Hypothetically Speaking . . .

. . . . . . . . Because Humor Matters

MBA Blues

Written By: Michael Rochelle - May• 19•19

I’m not recommending that you don’t get an MBA because it will be bad for you; I’m recommending that you don’t so I won’t have to compete with you. Self-preservation, baby!

As some of you may know, four score and fifty-three years ago, I decided to pursue a Master of Business Administration, also known as an MBA. The main reason I made this decision was because I wanted to add more capital letters to my name. My parents only gave me four, so I didn’t think I had enough. People have asked why I didn’t choose to pursue a Ph.D. instead. First of all, stop being so judgmental. Secondly, Ph.D. only has two capital letters whereas MBA has three. Clearly, an MBA is a better choice.

Although I only have 368 credits remaining toward my degree, I’m really starting to question my decision-making skills. I mean, I have a humor blog. Isn’t that good enough? Must we all aspire to greatness? Isn’t it OK to settle for being partially adequate? There are literally billions of people out there walking the earth that don’t have MBAs and they all seem to be doing OK. If you ask me, and I assume you did, personal growth is highly overrated.

Another reason I began the pursuit of an MBA back in 1872 was because I wanted to add some credibility to my existence. Imagine me walking into a Walmart and saying to the greeter “My name is Michael Rochelle, MBA.” That has so much more weight to it than some of the other labels I’ve been given. “I am Michael Rochelle, convict.” Or, “I am Michael Rochelle, poor.”

Without those three capital letters, part of me believes that there is a whole world of opportunities I may be missing out on. Maybe McDonald’s offers a discount on fries to MBAs. Maybe I’ll be let in through a secret back door at all the Janet Jackson and Beyoncé concerts if I simply wave my degree around. Or, even better, maybe my boss will stop calling my “peasant” every time I have a question. The possibilities seem limitless.

From my perspective, now that I’ve accumulated $1,356,892.53 in student loans, there have to be some hidden benefits to all of this. I mean, it is partially gratifying to see that whenever Good Morning America shows charts about U.S. student loan debt, they always have my name listed as a footnote since I make up most of the debt. See, I always knew I was destined to be famous one way or the other.

Rumor has it that the pursuit of an MBA degree can help to build a person’s skills and knowledge. I guess I can say this is true. Since I started the coursework, I haven’t been having as many issues counting the number of paper clips in my desk drawer as I used to. Of course, my counts are still off a bit, but at least I’m no longer off by hundreds like I used to be. See what happens when you only have an inner-city elementary school education, kids? I should have never dropped out of the fourth grade simply because they didn’t have the Fruit Roll-Ups color I wanted. I had a point to make. Grape Fruit Roll-Ups Matter!!!

If I’m completely honest, although my coursework makes me cry a lot and drink more than I used to, I have to give myself credit for making it this far. I remember going to Harvard to turn in my application. The admissions staff looked over my credentials and laughed for a good hour and a half. Making matters even worse, the admissions counselor walked my transcript around the campus to give faculty and students a chance to have a good cackle as well.

Fortunately, my mama was there to dry my tears and remind me that Harvard was just one possibility. It wasn’t their fault that they could only see my lack of potential. Picking up my pride off the sidewalk, I gave Harvard the finger and headed off to my next school of choice. Let me clarify. We didn’t exactly give them the finger you’re probably thinking of. My mom and I kind of stole a finger from one of the science labs to keep as a souvenir. Since Harvard wasn’t going to let me in, we decided to give it back. It seemed to be the Christian thing to do. And by Christian, we mean Christian Louboutin.

Next, we stopped at Johns Hopkins University where we were sure I would be welcomed with open arms. After all, they are based in Baltimore, which is where I’m from. My acceptance was pretty much guaranteed. However, we were wrong. As soon as we arrived, my mama and I were promptly escorted off the campus by security and a janitor. Apparently, my reputation as a former stripper had preceded me, so they wanted no parts of it.

As I was pulled by my left arm and my mama was yanked by her fake ponytail, I reminded the staff that my stripper days were long behind me. Nowadays, I only perform as Caramel Macchiato Thunder at sporadic graduations and company parties. I mean, the fact that I stripped at Apple’s holiday party and a pre-school graduation on the same day back in 2013 shouldn’t still be held against me. The video footage never even made it to YouTube.

Of course, all is not lost. I persevered. The 463rd school I applied to accepted me as long as I agreed to pay them an additional $10,000 per course and I promised to never—EVER—name the school in public. So, although I can’t share which school is allowing me to slowly crawl toward my MBA degree, as a small hint, I can say that my classes are held in the stockroom of an abandoned Family Dollar. If the room is in use because Alcoholics Anonymous also holds meetings there, we head over to the nearest 7-Eleven instead.

All of that noted, I sincerely apologize to my two readers for my delay in updating the blog. Although I thought I could breeze right through the coursework because my mama said I was kind of smart, it is taking me way longer to get the wrong answers on every test and homework assignment than I originally expected. Really, someone should have warned me about all the work you have to put in just to have three capital letters added behind your name. If I had known the pursuit of an MBA would be this intense, maybe I would have chosen a Ph.D. instead.

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: http://www.humormike.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

Carpets and Strippers and Grandmas, Oh My!

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Apr• 22•19

Look, Mama, I’m doing manual labor!

The other day I lost an argument to my carpet. You should have been there. It got pretty heated. At one point my sofa and my love seat had to hold me back. Well, if I’m completely honest, it wasn’t really an argument because it was very one-sided. I was actually being lectured. Apparently, my carpet has needs that I haven’t been meeting lately, so it decided to no longer just lie there and take it. It was very disturbing. I hadn’t been that distraught since that one time my first-grade teacher told me I had no skills or talents. It’s a cold world.

I learned about my carpet shortcoming because of another area of my life where I’d been falling short. Let’s just say I’d had one of those wild Friday nights where you have so much fun with yourself that you accidentally leave a raisin or two out on your counter and wake up to find your entire household under attack by an army of ants the next morning. It was my following the trail of ants across the counter, down the wall, and over to the front door that led me to the argument with my carpet.

Much like my life, from a distance, my carpet looked perfectly fine. However, up close, it was absolutely appalling. There was so much that I wish I could unsee. My carpet could have easily been mistaken for several crime scenes. At one point I even decided to call the police to allow them time to collect a few samples so I wouldn’t be brought up on evidence tampering charges—again. I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to go back to jail this year, even if orange is the new black.

As I looked at the carpet and the army of ants, I knew something had to change. I mean, who lives like that? Maybe my carpet had been the reason I’d been single for so long. All that time I’d thought it was my paltry looks and my less than desirable personality that kept people running for the hills, but maybe it was really my 50 shades of carpet stains that had been so problematic.

The experience was very eye-opening. Although I was happy to cancel the face and personality replacement surgeries I had scheduled with a doctor who offered his services on eBay, it was clear that I needed to get my entire life together and become a better person fast. The ants and the carpet agreed.

After I vanquished the ants Game of Thrones style, I got my mom, my team of shrinks, and somebody’s pastor on a conference call to seek their advice. After 3 hours of debating, it was clear that none of them knew what they were talking about or had any reasonable insight. In life, it’s your responsibility to know when people are being unhelpful and unrealistic, so I went to the next best sources for guidance: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

I’d barely begun my search when I stumbled across a nugget of wisdom from some lady who advised, “Eat bread and desserts and just get all fat and sassy.” Clearly, this lady was after my own heart. I identified with her immediately. Although I’m allegedly working on my beach body, I would love nothing more than to sit back, eat bread, and be sassy. However, I didn’t think either of those things would clean my carpet, so I kept searching.

The next source recommended that I wear comfortable underwear. This was very intriguing. I pondered the connection between wearing comfortable underwear and being a better person. After a while, it started to make sense. At least once a day, my manager, my mom, and the Walmart greeter each tell me to stop getting my panties in a bunch. They are so wise.

While we’re on the topic, if I’m allowed to be honest, on most days I’m not even wearing panties. I don’t really like the word. It’s not that I have anything against panties, to each his own, but I’m more of a boxer shorts kind of guy. However, back in my stripper days, I was forced to try out other styles of undies. I learned quickly that boxers aren’t a crowd favorite. All the grandmas in the audience gave me way fewer quarters when I wore boxers than when I got more creative with my unmentionables. Surprisingly, grandmas really like thongs.

Another source I found recommended that I compliment myself more to become a better person. At first, the concept seemed weird and uncomfortable. I mean, what would I compliment myself about? “Whew, Michael, you sure ate that hamburger well.” Or, “Oh, Michael, the way you pushed that button on the elevator today was absolutely superb.” I was also a bit concerned about getting a big head. I mean, in addition to my being extraordinarily handsome, intelligent and overall fantastic, I’m extremely humble.

Eventually, I started to make the compliments about me specifically. Each morning I stand there in the mirror and congratulate myself on whatever jumps out at me. Sometimes I give myself props on the way my grey hairs divert attention from my crow’s feet. Sometimes I give myself kudos on the way my belly looks like there could be abs somewhere in there. The whole compliment process has added an additional 30 minutes to my daily routine, but if it helps make me better, I guess it’ll all be worth it in the end.

After days and days of giving myself compliments, I realized that my carpet still wasn’t clean. No matter how much I wished the stains would go away on their own, they just wouldn’t. After consulting my team of shrinks, I did what any normal person would do. I threw on my best underwear, turned on some Beyoncé, and got all sassy while working my vacuum cleaner. I figured it was a step in the right direction. The remaining ants agreed.

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: http://www.humormike.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

Mama, I Must Confess

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Mar• 31•19

OMG, What Are Those?!?!

So, allegedly, honesty is the best policy. Actually, someone probably made that up just to make people feel bad about shopping on Amazon at 3 o’clock in the morning and then telling your significant other you have no idea why packages keep being delivered at your front door. For me, I always blame it on my fish. They’ve gotten very active online since I brought them iPads. One of my fish even has more Instagram followers than I do.

In any case, I have a slight confession. Yes, I was arrested back in 1932 in a very unfortunate mix-up over herbal shampoo. I mean, if the package says it’s organic, then that’s what the product should be. I was simply explaining my viewpoint to the manager when—never mind. It’s not important, and that’s not exactly the confession I need to make. At least not today.

Instead, my dear readers, I have to confess that after holding out for over two years, I may have accidentally purchased AirPods. Wait a minute. Before you judge, please hear me out. I know you’ve come to expect more from me. And you expect a certain level of transparency here. I get that. Perhaps you’ve never thought paparazzi would ever catch a photo of me with those things hanging out of my ears. Well, I apologize in advance for letting you down. You truly don’t deserve this.

However, since this thing has happened. I feel there is nothing that we can do except to face it head-on and move forward. The deed has been done. My fate is sealed. The AirPods are here, so we must address the shiny new white elephants in the room.

Because we are a mature crowd, I won’t trouble you by bringing up the variety of things I’ve heard people say that AirPods look like when they are dangling from a person’s ears. I won’t even mention it. It’s completely unnecessary. I won’t bring it up. We are above that. And I don’t think they look anything like tampons anyway, so there is no point in even addressing it. Nope. I refuse. We’re better than that. Kind of.

Fortunately, I waited so long to buy them that there are numerous articles and guides on how to wear them without looking silly. According to my grandma, none of those techniques work for me. Whenever I wear them around her, she just laughs. One time she cackled for a full 45 minutes before I finally decided to take them off and hide them under the bed out of respect. It was the least I could do for the person who had introduced me to my first cup of coffee when I was five.

That aside, some of the concerns about AirPods are well-founded. For some, just randomly talking to Siri in public is a problem. For me, it added a bit of validity to the fact that I already talk to myself anyway. I mean, sometimes you’re standing in the middle of the grocery store and you find that to be the perfect time to argue with yourself about important things like the meaning of life or whether Charmin is better than the competitors.

I find that having the AirPods serves as a great alibi. Whenever someone starts to look at me like I’m crazy because they overhear me arguing with myself over which Beyoncé album is best, I normally just clutch my ear and say, “Oh, don’t mind me. I’m talking to Siri. Siri just said she liked Beyoncé better when she was with Destiny’s Child. I don’t agree.”

There are times when Siri truly does come in handy. I’ve started asking her to change songs and adjust the volume for me. However, I had to learn the hard way that if you don’t have phone service, Siri is absolutely no help. On several occasions I’ve found myself in an uncomfortable circumstance in the restroom and asked Siri to bring me some toilet paper. In those instances, she has always let me down. She says “searching,” but she never actually shows up with anything. I’ve sat there waiting for hours. It’s truly disappointing.

A surprising bonus that seems to have come from having these things dangling from my ears is that it appears I now look less threatening when I roam the streets than before. Instead of ladies seeing me and clutching their purses tightly, they tense up and then relax a bit once they see the AirPods. They immediately understand that if I can afford AirPods, I don’t need the $5 and dusty mints they have in their purse.

These things make me look so trustworthy that one lady saw them and handed me her newborn while she reached for some oatmeal on a top shelf at the grocery store. I told her it would probably be easier for her to hold the baby while I got the item from the shelf, but she insisted. Three minutes later, after she’d run off to get a manager to help, she finally got the oatmeal down and I handed her baby back to her. It wasn’t a moment too soon either. That baby definitely needed Siri to find some toilet paper quick.

Because I no longer have wires hanging down my shirt, it makes it a bit harder to pretend I don’t notice people trying to talk to me or get my attention. When I’m on the street, I usually shrug and walk away quickly while pointing to my AirPods. However, this is not as effective when I’m at work. Whenever my director calls on me during a meeting, I have to point to my ears and say I didn’t hear the question because I was listening to Hannah Montana. She’s never exactly happy with my response. It’s probably my choice of music that upsets her. If I had said I was listening to Cardi B, she would probably understand.

Lastly, I think it’s important to dispel the myth stating that people who don’t have AirPods are broke. In my case, it’s the exact opposite. I’m now broke because I have AirPods. At an interest rate of 1,492%, Visa says I’ll be paying for these things through at least 2099. I just hope they’ll last long enough so I’ll be able to leave them and the remaining credit card balance to my children’s children. I’ll let them figure it out. I won’t be here, so it won’t be my problem.

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: http://www.humormike.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

The SlimFast Chronicles

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Mar• 17•19

Anybody want a mixed drink?

The other week, I was challenged by my manager to join her in doing the SlimFast diet. Now, any reasonable person probably would have revolted for several reasons. However, because I am neither reasonable, nor am I a person, I agreed to join her on the weight loss journey. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering why I didn’t stomp my feet, toss my laptop out the window, and storm off when she asked for my participation. Well, for one, I’d already done that several times that week, and you really shouldn’t overdo it. If you do that more than five times, you end up in fired city. Don’t ask me how I know. I just do.

Perhaps I was a tad bit agreeable to my manager’s request because she handles my performance evaluations each year. I remember her disappointment that one year she thought my use of paper clips was excessive and caused a deficit in the company’s office supply budget. That was a very tough time for me. This year I’d like to be rated more than a “needs drastic improvement.” For me, it would be a first.

As you all know, for the last few years, I’ve been preparing my body for Summer 2025. If things don’t work out as planned, I’ll shoot for Summer 2030 instead. I know what you’re thinking. 2025 is at least eighteen years away. Well, my shrink says I need to be realistic when setting goals, so I’m governing myself accordingly. If McDonald’s fries ever go on sale, I can pretty much cancel any alleged dieting plans.

Although I agreed to do the diet thing, there are a few problems with me beginning to embark on this journey. First, if anyone should know how terrible I am at pursuing a goal, you would think it would be my manager. She should have known better than to consider me reliable. I mean, after she documented all of that disappointment in my work effort last year, you would think she would have learned not to challenge me with anything besides maybe showing up partially on time on the days I make it to work. But, nope, not her.

The second problem is that SlimFast has several flavors, but none of them are steak, Big Mac, or vodka martini. If I’m being honest, this is a real oversight on management’s part. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry are fine and all, but I wouldn’t exactly call them original or groundbreaking. However, the person who comes up with a pizza flavor, or maybe even a creamy iPhone glaze, that person should be voted Miss America or elected to Congress immediately for their contributions.

Because I’m an overachiever, I opted for the two-meal replacement plan. Under this legal arrangement, I would have a shake for breakfast, a shake for dinner, and a sensible meal for lunch. Where I went wrong was with my definition of “sensible.” You see, I considered a cheesesteak, fries, and a large Coke to be “sensible.” I also thought fried pork chops, mashed potatoes and a Long Island Iced Tea were “sensible.” However, SlimFast and my team of shrinks did not agree. We didn’t agree to disagree either.

Fortunately, a coworker was nice enough to pull me to the side to address the error of my ways, which I’ve found to be a recurring theme in my life. First, she sat me down and handed me a dictionary. All I remember is that the word sensible means something, something, yadda yadda yadda, good sense and sound judgment. This is probably where I went wrong. Anyone who knows me knows that good sense and I do not go together. Clearly, one of these things just doesn’t belong.

Secondly, my coworker pointed out that I was supposed to be restricting the one meal I was allowed to eat down to only 500 calories. 500 calories!!!! I immediately had several problems with this revelation. I mean, I searched the world over and didn’t find any quarter pounder and large fry combos that were less than 500 calories. Adding insult to injury, no matter how I played with the numbers, I couldn’t find a way to squeeze in a bottle of wine and a Mai Tai without exceeding the daily calorie limit. Absolutely unacceptable on multiple accounts!

After the lecture, I decided to dig my heels in and commit to the diet. It was the least I could do. I mean, by this point I had already purchased several boxes of the shakes, so I was going to drink them one way or the other. When you think about it, I believe people have done way harder things than doing the SlimFast diet. I mean, the other day I saw someone running down the block after a dollar bill. In comparison, that’s arguably a lot harder.

Although there aren’t as many flavors of SlimFast as I would like, in case you want to jazz things up a bit, I can say that some of the flavors go really well with Kahlua or Baileys. Oh, and before I forget, if you want to give the shake an extra boost, adding two or eight scoops of chocolate ice cream always helps. Once I made those minor adjustments, I was good to go.

If you’re wondering if I felt deprived while being on the diet, the answer is yes. I absolutely did feel deprived. On most days I found myself staring off into space daydreaming about steak and potatoes. I don’t know how vivid your daydreams are, but in mine, the steak and potatoes broke out into song and did various dances to get my attention. If you’ve never seen lasagna twerk, you’re really missing out.

That noted, after several weeks on the diet, I am sad to announce that, instead of losing weight, I have somehow gained ten pounds. I’m not exactly sure how this happened. When making my Kahlua milkshakes, I know I measured the ice cream and SlimFast proportions accurately. Even when I ate a whole pizza for dinner, I washed it down with a SlimFast, so that should have offset at least some of the calories of the pizza. However, it doesn’t appear that things worked out that way. In any case, all hope is not lost. Maybe next week I’ll make my SlimFast milkshakes with only seven scoops of ice cream instead of eight. I hope that will help.

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: http://www.humormike.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

Pickles and Pregnancies

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Feb• 17•19

The other day, I was minding my own business in the middle of Target. As usual, I was only there to pick up one or two items, but I ended up with a cart full of stuff. It’s really not my fault though. Once you find out that BiC has a line of gel pens in assorted colors, you do what you have to do. At that point, they’re a necessity. Once you know better, you do better.

For those of you wondering, yes, I did have a shopping list. The problem is, I usually take a pen with me so that I can add things to the list as I go along. My shrink says I need to be more accountable, so at least I can be honest when I tell her that I only got the things that were on my list. There is no need to overshare and tell her exactly when I added the items to the list. I mean, it’s really none of her business.

After making major life decisions about colored markers, I made my way over to the food section. Before I go any further, I must address some disturbing news I heard on The Joe Budden Podcast. Apparently, the world is split into two types of people: those who feel it’s ok to buy food from Target, and those who don’t. This was news to me.

You should have heard the disgust in the hosts’ voices as they talked about people buying tomatoes off aisle six. They mentioned something about Target having a smell and there being something wrong with purchasing your underwear and your spaghetti from the same place. From their perspective, you might as well have gone dumpster diving at a landfill for leftover lobster and potato chips.

I, myself, have never thought about it that way, but I did start wondering if I had been one of the people they observed getting excited and doing a jig after finding bananas and Ziploc bags on sale. For me, it really is about the little things. You should see what I do whenever they take a nickel off the price of Pop-Tarts. Let’s just say you may have to cover your toddler’s eyes.

As I was strolling down the condiment aisle, trying to decide which mustard would make my mama proud, my eyes landed on a jar of pickles. Suddenly, everything seemed right with the world. Before I realized what was happening, I had moonwalked right on over to the Vlasics as if they were a new invention. I never knew that choosing dill spears could be so thrilling. If I wasn’t middle-aged, I would have done a back flip right there in front of the bottles of hot sauce and relish.

Twenty minutes later, as I was still deciding which pickle jar would be coming home with me, I hit a wall of panic and dread. Why was I craving pickles all of a sudden? I probably hadn’t eaten a pickle since at least 1984, but at that moment, I would have chosen pickles as my last meal if I were given the opportunity. Something was clearly wrong.

I ran over the various possibilities in my head. But, because I never trust my own information, I tapped the lady next to me on her shoulder and asked for feedback. She had on jeans and UGG boots, so I knew she was smart. She looked me over and said that I was probably ovulating or about to get my period. When I informed her that I was a guy, (it’s 2019, so I understand why she didn’t want to make any assumptions), she told me it didn’t matter. Hmm. Maybe she was onto something.

Immediately, I grabbed my phone to ask Siri if I was ovulating. If anyone should know my cycle, it would be her. When she responded, “I’m on my break,” I decided to take matters into my own hands and quickly headed over to the feminine hygiene section. One way or the other, I was going to get to the bottom of this.

As I passed a variety of feminine products that I would never quite understand, some with wings and some without, I did my Googles to narrow down my search. It was then that I was assaulted by an idea I hadn’t considered yet. Maybe I wasn’t ovulating or getting my period at all. Maybe I was pregnant. How would I explain this to my mom? Who was the father? Was I the father? I fainted. Fortunately, I landed on a shelf of maxi pads, which broke my fall. For the record, they really are absorbent! I didn’t feel a thing.

Frightened by the idea that I could be with child, I considered the options. What type of mother would I be? What if I was having triplets? More importantly, do they even sell fashionable maternity clothing for men? It was at this point that I realized I was getting way ahead of myself. Before jumping to any conclusions, I would have to do what any normal guy in my situation would do: I would have to take a pregnancy test.

As I looked at the test options, I realized how unprepared I was for this venture. Some were digital, and some weren’t. Some could provide my results within a minute, while others would take a little longer. Some showed the results as a plus or minus, and others displayed your fate with either one line or two. It was as if you needed a college degree just to understand the options. If I chose correctly, I could take the test right there on aisle ten and learn whether I’d be a mother before I made it to the checkout line. I wasn’t excited.

Well, my dear readers, I am happy to share with you that I am not pregnant. Just to be sure, I took 8 tests back to back. I even had several other Target customers and a manager look at the tests behind me to confirm. I am not sure why I got so many strange looks as I thrust the used test sticks toward them. I just wanted them to give a second opinion. After all, my life was depending on this.

As it turns out, I wasn’t ovulating or on my period either. Now, I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable by oversharing, but I can say that I took a test to prove I wasn’t ovulating, and I chose one of the options with wings to find out whether I was on my period or not. After walking around uncomfortably for a whole week, I can say that Aunt Flo and the Redcoats never showed. It was a joyous occasion.

Now that I think about it, maybe it was a bit unrealistic for me to have even thought that I was pregnant. I mean, I’d opted to be spayed and neutered years ago to avoid these types of scares, so I really should have known that there was no need to be picking out car seats and bassinets so quickly. Apparently, you can want a pickle just because you want a pickle, and it doesn’t automatically mean you’re having quadruplets. Very good to know.

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: http://www.humormike.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

90 Day Fiancé

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jan• 21•19

I’ve got love on the brain…or on the finger.

So, I was minding my own business at a comedy club the other day. No, I was not performing. Although I appreciate your faith in me, I’m just not at that level yet. Give me about 10 more years of performing for my fish in the comfort of my own dining room and then maybe I’ll be ready. I need more time to perfect my act. As a matter of fact, I’ve been working on this totally new joke concept. No one’s ever heard of it yet. Ok, three men and a baby walk into a bar—umm, never mind. Let me copyright that first.

Instead of me performing, I was there to see Heather McDonald. Because I appeared to be the only person there by myself, other attendees decided they needed to investigate. Who was this weird creature that dared go out and about all by his lonesome? Well, once my background check turned out ok, they labeled me “a single” and allowed me to stay for the show. And, because I know what you’re wondering, yes, I did pee in a cup. I’m just happy they got my results so quickly.

Anyway, once they accepted me as a person, although they still gave me the side eye every once in a while, my new friends started telling me about a TV show called 90 Day Fiancé. For those that haven’t paid their cable bill in a few years, (I have a GoFundMe to help pay mine), the show is about foreigners who use 90-day engagement visas to get into the US. Once they arrive, they have to marry within 90 days. Immediately, I had questions.

At first, I couldn’t tell whether I was being told about the show because they wanted me to watch it, or because they wanted me to be on the show. Now, I know I’m considered “a single,” but I don’t think my situation is that drastic just yet. I mean, I have at least two more weeks before I should start considering taking out a global personal ad. I’m not even sure, how much that sort of thing would cost. Perhaps I should just take out a few billboards on the side of the highway instead. Just imagine a huge advertisement with my picture on it popping up every three miles on your local interstate.

Although I’ve always wanted to be on a TV show, I had a few things to consider. I mean, what if someone who didn’t speak English found me absolutely adorable and responded to my ad? How would they read my blog? Clearly, the number one thing I look for in a mate is their ability to pat me on the head and tell me what a good job I did on my latest post. It could take years for them to learn to say, “Michael, you’re awesome.” Who has time for that? If your spouse can’t support and promote your blog, then what’s the point of marriage anyway?

If I am completely honest, I may have fantasized just a tad about my foreign soulmate and our wedding day. I wondered if I would wear white. I wondered if Beyoncé would be available to sing while my mother walked me down the aisle. I also wondered if The Electric Slide is listed as a required dance in the marriage handbook. Before now, I had no reason to be concerned about these sorts of things. Somehow, the idea of starring on 90 Dance Fiancé gave my life a new sense of purpose and endless possibilities.

I was just about to start putting out calls to wedding caterers when my new friends informed me they only wanted to know if I watched the show. Just like that, my dreams were shattered. Apparently, I wouldn’t be needing Beyoncé after all. I was just glad I was able to cancel the 50 red doves I’d ordered off Amazon Prime.

Once things were cleared up, I was told to watch the show because it makes you feel better about your own life. Something about that concept seemed wrong, but also seemed very intriguing at the same time. I mean, the whole reason I see my team of shrinks is so that I can feel better about my life, right? Could I avoid paying that weekly copay simply by watching a TV show?

I started watching as soon as I got home as if it were a homework assignment. I was hooked almost immediately for all the wrong reasons. Watching these “couples” interact was as fascinating and suspenseful as me wondering whether I’d pass a credit check. For the record, I never exactly “pass” a credit check, but it never hurts to try. I simply tell them to run the numbers again until the results are better.

If I am completely honest, watching these alleged relationships was very eye-opening. It was like having a lesson in all the things not to do to be a successful couple. I took notes. One day when I order my spouse off eBay, these notes may come in handy. A key observation I made is that I’ve had more meaningful connections with my gynecologist than some of these “couples” have with each other. And, because I’m a guy, that’s pretty hard to do. All of my gynecologist visits start with the doctor asking me why I’m there. We work through it though. It’s fine.

A key theme of the show is the disappointment that the foreigner feels when they come to the US. Their hopes and dreams are shattered almost as soon as they step off the plane and some even call it a nightmare. Though a tad bit dramatic, it reminds me of some of my most recent blind dates. As soon as I walk in and the person realizes I’m the one they’re meeting, the light kind of disappears from their eyes. Maybe it’s my fault. Perhaps I should stop using Brad Pitt’s photo as my dating profile picture. However, it can be argued that Brad Pitt and I do kind of look alike—especially when you squint and view us both in dark lighting after you’ve had four or five shots of vodka.

While watching, I remembered that I originally thought I was supposed to star on the show. I may have even accidentally gone to the TLC website to fill out an application and to send in a recent headshot. Unfortunately, I didn’t get too far into the process before I realized I wasn’t their ideal candidate. They need their cast members to be flawed, so, clearly, I am out of the running. My team of shrinks agree.

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: http://www.humormike.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

Piano for Dummies…or for Michaels

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jan• 06•19

This time next year, I will know how to play “Ode to Joy.”

When I was just a little boy, you know, back in 1858, I had big dreams of what I would become when I grew up. I don’t remember ever wanting to be a teacher, or a doctor, or a bus driver. Instead, I wanted to be famous. I didn’t know how I would become famous, exactly, but I knew it would involve me being either a rapper, an actor, a singer, a dancer or a stripper. Perhaps I’d be a dancer who stripped, or a stripper who danced. Either way would work as long as my name was in lights.

At some point, my mother thought tap dance lessons would be a good idea. Apparently, she forgot to factor in that we were from the hood. As if I didn’t have enough things working against me, if I had ever walked out that front door wearing tap shoes, I wouldn’t have made it down the block. The only safe place for me to tap dance in Baltimore was in the closet, and there just wasn’t enough space for that. The closet was also my bedroom and recreation area.

Furthermore, coordination has never really been my strongest suit. Whereas some people seem to dance with ease, it has always taken a lot of focus and brain power for me to get these legs and hands to do exactly what I want them to, when I want them to. It appears that my arms hear jazz while my hands hear country and my legs hear hip hop. It also doesn’t help that I thought I had arthritis at the age of five because my grandma kept saying she had it and I wanted to fit in.

After trying out for the dance team at school and being shown the door, I tried my hand at singing. For some reason, I thought that my singing in soft, low tones was beautiful. I called myself mastering a Mariah Carey song before trying out for the choir. I was halfway through the first verse when the teacher escorted me out of the room and told me not to come back until I had a better voice, which is pretty harsh when you’re 7.

Even as a child, some would say that I had a flair for the dramatic, so, naturally, I enrolled in drama class. At that point, I was getting smart. I knew better than to try out for optional, after-school activities. Instead, because it was an actual class, I figured the teacher would be stuck with me. That’s right, I had the drama teacher by the gills. No matter what I brought to the table, he would have to invest time in me and make me an Oscar-winning actor.

Or so I thought.

My drama teacher absolutely hated me. And not just some typical teacher-student general hate. Oh no. My teacher’s hate for me was on that same level of hate that you get for simply writing “good morning” on Twitter. As I’ve learned the hard way, nobody wants or has time for your funky little positivity on there. As a matter of fact, maybe my drama teacher started Twitter. Hmmm. I’ll look into it.

Although my teacher couldn’t exactly fire me as a student, he did have incredible power. Instead of me ever having anything close to a leading role, I was always cast in single-word, offstage parts. My teacher pulled me to the side and explained, “Michael, there are no small parts, only small actors. And you, Michael, are very small.” He then went on to tell me that I was not going to ruin whatever Shakespeare play we were working on under any circumstances. Not on his watch!

Of course, my next stop on the road to fame was to take up piano. When I think about it, I was truly an innovator with my thought process because I chose piano before people like John Legend, Lady Gaga, and Alicia Keys made it cool. Ok, so maybe I didn’t decide this before Elton John was a thing, but he’s at least 362, so not many people can say that they did anything before he did. After all, he invented the piano.

I have mastered this one note!

As it turns out, the piano wasn’t exactly my groove. I thought you could sit there and go from playing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” to playing Beethoven or Mozart in one or two sessions. Unfortunately, I was wrong. On day one my instructor started talking about reading music and knowing octaves, so my brain shut off. Because I almost died of boredom during that session, I voted piano lessons off the island at the next tribal council. My mom was actually happy about this because it allowed her to save $3 a week, which was equivalent to one month’s rent.

Now that I’m an adult and somewhat more mature, my desire to learn to sing and play piano has returned. Well, if I’m being honest, I’m trying to find relaxing activities to get into to offset the stress of Big Macs being 2 for $5 when I specifically asked McDonald’s to reduce them down to $1 a piece at most. See, that’s the problem with the world today. Nobody listens.

Surprisingly, even though it’s 2019, if you want to learn piano, there still hasn’t been any major advancements in that area. There isn’t a pill or a quick course you can take that will have you playing like a professional within a few minutes. I just wish I had known that before I put the ad out on Craigslist to be the musical guest at several weddings. And maybe I shouldn’t have tried to join the orchestra until I knew how to do more than find middle C, which is still the only note I know.

Fortunately, this time around, I didn’t have to sign up for classes, which I think would have killed me. As a matter of fact, while we’re on the subject, perhaps forced piano lessons should be used as capital punishment for citizens who choose to break the law by going 36 in a 35 mile-per-hour zone. Clearly, I’m no criminal justice major, so perhaps forced piano lessons may be a bit excessive as a punishment, but it should at least be considered.

This time around, because I know that in-person lessons or working my way through a piano book on my own would make me feel like I was on death row, I have become like a toddler who purchases millions of apps on his mom’s iPad to keep me entertained. So far, I think it’s working. After several weeks of practice, I can find middle C a lot quicker. Although I can’t do it when I’m blindfolded and acting out scenes from Bird Box, I have high hopes that I will master that at any moment now.

On the flip side, although I embarked on this piano journey to help relieve stress, I have to say that the stress seems to return every month when I see the cost of the app subscriptions. As Homer Simpson would say, my bank statement gives me many reasons to slap my hand against my head and go, “D’oh!” Apparently, learning a new instrument isn’t cheap even if you have a Groupon. Maybe I’ll have to go back to stripping.

If you want me to play “We Are The Champions” at your wedding, I may be able to do that!

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: http://www.humormike.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

Becoming Michael

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Dec• 23•18

Me and Bugsy

First of all, I’m sure you’ve probably heard the news about me filing that lawsuit against Michelle Obama for releasing her new book Becoming. It is truly unfortunate, but I can assure you it’s not my fault. It is no secret that I copyrighted the titles Becoming Michael and Becoming Michelle years ago. If she wanted to use either one of them, she could have simply asked. If there is one thing that people always say about me, it’s that I’m reasonable. If there is another thing said about me, it’s that I’m beautiful.

I know what you’re wondering. Why did I copyright both titles? Well, I like to keep my options open. Today I feel like a Michael, but tomorrow, maybe I’ll feel like a Michelle. Who knows? I believe in equality. That noted, I have also copyrighted Becoming Steve, Becoming Ted, and Becoming Nancy just in case. Govern yourselves accordingly.

Anyway, I tried to give Michelle the benefit of the doubt. I tried to be understanding, but the more I thought about it, the more the thievery seemed intentional. I mean, where else would she have gotten the title? It’s not like Michael and Michelle are common names. She didn’t choose those randomly. Clearly, she reads my blog and pilfered the idea. As a matter of fact, even her book cover looks just like the picture I took a few moments ago.

Exhibit A – Proof!!!!!

Look at the hair. Look at that smile. Clearly, she copied me. I have a case.

On the flip side, since her version of my book has sold a zillion copies, there is now renewed interest in my memoir. Apparently, there is a market for my life story. Several publishers believe they can sell at least three copies in the first week. That noted, I’m considering all offers. If any publishers believe they can sell four copies in the first week, I’m quitting my job on the spot and signing on that dotted line.

Now that Michelle has released her book, I guess I can no longer publish the story of how I met Barack and how we keep things together after all these years. However, I can share that I went to Los Angeles a few weeks ago and I was almost discovered. By “almost discovered,” I mean that I crossed a street that I’m sure Steven Spielberg drove down several years ago. If only I had timed my visit better, perhaps I would have gotten my big break in the original Jurassic Park movie playing one of the raptors.

After saving up for 75 years, I finally had enough money to make a return trip to Los Angeles. I had gone a few years ago, but had very limited time then, so I needed to go back to make my big break. I mean, I expected to bump into Oprah or Will Smith within moments of my arrival. I thought I’d be standing in a parking lot evaluating whatever writing, acting, singing, or modeling contract they wanted to offer me. I mean, if I’m anything, I’m versatile.

Once it became clear that I wasn’t going to be discovered while tying my shoe in front of a Rite Aid, I had to make hotel arrangements. I was sure Will and Jada would have let me sleep on his couch, but since he left me hanging, I had to make other plans. That noted, let me give you guys a word of advice when searching for hotels. If the room costs $5 or less per night, there is probably a good reason why. If the location has less than one star on Yelp, I would avoid it if you value your life or your wallet. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I had to learn this the hard way.

After spending the first night hiding under the bed and ignoring the sound of gunshots outside the window and in the hallway, I decided to use what seemed like it could be my last day on earth to do some studio backlot tours. If the studio execs weren’t ready to come to me, I was going to go to them with a prepared monologue, a song, and a dance number that I could execute at any moment.

When I learned that The Ellen DeGeneres Show filmed at Warner Bros. Studio, I made their backlot tour my first stop. Of course, Ellen would have me on her show! I was sure of it. If worse came to worst, and she needed a little nudging, I could simply remind her about how I used to coach her back in the 70s. If we are being completely honest, some of those comedy routines and dance moves are clearly mine. Everyone knows that. Maybe I should sue her too.

Since I am no fool, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to just walk on the backlot and see Ellen. I assumed there would be a whole security process involved. Well, as soon as I saw someone who looked like they had some authority and clout, I burst into a very Michael rendition of “Shallow” from A Star is Born. Because I’m a professional, I did both the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper parts. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. The show must always go on.

During my big finale, I did a quick shuffle and a high kick before launching into a Shim Sham Shimmy with arms-arms and a crossover then finished with a step-ball-change. As I held the final position and tried to catch my breath while ignoring the bead of sweat rolling down my nose, the observer asked, “Was that for me?” When I assured him it was, he informed me that he was the janitor. Despite that, on a scale of one to ten, he gave me a solid two, patted me on the head, and encouraged me to keep trying.

When it became clear that I would not be seeing Ellen during my visit, I decided to go to Universal Studios Hollywood instead. I figured that I would run into Jimmy Fallon, who was sure to be way more reasonable than the janitor at Warner Bros. If not, perhaps Kristen Bell would be filming The Good Place and would want some notes on her performance, which I was more than willing to provide. As I walked around the lot, I decided I would not do a single dance step until I knew I was performing for the right people. I had learned my lesson. That mistake was not going to happen to me more than once in a single day.

As you may have guessed, I didn’t run into Jimmy Fallon or Kristen Bell. However, I did meet some very lovely security guards who escorted me off the premises for appearing suspicious. I asked them if they had any idea who they were dealing with. They didn’t. I was shocked they didn’t know that I had come up with the original idea for Becoming. Here Michael or Michelle was standing there right before them and they couldn’t have cared less. I’m adding that to the lawsuit.

One Sweet Day!

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: www.humormike.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: www.instagram.com/HumorMike
Twitter: www.twitter.com/mikeyllo

And That’s When You Go Cry in Your Closet

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Dec• 09•18

Is he crying or hitting the Mariah Carey high note, who knows?

So, during one of my recent daily appointments with my team of shrinks, one of them had some pretty interesting feedback for me. Of course, I don’t just take any random person’s opinion at face value—even if I’m paying them for it and they just so happen to have multiple degrees on the subject matter. Instead, I did what any normal person would do, I made my team of shrinks take a vote on it. When I didn’t like the outcome, I demanded a recount, and rightfully so.

Apparently, my shrinks seem to think that I hold stuff inside and they suggested I stop burying my feelings. I thought this was a bit odd. I mean, I have a whole blog and all. Isn’t that the very definition of sharing? As a matter of fact, some would say I overshare. I remember that post where I wrote about my experiencing menopause at age 25, which was tough for me to admit because I’m kind of a guy. After I politely asked my shrinks to mind their business, they told me I needed to work on accepting feedback, so I fired them—all of them.

Fortunately, I keep a few backup shrinks on standby just for these types of moments. When my favorite backup shrink agreed with my former shrinks, I began to think that maybe their opinion had some merit. I decided to give being more open a try. I started by telling my shrink that she was my best friend in the whole world and I gave her a big hug. That’s when she broke up with me and had me escorted out of the building. She said something about the nature of our relationship being inappropriate. See, that’s exactly what happens when you share your feelings with people.

Anyway, the feedback to share more led me to call my dad the other day. I had something on my heart that I really wanted to get out. When he answered, I asked him if he was sitting down and if now was a good time to talk. Because he knew this was a serious matter that would require his full attention, he took a shot of tequila, a shot of vodka, and then had a rum chaser. When he was ready, I took a deep breath and began to let it all out.

I put all my cards on the table. As warm tears rolled down my cheeks, I asked my dad what he had against dogs wearing Christmas sweaters. For the life of me, I don’t have any childhood memories of our furry dog friends having cute outfits. I told him it was his fault and it was still bothering me as an adult. Perhaps I would have more confidence in myself if only I had seen our dogs strutting around in winter jackets and matching mittens.

At that point, my dad said something about barely having the money to put food on the table and to keep the lights on. I knew he would go there, so I was prepared. I told him that was not the point, and that his not having money shouldn’t be his answer for everything. He got a tad bit upset, but I had been advised by people with degrees to share more, and so I did. Twenty minutes later, he was still yelling and using terms like “ungrateful” and “I wished I never had a son.” My dad can be really dramatic at times. He should probably see someone about that.

Now that I think about it, maybe my request for all the dogs to have Christmas sweaters was a bit unreasonable. Although it may have been fine for us to dress up the smaller dogs in cocktail dresses for special occasions, I couldn’t imagine trying to put a black mini dress on a Rottweiler. And what if the dog didn’t like Christmas? Would it be fair to dress up our German Shepherd like Santa if celebrating the holiday is against its religion? I certainly don’t think so.

Once my dad calmed down a bit and offered to put me back into his will, I told him not to worry about it. Sure, we were the only family on the block who didn’t buy their dogs pink ankle boots, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, if the dogs had a problem with their lack of clothing and accessories, it was on them to communicate that.

Speaking of letting things out, there is something about the combination of the wind and cold that happens this time of year that bothers my eyes. For some reason, a cold breeze makes me tear up faster than a romantic comedy where everyone dies at the end. Before my shrink broke up with me, I had asked her to take a look to see if she could find out what was going on. She explained to me that eye care was not her expertise. I ignored it, told her she was a doctor, and asked her to get her stethoscope.

Because my shrink couldn’t solve my problem, my eyes have been leaking all over the city. I’ve leaked on the Metro. I’ve leaked at Starbucks. I leaked while trying to have a conversation with a homeless guy on the street. As I repeatedly dabbed at my eyes, he asked if I was crying. I told him it was just the wind, to which he replied, “That’s what they all say.” I laughed and leaked a little more right there on the curb.

At that point, the homeless guy told me it was ok to cry. I thanked him for the support and said I was going to go leak in the privacy of my office. He then told me that I didn’t have to cry alone. He patted his shoulder and said, “You can cry right here, buddy.” Three hours later, his jacket was completely soaked, but I felt so much better. Who knew that crying on a stranger’s shoulder could feel so good! I recommend you find the nearest stranger and leak all over them for as long as you need to.

And the Oscar should really go to Michael here! Look at all that fake emotion! Yes.

The good thing about my bonding with the homeless guy was that it came at a time when I really needed it. I mean, since my shrink broke up with me, I was looking for someone to fill that gap. Since I had already leaked all over him, who better to deal with my mental health matters than the homeless guy? I should probably learn his name, and I have to figure out if he accepts my insurance, but so far, he’s doing great. While I sit there pouring my heart out, we both collect change from passersby, which is an extra bonus that my original shrinks didn’t offer.

I write all of this to say that you don’t have to be afraid to let it out. If you want to cry in the middle of Target, go right ahead. If you want to leak all over your Quarter Pounder in the middle of McDonald’s, feel free. And if you want to lay your head on a homeless guy’s chest, more power to you. Hey, you never know where it could lead: a new friend, a new therapist, maybe a new baby daddy. The options are truly limitless.

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: http://www.humormike.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

What Happens in Vegas, Is Right Here on My Blog

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Nov• 23•18

It’s just a Mirage.

In case you missed my recent press releases or my surprise appearance on Dr. Phil last week, you are probably unaware that I just returned home from Las Vegas a few days ago. The trip was a real learning experience for me. Apparently, my mom had heard about all the drinking and sinning that allegedly goes on there from her church friends, Bertha and Myrtle, so she was up in arms about my visit the whole time I was there.

Now, I’ve never been one to gossip unless it’s for a good cause, but although they love to shake their heads and wag their fingers at other people, both Bertha and Myrtle somehow manage to fly to Vegas three or four times a year themselves. As a matter of fact, I ran into a shirtless Chippendales dancer on the Strip and he immediately asked if I knew Bertha and if she still had that lower back tattoo. Well, I ain’t one to tell people’s business, so you certainly ain’t heard it from me, but the answer is yes.

Anyway, because of Bertha and Myrtle’s feedback, my plane had barely landed before my mom started calling every two seconds to make sure I was making “good decisions.” She informed me that if any YouTube footage of me passed out in a ditch leaked—again, she would be forced to disown me—again.

Sadly, despite my best efforts, there actually is new footage of me passed out circulating the internet, but not for the reasons you would think. The moment I hit the Las Vegas Strip, my status as a full-fledge grandma kicked in and I went to sleep anywhere I could: on park benches, in line for dinner, and in the fountain at the Bellagio. While other people’s nights were just getting started at 11 PM, I, myself, had already been asleep for at least six hours by then.

When I wasn’t laid out in a bush due to exhaustion, I certainly passed out a few times based on food prices. Whether I needed only a pack of gum or a buffet dinner, the cost seemed to be no less than $200. I tried to negotiate, but if I wanted fresh breath, the lowest I could get the salesperson down to was $183. If you plan to go to Vegas, govern yourselves accordingly. Take out cash, a credit card, and a bank loan when you arrive.

Now, before you start judging me for sleeping through my Vegas trip, it’s not exactly my fault. First of all, my body never quite adjusted to the time change from Eastern to Pacific, so I woke up at 3 AM every single morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. I tossed and turned and did math equations for hours until it was time to head out for the day.

Second, I was in a low-key mood for most of the trip. The wildest thing I did the whole time was to have two Starbucks drinks in a single day. Oh, and there was that time I went wild and drank a Pepsi within an hour of drinking a Coke. If that doesn’t meet your definition of a party animal, I don’t know what does.

For most of the visit, I was content just looking at all the lights and activities from the comfort of my hotel room. However, when the gambling mood hit, I did put $20 into a slot machine that I thought was lucky based on the vibes it was sending me from across the room. When I walked by, it literally said, “Michael, come play me. I can change your life.” 15 seconds later when I’d lost my $20, my life had definitely been changed; I went from being kind of OK to being downright depressed just that quick.

Making bad decisions here. Don’t tell my mama.

And if I’m being completely honest, I did have a drink or two during my stay in Vegas. However, because I was going to bed so early each night, that meant I had to start drinking a little sooner than what some would consider normal. Now, I don’t want people to think that I have some sort of problem or to call my parole officer or anything, but I found 9 AM to be around about the right time to crack open the vodka with a gin chaser. Completely acceptable. I mean, it’s Vegas.

Actually, the drinking is really not my fault. After the plane landed and I was finding my way to the luggage area, I went down an escalator to find a sign that showed baggage claim in one direction and the liquor store in the other. I mean, if those are your only two choices and in you’re in Vegas, any normal person would hit the liquor store first and worry about the luggage later. And if by chance your luggage went missing, the liquor would help with that. See, I’ve thought it through.

Making things even more interesting, the store was called the Liquor Library. I immediately made the connection of me being a writer to their being a library and knew it was a sign that I just had to investigate the premises. After all, I have always loved a library. Surprisingly, there were no books inside, but there was a lot of liquor, which was fine with me. Don’t judge me and please don’t tell my mom.

I only bought it because it was pretty, not to drink it!

Instead of looking for shows or a club to attend, like a true grandma, I spent most of my time looking up food options. In case you don’t know, one of the things Vegas is known for is its buffets. I spent hours on Yelp comparing the options. It wasn’t long before all that planning went right out the window when I found a buffet that had all-you-can-drink wine and beer. Just like that, no longer did I care whether the buffet offered a one-star or a five-star menu. Instead, the all-you-can-drink offering had me at hello.

I arrived at the buffet excited because I knew what was about to go down. I was going to eat as if my life depended on it. Though I am usually a hamburger and hot dog sort of guy, I decided to broaden my horizons just this once. After all, I was in Vegas. The least I could do was add a little lettuce and a carrot or two to my diet for crying out loud. Allegedly, you only live once.

As the hostess walked me over to my table, she looked at me with an expression of great concern. Her head tilted to the side as she asked, “Are you alone? You don’t have any friends?” People can be so mean. I took a moment to think before I answered. I wasn’t exactly sure if being alone at a buffet was grounds for being kicked out, but I wasn’t taking any chances, at least not before I ate. Proudly, I hung my head high and said, “Friends? Oh, they’re on their way. They will be here any minute. You know Bertha and Myrtle, right?” She did.

After dodging that moment of judgement and being seated, I grabbed four plates and made my way to the buffet. Let me be the first to tell you that the food was well worth it. They had a little of everything: Asian food, Mexican dishes, pasta, pizza, barbecued pork chops, salad, seafood, desserts, and more. If I didn’t have a tank full of fish waiting for me back at home, I would have just stayed in Vegas and lived at the buffet for the rest of my life.

For some reason, although I usually avoid crab legs because of the many battles I’ve lost trying to crack them open, I found myself putting several on a plate. As I dipped a claw in butter, I began to have sad thoughts. I wondered just how many crabs had to die for me to have that one claw. My guess was 40. It was pretty disturbing.

All is not lost, though. Because my shrink says I need to start thinking positive, I decided in my mind that maybe 40 crabs hadn’t died at all for me to have that one claw. Maybe the claw had been lost due to natural causes. Or, maybe it was grown on a claw farm where no crabs are harmed in the making of dinner. The thought certainly made me feel better as I ate 10 more legs respectfully.

No crabs were hurt in the making of this photo, I promise.

After stuffing myself as if I was storing up for the winter, I made my way over to the Venetian Hotel. For years I’d heard about the gondola rides offered at the hotel and I had to see them with my own eyes. As I walked in and saw gondoliers navigating the canals and singing love songs to their passengers, I got excited. It looked as though it was meant for Michael. What a romantic experience for me and myself!

As I stood there in line thinking of the songs I’d want my gondolier to serenade me with, reality kicked in. I saw no one else riding alone. How would I look hugging myself longingly as my gondolier sang “Drop It Like It’s Hot” as we navigated the Grand Canal? In the end, it wasn’t the riding alone thing that made me opt not to do it. It was the $116 charge for a single rider that made me change my mind. By that point, all I had left was about $5 in food stamps on me. The gondola ride just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe next time. But at least I’ll have more time to think about song choices. Perhaps, “Thank U, Next” or “Single Ladies.” Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out.

Gondola ride for one, please!

All that aside, for what it’s worth, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed myself in Vegas. I made the experience my own and I’m pretty satisfied with it. I didn’t lose my car or my dad in a game of poker or roulette like I did last year. And as tempting as it was, I didn’t audition to be in the Australia’s Thunder from Down Under strip show or to be a Hooter’s girl. I’m absolutely OK with it. After all, there is always next year! Gives me more time to work on my abs.

Michael Rochelle
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