Hypothetically Speaking . . .

And The Oscar Went To…

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Apr• 28•14

Michael's Oscar

Michael’s Oscar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wild Wild West.

The Wild Wild West.

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

Sin City

Sin City

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

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

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

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

Let's Get The Party Started

Let’s Get The Party Started

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

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

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

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

All The Single Ladies!!!

All The Single Ladies!!!

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

Junk In The Trunk

Junk In The Trunk

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

What do you mean "Scandal" is on hiatus?

What do you mean “Scandal” is on hiatus?

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

One day this will be mine.

One day this will be mine.

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

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

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

Lions, Ferrets and Cheeks on a Treadmill

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Nov• 11•13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But then my age kicked in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Shorty, It’s Was My Birthday

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Oct• 25•13

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

Happy Birthday To Me, Happy Birthday To Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Michael at his desk.

Are my eyes closed on this one, too?

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

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

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

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

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Aug• 12•13

Look, It's A Crapper!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What way?” I responded, genuinely confused.

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

What?!?!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Moving

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jul• 08•13

Attack Of The Moving Boxes

Attack Of The Moving Boxes


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Access my website: http://www.mikeyllo.com
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You Know You’re Old When …

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Apr• 14•13

When you're this cute, it's easy to excuse the delayed blog post.

When you’re this cute, it’s easy to excuse the delayed blog post.

Contrary to the 40 million blog posts I’ve done on the subject, I’m not one of those people who think about age a lot. Sure, the I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up commercials seem more and more realistic with each passing day, and my back goes out more often than I do, but it’s not something I really worry about. To me, aging is like bowel movements: Everybody’s doing it, but nobody’s talking about it; it isn’t a problem until you’re NOT doing it. Aging is the natural progression of all things. I mean, even our great-great-grandparents went from dropping it like it’s hot to Elvis, to eventually lowering it like it’s lukewarm to Justin Timberlake.

In any case, I’ve been recently suffering from some of the effects of old age. My knees have begun singing when it rains, I pull the waists of my pants up above my belly button, and I’m starting to become forgetful. In fact, when a reader contacted me to let me know that I hadn’t updated the blog since February, I had to ask her for the web address so I could find this alleged blog. Making matters worse, I’ve been contacted by several professors because I’ve missed a few assignments due to me apparently being enrolled in school for something. Hmmm. I hope I chose a good major where I study the cultural impact of “Family Guy” or something to that effect.

If you ask me, you’re not really old until a jury takes a vote and unanimously agrees that you are. That being the case, I think my verdict was reached a few weeks ago. There I was, minding my own business, hanging out with my fish when an AARP registration card arrived in the mail. Apparently, all you have to do is buy one too many bulk orders of Ben Gay and Metamucil off eBay and you’re automatically stereotyped as being ancient and possibly on the market for burial plots, which are surprisingly cheap if you don’t mind being buried in a McDonald’s parking lot behind the dumpster.

Because of the card’s arrival, I decided to do some research on eHarmony and Match.com—not for myself, but for my frog, I swear—and it became really clear to me that the AARP aren’t the only ones who classify me as being elderly. Some of the profiles read, “No one over 25 because I don’t do oldies,” or “If you witnessed Jesus’ birth, I’m not interested,” or “If you like being a part of the crowd because they give you something to lean on, please pass this profile by.” Ironically, the “frogs” writing these requirements were in their forties. I guess I can understand this, though. If you start dating someone your own age, before you know it you’re sharing prescription medications and trying to walk in each other’s orthopedic shoes.

Aging isn’t all bad, though. Personally, because I love a discount, I wouldn’t mind getting half priced coffees and Vienna sausages, or having premium seating on public transportation. I can’t wait to walk into Kohl’s one day and say, “Give me my damn senior citizen discount,” while angrily waving my cane at the cashier. However, I guess I’d at least like to hit 35—or 34 even—before people start trying to take away my license or begin thinking that I’m ready to be “put down” due to old age. This is a very realistic fear of mine since that one time my cousin woke up with two gray hairs, and three guys in a mysterious white van pulled up, threw him inside, and sped off. We haven’t seen him since. He was only 29.

Honestly, I never feel old unless I’m around a group of younger people. I have some friends who are in their early twenties and I never get their jokes or want to do the things that they like to do. They tend to spend all day playing video games or watching “Sponge Bob” and then spend the night over whoever’s house they end up at when they fall asleep at 2 in the morning. Personally, my back is no longer cut out for sleeping on anyone’s couch or floor if I can help it. Also, I’m certainly not fond of asking someone’s mother if it’s ok for me to spend the night or if I can have some Tylenol and borrow an icepack.

I definitely felt old several weeks ago when my little sister decided that she would travel from Virginia to spend her 23rd birthday with me. I was informed of the visit via a text message in the middle of the night that arrived with instructions stating that I was going to meet her halfway so that she could park her car and I’d bring her the rest of the way. Also, she demanded that I make room in my apartment because she was not going to stay at any of the hotels or homeless shelters in the area that I recommended for her. She even turned her nose up at the shelter that received a three-and-a-half-star rating on Yelp. They had a free continental breakfast and everything! Some people are just so ungrateful.

Because of our 10-year age difference, the planning phase for her visit was a tad bit difficult. I mean, what do you do with a 23 year old these days? Do you take them to Chuck E. Cheese and give them a “Hannah Montana” themed birthday party? Do you make an appointment to get matching Justin Bieber and One Direction tattoos? Or, can you simply point them to the nearest gadget that has access to Facebook and call it a day? Decisions, decisions.

After doing a little research, I came up with several things that I thought we could do. We’d start our day with breakfast, spend some time at Dave & Busters, hit a couple malls, and then go to a few movies before ending our day with dinner at a nice restaurant. The plan was perfect. However, what ended up happening is that we went to breakfast and Dave & Busters. Then I came home and went to sleep for the night. No malls. No movies. No dinner. And it was just 6 PM. Definitely and old guy thing to do.

The next morning I woke up to find my newly 23-year-old sister sitting in the living room alphabetizing my CDs. No lie, she literally had about 100 of them sprawled out across the floor. Every now and then she’d say something like, “You’ve got a lot of Mariah Carey CDs,” or “Shoot, I missed this Brandy one. I’ve got to start over.” Of all the planning I’d done, I hadn’t thought about putting that little whippersnapper to work. I really missed out on a big opportunity to have my whole house cleaned. At that point my toilet had been crying out for a thorough scrubbing for at least a year. Crap!!! No pun intended.

In closing, my advice to all of you old timers that are over 17 is to not get disheartened because the history books are containing more and more events that you were actually there to witness. I mean, how many other people can honestly say that they were one of the signers of The Constitution? Surely, that counts for something. So, whether you’re 27, 47, or 152, let’s embrace who we are and what we stand for. Maybe our dreams of one day becoming a rapper, football star, or having our own line of pasta sauce are gone, but we’re still something special in our old age. Regardless of your advanced stage in life, the AARP appreciates you. I should know. I’m not only a member, I’m the president.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
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It’s All In The Mouth

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Feb• 12•13

No I won't open wide!!!

No I won’t open wide!!!

If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you enjoy receiving an unexpected compliment every now and then. At 33, I’m honored to still be asked to show my ID when I purchase alcohol milk at the liquor store. In fact, I practically leapt across the bar to hug a Hooters girl to death the other day for doing me the honor of checking my license when I ordered a Coke. I was absolutely thrilled. Unlike when my mother asks to see my ID and a copy of a canceled check before she lets me in for a visit. Actually, that could just be part of the training since she also works at Hooters. And so does my grandmother.

While I’m being honest, I can admit that it’s not completely unheard of for me to be walking through the mall and overhear someone asking, “Is that Denzel Washington?” or “Isn’t that David Beckham?” I can understand the confusion. Sometimes I get confused myself. I leave the house every morning not knowing whether to head to a corporate office or to a movie set. That’s exactly why I never correct my fans when they confuse me with Channing Tatum or Matthew McConaughey. I graciously sign the autographs, pose for the pictures, and kiss a few babies in the process. Hey, it’s all in a day’s work. In my opinion, it’s a compliment to Denzel for someone to think he looks like me. I’m sure he’s honored.

On the other hand, one place I never expect to get compliments is at the dentist office. They usually just take one quick glance at my teeth and advise that I have them all pulled so that I can start fresh. Apparently, dentures and bridges are all the rage this year, and you can even use them to do party tricks. Not to mention that you can wear them with anything. That blue sweater in the back of your closet? Yup, your dentures will go with it perfectly.

Shortly after I arrived in the lobby and signed in for my appointment, I wondered if it was too late for me to call in and cancel. I mean, it wasn’t like they could charge me for being a no-show. I had shown. I just wouldn’t stay for the drilling. Besides, I was in no mood for a teeth cleaning. I’d just had one a year and a half ago. If I wanted someone to come at me with sharp objects that could possibly kill me, I’d take my chances in prison—which is way safer than some dentist offices.

Just as I whipped out my iPhone to call in sick, I saw a sign that read, “No Cellphones Allowed.” Crap!!! What would James Bond do? The only option left was to bolt towards the door. Unfortunately, that’s when I noticed that the female receptionist looked as if she was ready to fill in for any one of the linebackers at the Super Bowl! Even if I made it out of the lobby, there was no way I’d make it to my car. She’d tackle me and then take my teeth with her. It simply wasn’t worth the risk.

I decided then and there to man up and get it over with. I’m sure other people had gotten teeth cleanings before and lived to tell the story. The real incentive came when I remembered that I’d get a Barney toothbrush after the whole ordeal was over. The hygienist would just have to put me to sleep and move forward with the cleaning as scheduled. It was the only way we’d both make it out alive.

I was barely in the chair before the judgmental questions started. “How often do you floss?” she asked. I responded, “When you think about it, Mrs. Hygienist, how often does anyone really floss?” She frowned and then scribbled something on my chart. I failed the follow-up questions just as miserably. No, I don’t gargle with ACT. No, I don’t always brush before bed. And, yes, I’m happy that Tierra finally got sent home on this week’s episode of “The Bachelor.”

When the actual cleaning finally began, the strangest thing happened. I was laying there with my mouth wide open, gripping the armrests as my gums were being assaulted, when the hygienist began making small talk right in the middle of me taking a mental picture of her facial features so that I could provide an accurate description for the police sketch when I’d file a complaint later. Out of nowhere, the following conversation took place:

“Michael, it’s a real pleasure to work on your mouth,” said the dental hygienist.

“Are you hitting on me, Mrs. Dental Hygienist? I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to talk to me that way in the state of Maryland,” I replied.

“Your mouth is just so convenient.”

“Convenient? Are you trying to say I have a big mouth?” I asked. I was shocked and appalled.

“I’m just saying that your mouth provides easy access. Everything is just right out there in the open. I’ve had a long week of small mouths, so your mouth is a wonderful change,”

As opposed to being offended, I decided to take it as a compliment. Apparently the dental community thinks I have a big, accessible mouth, which really comes in handy when you’re used to using your mouth as a foot warmer. I couldn’t have been more proud. Six hours later, when she was done using the chisel and the power sander on one of my front teeth, I told her that she could use the handsaw on my choppers anytime. I then signed an autograph for her, “Sincerely, Denzel Washington.”

In closing, on a totally unrelated note, I’ve heard a rumor that I have some readers who haven’t left comments simply because we don’t know each other personally, or because they don’t want me to know that they have a huge crush on me and want me to be the mother of their children. Well, maybe I don’t say it enough, but I love getting comments and they are highly encouraged. In fact, the more comments and feedback I get, the more I know that you’re reading, which then makes me write more. So don’t be frightened to comment or say hello. I truly appreciate it when you do!

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

A Resolution Worth Keeping

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jan• 14•13
It's Not Really New Year's Without Starbucks!!!

It’s Not Really New Year’s Without Starbucks!!!

So, we’re a few weeks into the new year, and I’ve already become a 2013 statistic. Yes, I’m one of those people who get super excited about making New Year’s resolutions, but then abandon them in a ditch on the side of the road around noon on January 2nd. 2013 was supposed to be the year that I gave up fried foods and soft drinks, but that went right out the window when I was tempted by a wayward Popeye’s commercial. It’s not really my fault though. They were having a sale on chicken and biscuits. I’m sure you know what that type of pressure can do to a person. In fact, you’re probably craving a hot, flaky, buttered biscuit yourself simply because I brought it up. I’ll give you a moment to wipe the drool from your chin.

The good thing is that I know I’m not alone in canceling resolutions soon after they are created. Some of you, too, have joined a gym and then stopped going solely because the other members wouldn’t let you change the TV channel to “The Bachelor” or “Grey’s Anatomy.” And, if you’ve ever purchased workout equipment, like me, you know that nothing dries clothes quicker than hanging them on an unused treadmill. I mean, who needs a clothesline or a dryer when you have an elliptical machine just sitting there? You might as well put it to good use.

By now, you’ve probably burned your 2012 list of resolutions and buried the remains in your neighbor’s yard so there would be no remnants of old goals long forgotten. Since I brought in the new year holding a shovel in one hand and a lighter in the other, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I failed miserably with ALL of my 2012 resolutions. If there were a Guinness World Record holder for the individual with the most discarded New Year’s resolutions, it would be me. You can bet your first born puppy on it.

Although I gave it my best try, I am sorry to report that I did not win the 2012 National Brad Pitt or George Clooney Look-alike Contest. Seriously, I thought I had it in the bag. I had everything down. The hair. The swagger. The swimsuit. But, still, I lost to some Asian guy whose hair was bouncier than mine. And he got extra points for being a natural blond. Oh well. I guess you can’t win them all. I guess if God wanted me to be a natural blond, he would have made me Asian as well. But I digress.

Adding further insult to injury, neither Britney Spears nor Beyonce has contacted me about being a backup dancer in one of their videos yet. This is in spite of my very theatrical rendition of “Hit Me Baby Because I’m Crazy in Love,” which I performed in the middle of the local Target store. However, all is not lost. The next day I learned that someone filmed the routine and posted it on YouTube. So far, it’s gotten three whole views!!! It may not exactly be the viral sensation of PSY’s “Gangnam Style” yet, but it’s well on its way.

For the past few years, my main goal has been to write more. As you all know, I’ve been working on the same novel since I started kindergarten. Actually, that’s not exactly true. I’ll write twenty pages and then toss it. Start over. Write forty pages and then toss that. Start again. Eat some ice cream while writing eight pages and then, you guessed it, toss it. So, when people ask how it’s coming along, there really isn’t much to say. Except that I’ve perfected the beginning over the years. You know what? That gives me an idea. Why don’t I share an excerpt from my forthcoming novel with you right now! A blog-reader exclusive. We never get exclusives. Ok. Here we go:

It was a dark and stormy night…

And there you have it. Absolute perfection. I can tell that I’m on the verge of a best seller. I can just see it. My book, on the shelf, somewhere between “Fifty Shades Darker” and “When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?” That has always been my dream. Since I was placed in my mother’s womb, I knew that words would be my thing. Not football. Not firefighting. Words. I knew it would be my destiny. For it was written.

On a serious note, I want this to be the year of no excuses in terms of my writing. Sure, I probably won’t go to the gym as often as I’d like—or ever—and I doubt that Starbucks and I will see each other less frequently over the next few months, but I went to school to be a writer for gosh sakes! I paid to graduate magna cum laude for crying out loud! I have over 2 million dollars in student loans! Besides my blog and its 3½ readers, what do I have to show for it? Were all those years of writing something brilliant and then standing there naked in front of the firing squad of teachers and students for nothing?

These days, everyone and their dog’s ferret has a column in a magazine AND a book deal. Why don’t I have one yet? Am I not as cute as that puppy who wrote the New York Times bestseller, “It’s A Doggy Dog World”? Granted, if someone asked what I’ve written so far, I’d only have a solid first line to show them, but if I did a page a day and KEPT it, I could finish a book in 2013. It will be hard to stay motivated with my working full time while pursuing an MBA and watching Netflix, but, certainly, it’s possible. Right? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a book—my book—to shove in the face of everyone who snickers at my majoring in English instead of engineering or criminal justice?

That noted, I ask that you, my readers, join me in my quest to get moving toward our goals. If you have a passion that has fallen by the wayside because you had to focus on seemingly more important things, I’d like you to try to get your fire back. I’m talking to you. Yes you!!! Whether you got your degree in crop rotation or salsa tasting, 2013 could be your year to reignite that flame. In the words of one of the most intelligent people of our time, Katy Perry, “Baby you’re a firework / Come on show ‘em what you’re worth.” Don’t act like you don’t know the words!!!

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Access my website: http://www.mikeyllo.com
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Confessions of a Fat Red-Light Runner

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Dec• 19•12

First of all, let me just go ahead and put it out there: The photo isn’t of me. I’ll admit that there are some similarities—especially around the eyes, but that picture is of Wilbur, my African Dwarf Frog, who I’ve mentioned a few times in the past. After watching the Victoria Secret fashion show the other night with me, Wilbur decided that it was his time to shine, so he submitted some of his best shots for my consideration. I explained to him that my blog was typically G-rated, and I wasn’t sure how my readers would feel about the nudity, but although I strongly disagreed, he thought you’d all be mature enough to handle him in his full glory.

Honestly, I’m more than happy to not be the focal point for this entry. Just because it’s my blog, doesn’t mean that it always has to be about me. I mean, who do I think I am? Oprah? Because my readers know me, there is no need for me to always be the “face” of every entry. I’m sure some of you could pick me out of a police lineup based on my left elbow alone. That noted, I’m sitting this one out to allow Wilbur to have the limelight he’s always dreamed of. And, who knows, maybe there is some big-shot talent agent that is looking for a frog to star in the next big action movie alongside Tom Cruise. It will have all started right here!!!

Oh, and although his pose may be a little concerning to those of you that don’t know him personally, he’s not dead. Instead, he is lying upside down on his back—which is completely unnatural for him—because I’d just informed him that it had been over two months since I’d posted anything. So, in true diva fashion, he flipped over on his back in exasperation. It was either that or he got upset because I’d arrived home a few minutes later than expected and made him miss the first few minutes of “Extreme Couponing.” Just like his owner, Wilbur loves a bargain.

Anyway, so much has happened since my last posting. I turned thirty-three, finished another semester of school, went to the gym once, received two red-light-camera tickets, and visited the doctor for my annual health inspection and tune-up—not necessarily in that order, though. Now, I know that nothing short of a bout with tiger shark flu would serve as an acceptable reason for keeping me away so long, but in my defense, if you look at the big picture, I haven’t exactly been slacking off, even though I’ve somehow managed to squeeze in every episode of “Undercover Boss,” “New Girl,” and “The Mindy Project.” Yup, I’ve been pretty busy. That’s my story, and that’s what I’m sticking to.

Let’s start with the red-light-camera tickets, shall we? So, I was minding my own business on the way home from work one evening when I noticed several quick flashes of light while I was making a right turn at a red light. Since I am sometimes mistaken for Prince Harry, I assumed the flashing lights meant that the paparazzi had finally figured out where I lived, so they were hiding in the bushes on that corner to get candid shots of me for the tabloids. Because of this, I believed that it was in my best interest to shoot right through the light as quickly as possible as long as I beeped the horn twice to give the pedestrians sufficient time to get out of the way.

Well, a few weeks later, instead of receiving a glossy magazine with a picture of me breezing through traffic on the cover, I received a ticket in the mail for $75 because I’d allegedly run a red light. Since the fine wasn’t worth me taking a day off work to go to court and proclaim my innocence, I opted to just pay the ticket. However, when a second ticket arrived a few days later with photos and a link to video footage of me someone allegedly turning at a red light without stopping, I decided that enough was enough. I called for backup. And there was only one person that I could think of that could help: Barbara Walters.

When Barb opted to not return any of my calls, I decided to take matters into my own hands. If I was going to fight “the man,” I was going to have to do a little research first. My findings were absolutely shocking. Apparently, red lights and stop signs are not optional. Even if you are simply making a right turn, you must come to a complete stop before doing so—even if nothing is coming for miles and miles. You absolutely must not roll right through them at over 13 MPH like I did in both of the speed camera videos. Who knew? See, just when you thought you couldn’t learn anything from my little blog, here I am passing on wisdom and giving you a driver’s education refresher. I should put “teacher” on my resume.

Another troubling incident that happened over the past few months, took place during a recent trip to my doctor’s office. The visit started off well enough. I paid my copay, and the transaction miraculously went through. I was shocked. Usually they just cut up my card and escort me out of the building. After the receptionist and I high-fived each other due to my good fortune, I was then escorted down the hall toward the scale. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.

OK, everyone knows that I’m kind of a foodie, especially if it’s bad for you. Don’t give me a vegetable unless it’s fried. If you hand me something low in fat, cholesterol, or sodium, I’ll probably end up hurling it back at you and demand that you put some butter on it until I’m pleased. However, recently I’ve been trying to make better food choices by not eating out as much and replacing fatty foods with something healthier. Because of that, I wasn’t afraid of the scale because I knew it would be the first time that things tipped in my favor. Surely, that one time I had a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a burger would have to pay off.

As I watched the numbers fluctuate, I felt like I was on “The Price Is Right.” I even clapped and yelled, “Big money!” I knew the first digit would be a one because there was no way that I was over two hundred pounds. No surprise there. But as I watched the second digit rise from a six, to a seven, and finally to an eight, my heart dropped. When the last numbers finally stopped at a whopping 189.9, I slapped the nurse and demanded a do over. She then slapped me back and said, “It is what it is. You’re fat, so get over it, you [insert expletive here]!!!”

When I met with the doctor, she reintroduced me to one of my enemies: the body mass index (BMI) chart. Whereas a person considered “normal” would fall below a 25 on the chart, I was at a 29. Even if I rounded my height of 5’8 up to 5’9, I was still solidly ranked within the overweight category. To further put things in perspective, when a person goes over 30 on the BMI chart, they are considered obese. One more French fry, and I’m pretty much done. Feeling fat, sad, and dejected, I hoisted myself off the examining table and slunk down the hall the way you’d expect someone of my immense proportions would. That hour I’d spent at the gym and that salad I’d suffered though instead of a burger turned out to be all for nothing.

So, my dear readers, if you’ve learned anything from this blog entry, I hope you’ve learned the importance of not being a fat red-light runner. Not that being a normal red-light runner is any better, but if you have a choice, take it from me and try not to be a fat one. Maybe if I weighed just a few pounds less, I wouldn’t have set off the red-light camera. My skinny friends never complain about getting tickets in the mail. Surely, there has to be some relation. I mean, if I don’t get things in check now, one day I may find that I no longer have the energy or flexibility to keep up with the dance moves from the latest Justin Bieber video. And who wants that? Oh, and before I forget to mention it, my doctor said that if I keep eating the way I do and not exercising as I should, I’ll be lucky if I live through the end of this senten…

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
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What Do You Mean I Look Sick?!?!?

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Oct• 21•12

I don’t look pale. I was born this way!!!

In my opinion, there is nothing worse than being sick. Then again, now that I think about it, arriving at a Starbucks five minutes after it has closed for the day is pretty bad. Oh, and cold fries from McDonald’s certainly ranks up there on the list of horrible things too. And I guess I should mention that having your rent check bounce isn’t too good—especially when it happens twice within the same week, and the only thing that keeps your landlord from tossing you and your fish out into the street is a last-minute presidential pardon.

But even worse than all of those things is returning to work after being out sick for a few days. I may feel well enough to do the Electric Slide or the Boot Scootin’ Boogie in my seat at each traffic light during the drive to work, but there is just something about taking that first step back into my cube that instantly makes me feel a little feverish and gives me hives. First and foremost, because of all your awesome awesomeness, your work has been left there for you to tackle just to let you know that it couldn’t possibly have been done as efficiently without you. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back for being so special. You deserve it!

In addition to that mound of responsibility that built up on your desk over the two or three days you were out that suddenly has to be done within a single 8-hour shift, you then have to maneuver through the gauntlet of questions to justify the reason for your absence. It’s as if people think you were in the middle of working on a spreadsheet on a Tuesday morning but then decided to gas up the private jet for a quick, 2-day trip to Paris. Granted, I used to do that type of thing, but now that I’m in my thirties and I have a blog, I’ve decided to use the jet more wisely—like when I’m headed out of state to meet up with foreign diplomats to talk about blog policy.

No lie, answering the follow-up questions when you return to work is like attempting to win the “Hunger Games” when your only weapon is a safety pin. If you had a fever of 104.6, then someone has to trump that by telling you about the one time they had a fever of 210.2 and lost an arm but still made it to work on time. Making matters even worse, they typically attribute that amazing accomplishment to the one cold and cough medicine that you weren’t smart enough to take. Silly you for not knowing that Robitussin with a shot of whiskey cures all. How foolish of you to have only taken three Tylenols, five Excedrins, twelve Advils, and a bottle of Dayquil before heading in to work that morning.

And if you’re truly lucky, you’ll have made some great friends and associates that will be more than happy to let you know whether your decision to come back to work was a good one or not. Like the person(s) who insists on letting you know that you still look horrible, and, if you were a dog, they’d recommend putting you out of your misery. Somehow, they can tell that you’re still sick just by looking at your eyes or your navel—don’t ask! In my opinion, this is one of the few times where honesty may not be the best policy unless you think that it will somehow boost a person’s confidence by telling them that they look like something out of a zombie movie. I don’t know about you, but that revelation has certainly not helped my self-esteem—ever. Thanks for trying, though.

Then, just as you’re starting to get into the grove of things, you hear a cough somewhere in the office and at least five people make claims that you’re the reason their throats hurt or that they sneezed two weeks ago. When this happens, apparently, it’s because the CIA has confirmed that you were the only person in the world to have had a cold on October 11th, so that is the only way your coworkers could have possibly been exposed to swine flu with a hint of chicken pox. Of course, this betrayal will make you want to pack your things and go right back home. However, once you’re at work, you’re kind of stuck—unless you force yourself to sneeze so hard that you pass out and roll around on the floor until you’re escorted out of the building and left on the curb to wait for the ambulance to arrive. If I were you, I wouldn’t do this more than twice within a one-year period because it becomes less effective with each use.

On the other hand, being sick allowed me to do some things during the weekday that I hadn’t done in years, like sleeping and washing the dishes. Oh, and did you know that there are television shows that come on during the day while everyone is at work? I didn’t even know that my TV worked between the hours of 8:30 and 5:30, much less that I’d find something on that was actually worth watching. Imagine my surprise when I was flipping through the channels and landed on these totally new shows called “The Price Is Right” and “The News.” I was totally astonished. I caught up on so many missed TV shows that I totally thought about calling out sick for just one more day so that I could rest from all the TV watching. If I had’ve been smart, I would have managed to squeeze in some homework in there, but I’m not, so I didn’t.

While we’re on the subject of things that make you sick, if you’re like me, realizing that you have a birthday in a few days is certainly enough to bring on a few coughs and a choke or two. I’m not sure how or why it happened, but at some point this year I fell asleep and woke up to find that we were in the middle of October, which is the same month that my birth mother claims I was born—as if she would know! It’s not like she was there or anything! And although some of my friends have been saying that I turned thirty-three a few years ago, the encyclopedia my source says that I’ll be turning thirty-three this year. I’m hoping this birthday will be a lucky since it falls in the 10th month on the 23rd day, and I’ll be turning 33 (get it 10 + 23 = 33). Look at me using math!!! I’m getting so smart in my old age. Well anyway, this year, as opposed to wishing for the winning lottery numbers again, which I’ve been doing since I was a toddler, I’m just going to hope and pray that I won’t be sick. And if I do get sick, I hope this isn’t the time that my veterinarian decides to put me down—again. It was such a pain making it into work after the last time.

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