I won’t even bore you with all the details.

Although I haven’t actually cracked open a book yet, I can already tell that this semester is going to be sort of painful. One evening, because the administrative office stated they would close at 7 PM, I drove all the way from DC to Baltimore after work just to find a notice on the door apologizing for their closing at 4:30 due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Apparently they don’t know how much gas costs or how much my time is worth. My job values my time at about $2.55 an hour, but that’s neither here nor there, and I’m too much of a man to even bring it up. I’ve never been the type to rub my success in people’s faces. I believe in humility.

Speaking of humility, during that same trip I was recognized by several students who’d seen my picture on the University of Baltimore admissions website. I was thrilled as I answered questions about what I’d done since I graduated, what tips I could pass on to someone just starting school, and whether I had any spare change. It was as if I were Flavor Flav or somebody. Honestly, I may have embellished just a little by telling them that I had a world-famous blog and that I was in the process of touring the country to meet all my fans. I mean, it may be true one day. Anything is possible. Anyhow, I also was probably a tad bit overzealous by asking if they wanted my autograph. They declined—even after I begged. Yes, it was a sad day for Michael.

If all that wasn’t bad enough, I had a very unfortunate incident occur in the campus bookstore while attempting to purchase textbooks. See, what had happened was, I was minding my own business while standing in line when I went to reach into my left pocket out of nervous habit. Despite the fact that I’d just bought the pants and had maybe worn them once prior, there was a loud ripping sound as I reached to fumble with my wallet. Fearful of what I’d find, I slowly removed my hand from what was left of my pocket. That was when I felt the draft. I gasped as I surveyed the damage. There, for the whole world to see, were my Barney boxers peeking out of the hole the rip had caused. I was mortified. On the flip side, after seeing my underwear, I was finally asked for my autograph. Unfortunately, it was by the policeman who arrested me for indecent exposure.

On a final note that’s completely unrelated to school, my mother recently called with some disturbing news. Somehow, a link had popped up on her computer requesting that she check out a blog entry titled, “Mam, I Swear it’s Not Herpes…Really!!!” The title sounded familiar. A little too familiar. Just as I was about to deny having any knowledge of the alleged blog entry, she mentioned that my picture had popped up beside it. Busted! Now, I’ve never been ashamed of my blog, but she just had to stumble upon THAT blog entry, didn’t she? Needless to say, I’m on punishment for the next few years. And I doubt that I’ll be able to sit down anytime soon. However, when I think about it, the downtime may not be such a bad thing. At least I’ll have time to study.

Michael Rochelle

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How I Flunked The GMAT

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Dec• 19•10

As an adult you learn to take responsibility when you make a mistake or fall short of expectations. Allegedly, it makes you a bigger person to take ownership, learn from your shortcomings, and simply move on. If you let it, failure can be just a pit stop toward eventual success. After all, Thomas Edison failed a thousand times before he invented the light bulb. A thousand! That said, realizing that failure is just temporary, and keeping in mind that the adult thing to do would be to accept all blame for the outcome, I’d like to report that I successfully failed the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). However, it wasn’t exactly my fault. Really.

The day started out on a down note. Since the test was at 8 AM and the administrators requested that we get there at least 30 minutes early, I arrived in downtown DC around 7:10 AM just to learn that there was no street parking and most of the parking garages don’t open until 8 or so. After having to valet my car over 10 blocks away, I had to practically run to make it to the test center on time. Do you know when the last time I ran was? 1986.

The building was under construction so I had to use my limited Spanish-speaking skills to figure out how to get inside. Because I have a hard enough time knowing my left from my right in English, of course, I still ended up using the wrong door and then got fussed at and called every name except Michael by three men in Spanish. The only thing worse than getting cursed out in English, is getting cursed out in a foreign language. They curse with more emphasis. Fortunately, it only happens once or twice a week.

When I checked in at the security desk, I asked to use the restroom. The security guard sent me through a door and down some stairs to the lower level. I pushed on the door at the bottom of the stairs, but it was locked. When I went back up the stairs and attempted to return to the security desk, I found that the door I’d used to access the stairs was also locked. I then climbed 4 flights of stairs and checked all the doors along the way before learning that I was stuck on the stairwell. All the while, time was ticking away and I still needed to use the restroom.

Immediately I began to think of all the movies I’d seen where someone had used a stairwell to get away from an attacker before realizing that all the doors were locked. I listened for any form of sound. Nothing. Well, except for my stomach, which was upset due to the Starbucks I’d gotten that morning even though I’d been precautious and had taken a Lactaid pill that was supposed to have saved me from that experience. It was as if I was being drop-kicked internally. No lie, as soon as I finish this post, I’m calling the local drug store where I go the pills to speak to someone’s manager.

Anyway, after re-checking all the doors and realizing that the security guard wasn’t coming for me, I decided to take the stairs down as far as they went, you know, past the point where the janitors stop sweeping and mopping. Fortunately, when I reached the bottom, I found two unlocked doors: one that led into a parking garage, and one that led to an alley. The door would have locked behind me if I entered the parking garage and there was no guarantee that I’d be able to find a way out, so I hesitantly went back to the door that read alley.

Again, I began to think of all the movies I’d seen where some helpless individual was innocently strolling through an alley before an attacker chased after them. I had to wonder, was it safer to stay in the stairwell with one unknown attacker, or to venture down the alley where there’d be another attacker waiting? Because it was broad daylight, I opted to take the alley. Just as I was about to make it to the main street, two guys appeared and headed in my direction. I panicked as they drew closer. Surprisingly, they seemed really offended when I threw up my hands and offered them my wallet and iPod. I was just happy the two police officers declined. But in my defense, from a distance, cops and robbers look just alike.

When I finally made it to the suite where the testing was held, I almost got into a fight with the administrator. She asked what test I was there for, and I replied, “The GMAT.” She then asked, “The Kaplan or the GMAT.” Huh? Again I replied, “The GMAT.” Apparently I needed to have said it twice for it to register. I then took a seat and tried to make friends with the other test takers by asking them for a stick of gum. As soon as I’d gotten a piece and began to chew it, the administrator said, “You’ve got about 5 seconds before I make you spit that out.” I immediately scratched her name off my Christmas card list.

Next, I was stripped of everything: my wallet, my iPod, my cellphone, my watch, and yes, even my ChapStick. “But the test is 4 hours. I’ll die without my ChapStick,” I pleaded. The administrator must have believed all the answers were somehow stored within my lip balm. I was then given an ultimatum: either I give up the ChapStick, or I wouldn’t be allowed to take the test. I handed it over, but not before demanding that she not use it either. I gave her the evil eye to let her know that I meant business!!!

While the other test takers and I waited in the holding chamber before being seated, they began talking about how many months they’d studied prior, how many GMAT prep courses they’d endured, and how many times they’d already taken the test. I was too ashamed to admit that I’d studied on my own for a few weeks using a crappy GMAT book that had misspellings and bad math calculations that even I knew were wrong. It was then that I was told that we wouldn’t be allowed to use any form of calculator and we’d have to do the math by hand. Multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percentages, exponents, perimeters, etc., all by hand!!! I was in need of a huge miracle. You know, like one of the parting of the Red Sea kind.

As soon as the test started, my mind went completely blank. The first hour was spent writing two essays and I, the writer, couldn’t do it. For once in my life, I had absolutely no opinion. I mean, I’m the guy who’d written a 15-page essay during the commercial breaks of an episode of Family Guy. I wanted to cry. To make matters worse, there was a timer in the corner of the screen that pointed out just how little I’d written and how many minutes I had left to make something happen, which certainly didn’t help my writer’s block.

And then there was math. Have you ever tried to multiply 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 without a calculator, knowing that you only had about 2 minutes per question? Or, what about dividing 66,342 by 359 all by hand? Yeah, well, after about the twentieth question, I knew that I’d have to start guessing or else I wouldn’t finish that section of the test. Ironically, the final section, reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction, which should have been my stronger points, also left me stumped. Again, in order to finish the section, I had to guess the answers to the last 12 questions.

Finally, when the test ended, my dismal score popped up on the screen followed by video footage of Fred Sanford from Sanford and Son saying “You Big Dummy.” I knew that I’d done horribly, but a quick Google search proved just how terribly I really scored. You know you’re a failure when people who scored 200 points higher than you also complain about how horribly they did on the test. Yeah, it was just that bad.

So, what now? I’m moving forward with my application to grad school as is. If I get in, it will be based on my GPA, resume, and letters of recommendation. If I don’t get in, I’m going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again in three months—after I’ve taken the GMAT course like everyone else apparently has. Though I’ve never done so badly on a test in my life, the real story will be how I rebound from this failure. Well, my friends, that chapter is still unwritten. I guess we’ll all have to stay tuned…

Michael Rochelle
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When Chicken Is Your Last Name …

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Dec• 13•10

It’s hard to believe that it’s mid-December already. It seems like it was just yesterday when we were ringing in 2010. Now, if you sneeze twice and yell Bloody Mary, it’ll be 2011. Like most, I’m in the process of establishing new year resolutions. Reappearing on the list for the millionth time will be the usual suspects: eating healthier, going to the gym, and nominating myself for People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” contest—again. Last year, after a long and hard-fought campaign against Mario Lopez, I’m pleased to say that I did get one vote. Thanks Mom. Despite that, I’m also thinking of including more reasonable goals, like going to Wal-Mart for bleach and somehow spending less than $100. Ok, maybe I’m being just a tad bit unrealistic with the Wal-Mart thing. I should probably just focus on my speech for when I defeat Mario Lopez in the swimsuit competition. So what if he has dimples and six-pack abs. I have a blog. Checkmate!!!

As I prepare to set my alleged goals for the new year, I have to wonder, what did I accomplish this year? Well, I successfully got into grad school and then dropped out before the ink on my first homework assignment dried. Then, I bought some fitness games that I intended to use to burn off calories, but, instead, I’m using them to throw at the TV when my favorite shows are running repeats. Next, I learned that I can sound knowledgeable about any sport by just shaking my head in disappointment and saying, “Hey, you win some, you lose some,” even if I know nothing about the game. Oh, and I can’t forget that I’ve watched the complete first season of The Closer, which has given me a whole new perspective on crime solving and the art of interrogation. However, because I’m not a real cop, my coworkers get really upset when I put them in handcuffs and try to take them down to central booking after I’ve accused them of using my coffee creamer. You should have seen the look on my manager’s face when I attempted to read him his rights.

Speaking of being productive, I may have mentioned that I’m in the process of studying for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) so that I can reapply to graduate school in the spring. Because I accidentally put it off until the last minute due to my participating in the nationwide boycotts of Dancing with the Stars because Bristol Palin somehow made it through to the top 3, I now have five days to learn all the principles of algebra and geometry. Although I work in accounting, math involving triangles has never been my strong suit, and I think I must have missed the episode of Barney when they discussed fractions. Seriously, how often in day-to-day life do you need to simplify an equation? And when was the last time your life depended on your knowing how to read a bar graph or a pie chart? I can almost guarantee it wasn’t within the past week.

In any case, I’m requesting that my blog readers pray for me because this coming weekend I’ll be sweating bullets for 2 hours and 10 minutes trying to recall all the stuff I was supposed to have learned in pre-school Calculus. If for some reason I draw a total blank, I’m just going to focus on my breathing and ask myself what would Taylor Swift do? Fail the test and then write a song about it and win a Grammy that Kanye West would feel that I didn’t deserve? Hmmm. Well, if all else fails, I’m hoping that the test administrators sit me next to someone really smart so that I can accidentally check my answers based off theirs. Remember, it’s not considered cheating unless you get caught. And if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.

Moving right along, recently I’ve received some disturbing looks and comments due to my continuing to wear short-sleeve shirts even though it’s almost winter. I don’t know about you, but I’m always hot. In fact, if I ever do something of a criminal nature, there would be no need to send me to jail. The perfect punishment would be to just force me to wear a cardigan sweater and some long johns because it’s pretty much a guarantee that I’d die of heat stroke within a few moments. Do you remember that scene where the Wicked Witch of The West shriveled up and died after Dorothy splashed her with water on the Wizard of Oz? Yeah, it would kind of be like that. Except, I’d hope no one would chime in and sing “Ding-Dong, Michael’s dead.” Anyway, I know that I’m getting up there in age, but I never expected that I’d go through THE CHANGE this soon. So, if you see me wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of a blizzard, there is no need to be alarmed or to send me to the loony bin. I’m just having hot flashes and it’s completely normal for men my age.

With Christmas being right around the corner, many of us are starting to evaluate how we’re going to make our paychecks—the same ones that barely cover our weekly trips to Starbucks—stretch to cover gifts for ourselves and maybe a gift or two for someone else. It’s also a great time to score brownie points for doing good deeds. Like most years, I decided to participate in the Angel Tree program by selecting a needy child’s wish list and filling in for Santa. As I selected the last child’s list off the tree, I got super excited. What would the kiddo want? A Barbie? A Truck? World peace? My heart melted as I saw that the child was a 3-year-old girl name Jazmine. How cute! Just as I was beginning to picture her little angelic face, my eyes scrolled down to her request and I panicked. An iPad! For a 3-year-old!!! They cost like 600 million dollars and I don’t even have one. I quickly placed little Jazmine’s request back on the tree, but not before I accidentally scratched out her name and wrote in my name instead.

Anyway, I have good news. After years of searching, I just realized that my soul mate has been right under my nose all along. I can’t believe I was so blind all these years. Here I was telling people that I was single and no longer capable of feeling love because my heart had retired and was living in Hawaii off its pension. I’m just glad I realized the truth before it was too late. Now I understand what everyone means when they say that you’ll know real love when you find it. Finally, I feel complete and I realize that my search for what I thought I wanted and needed all this time has been misguided. Mariah Carey said it best, “I had a vision of love, and it was all that you turned out to be.” That said, I’d like to take a moment to exclaim my love to the world. Thanks to you, I need nothing else. When you are weak, I’ll do my best to make you strong. You can count on me. I love you, iPod. May we never, ever part—unless someone gets me that iPad.

On a completely unrelated final note, I’ve been running into some situations lately that have made me take a moment to ponder the logic. For instance, I was at the drive-thru of a Kentucky Fried Chicken one evening and the voice over the loud speaker stated that they’d run out of chicken. All chicken. No wings. No breasts. No thighs. No nothing. I mean, I know it’s a recession and all, but, KFC, chicken is your last name. And how does it make it better if they offer you all the biscuits you want due to the inconvenience? “Umm, yes, I’ll take 12 biscuits to go, and supersize that please.” However, KFC is not the only fast food chain guilty of these sorts of things. Recently, after I’d paid for my meal at McDonald’s, I was told that they’d run out of straws. In an effort to resolve the situation, they upgraded my medium drink to a large—for which I still needed a straw. Anyway, that said, here’s wishing you all the wings, breasts, and straws your little heart desires.

Happy Holidays!!!

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Access my website: http://www.justmichael.net