Hypothetically Speaking . . .

Are Those Dad Jeans You’re Wearing?

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Nov• 06•17

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think I need a paramedic!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birthdays, BMI and Blood Pressure

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Oct• 23•17

The one time my pressure was ok.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

High Blood Pressure!!!

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

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

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

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

Fifty Shades Of Michael

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Oct• 14•17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just Call Me Michael, The Maintenance Man

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jun• 26•17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Apr• 30•17

Straining To Make The One Muscle Pop

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

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

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

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

That’s why they call it Snuggie love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What?

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
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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