Hypothetically Speaking . . .

. . . . . . . . Because Humor Matters

Confessions Of A Judgmental Apple Watch

Written By: Humor Mike - Nov• 22•20

Oh, it’s just my Apple Watch!

After years of putting it off while pretending to be financially responsible, I accidentally did what millions of my ancestors had done before me: I got an Apple Watch. Before you pass judgment, please know that I put years of thought into this purchase. I considered the pros and cons. I called my momma and my shrink to get their feedback. Once my attorney and my barber gave me their OK, I did what I had to do.

At first, I found it a bit difficult to justify the expense. I mean, I’m still trying to pay off the $5.00 I put on my Discover card back in 1982. Oh, and let’s not even talk about my student loans. Once I realized I wouldn’t be able to pay those off until I was at least 124, I went on and made the purchase. I just can’t wait that long. Once I get to be that age, I’ll probably be more concerned about my remote-controlled heart and my bionic legs.

Because I’ll still be amazingly handsome when I’m old, the watch should still look glorious on my shriveled, elderly arm. I could pull it off. Besides, I have to live a little because I’ll need some stories to share with my grandchildren and my grandfish. My life simply can’t be all about the Popeye’s chicken sandwich. I would like to at least pretend my life had a little bit of depth and purpose.

Instead of dusting off my stripper boots to make a down payment on the watch, I first asked my boss for a raise. When she declined, I asked my landlord if my rent could be waived for a month or two. Unfortunately, she claimed that an Apple Watch isn’t a necessary expense. She had a hard time understanding why my life choices should impact my ability to pay the rent on time. I respectfully agreed to disagree with her. She knows not what she does. It’s not her fault she wasn’t raised properly.

If I’m honest, I may have had to do a few strange thangs for change to get the watch, but at least 43% of those activities were legal. When it arrived, I knew I’d made the right decision. Putting it on made me instantly want to purchase a lifetime supply of stretchy yoga pants. I also had a sudden urge to make better life choices. Instead of having eight beers a day, I thought I could probably manage with just seven—probably. I no longer felt like I needed to order extra-large fries every day. A simple large should suffice as long as it comes with cheese, bacon, and ranch, of course.

What excited me most about the watch was having gentle encouragement to be more physically active. However, I didn’t count on the bullying and the shame that would come along with that. It reminded me of that time I joined the military, and the sergeants kept yelling at me for messing up the “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” choreography. That was a very low point in my life.

I knew the watch included activity monitors with move, exercise, and stand rings that would tell you how many calories you’ve burned, how much brisk activity you’ve completed, and how many times you’ve stood up though-out the day. Although I get out less frequently due to the pandemic, I still wanted to be less sedentary. I wanted to close all three rings every single day. Apple said the process would be “simple and fun.” Well, let me tell you two things the process was not: simple and fun. The experience was about as thrilling as that one time I got a prostate check, a pap smear, and an oil change from Walmart because they were offering a 3-for-1 sale.

Although it looks like I was off to a good start, I was behind.

While I expected that the watch would change my life, I didn’t expect it to be so forceful about it. If I sat down too long, I would get a notification to stand up. If I hadn’t moved around enough or exercised, it would start shaming me with alerts until I did so. At one point, the watch practically shook me by my shoulders and threatened, “If you don’t go jog or do a push-up or something, we’re going to have some serious problems.”

Just a gentle, shameful reminder that I have more work to do.

By day two I knew the drill. I kept my sweatpants ready so I could go out and do some brisk walking whenever the mood hit—or whenever the watch told me I had to. I even pulled out my old Just Dance Wii games to cut a rug and get things moving. There were a few times when I was so out of breath that I surely thought death would come for me. Although death never showed up, what did come was more “encouragement” from the watch letting me know it didn’t care whether I could breathe or that my arthritis in my left ear was acting up. It demanded that I keep moving regardless.

Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to close all three rings a handful of times over the past few weeks. I get ecstatic when this happens, so I do what any normal person would do under the circumstances: I break out the vodka and chocolate cake to celebrate. On the days where I don’t close all the rings, I usually pat myself up with a bowl of ice cream and remind myself that no one is perfect before cutting myself two slices of pie.

After a while, the watch began ambushing me with new types of notifications. One morning it asked me to share my workout results with friends. I was appalled. One, I don’t have any friends that aren’t paid to be my friends. Two, I barely impress myself with my daily activity results. I certainly don’t want to share them with anyone else. Some of my “friends” have memberships to at least five different gyms. I can’t compete with that.

With all the focus on exercise, I almost forgot the watch could do anything else. I was shocked to learn that it can also display the time. Who knew? Oh, and the GPS has come in handy helping me find my way around my apartment. For some reason, my natural instincts guide me to the refrigerator, but they do not navigate me back to my couch. It’s really disappointing when you think about it.

My Apple Watch! Isn’t she lovely!!!!

If I’m honest, the watch is a tad bit bossy. The other day I went for a walk and I got a notification that read, “You’re walking pretty fast. Where you going? The liquor store again?” In another instance, it told me I had been in the bathroom too long, so it ordered premium suppositories for me through Amazon Prime. I didn’t even know it had access to my credit card information.

I thought long and hard about how to have a healthy, productive relationship with my Apple Watch. Accordingly, I eventually decided to turn off the notifications. I don’t need the watch to tell me what I’ve done and what I haven’t done. I know whether I’ve done my two jumping jacks for the day or not. I thought I was in the clear and free from judgment, but then my momma called. She immediately asked me if I’d done my exercise for the day. When I asked her why, she said, “Your watch called and told me to tell you to do some push-ups and a squat. Now!!!”

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: www.HumorMike.com
Facebook: michael.rochelle1
Instagram: HumorMike
Twitter: @mikeyllo

Sausage Wars

Written By: Humor Mike - Oct• 11•20

Unburned sausage

Look at these links! Practically raw! Yuck!!!

You know how you have one of those days when you’re in a sharing mood, but you probably should have phoned a friend for guidance before posting an allegedly controversial picture on the interweb? Well, I had one of those days recently. There I was, doing my civic duty and simply trying to uplift the nation when, instead, I found myself in the middle of a sausage controversy.

Like most people, the pandemic has given me time to try some new things. I’ve learned to read. I’ve added a little more swagger to my version of the Electric Slide, and I can’t wait to show off my new moves whenever we’re allowed to go back outside. More importantly, I’ve gotten to know my George Foreman grill on an intimate level. Because of this, I’ve refused to talk to friends and family unless they lovingly refer to me as “The Good Chef.”

When it comes to food, my momma raised me to be a well-done kind of guy. She always said, “If it’s red, it can’t be fed.” I understand that some people feel differently about this. I felt like an outsider at a Brazilian steakhouse a while back. As the waiters walked around with huge slabs of meat and asked us to choose the cuts we wanted, I would always ask for the parts that looked burnt. However, with lust in their eyes, my friends only wanted red.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never wanted to know my food on a biblical level. I don’t need my steak to be so alive that I could ask it questions and get its life history. “Well, Rib-eye, how was your day?” As for me and my household, I don’t need my sirloin making me feel bad because it had planned to go to Harvard but instead landed on my plate. Who wants that type of guilt?

Uncooked sausage

So, if you like your meat rare, I know this is making your mouth water. Yum.

I’ve never been one to judge unless it’s appropriate, but when I see someone eating rare meat, it reminds me of all those horror documentaries on the Discovery Channel where they get you attached to a dear or a gazelle or something, but then they show a hungry lion off in the background. Sure, the lion always has a hungry cub or two thrown in just to make us feel more understanding about the bloodbath we’re about to witness. I don’t buy it. I think the cubs are paid actors.

Anyway, because I’m not a bear (though I’m completely understanding of anybody who identifies as one), I can’t break away from asking for my food to be well done. Yes, people look at me like I’m not cultured whenever I do this, but I just hold my head high and proceed to ask my waiter for some ketchup to go with my steak anyway. See, regardless of how uncultured they think I am, I know NOT to ask for A.1. sauce. Ketchup is fine, but steak sauce is completely unacceptable.

The day of my controversial post started like any other morning. I woke up, crawled to the restroom, took four calls from bill collectors, and geared up for yet another day at the home office. For some reason, it didn’t feel like one of those days where you just have coffee and head to your desk. Instead, I wanted a real breakfast with the works.

Accordingly, I dusted off a box of pancake mix that had expired back in 2017. From my perspective, use-by dates are only suggestions. I’m a grown man. I’m not going to let Aunt Jemima tell me what to do with my groceries and when. Then I found some sausage links in the back of my fridge. I had no idea whether I purchased them or if they were already in the refrigerator when I moved in. After writing a letter to thank the former tenants, I got to work.

I ended up making sausage links and a waffle covered with strawberries and whip cream. If I may say so myself (and I will), it was splendid. Of course, I had to post my breakfast on social media. Like my momma always says, “If you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen.” Although I’m typically conservative, I don’t mind posting a little food porn every now and then. If you got it, flaunt it.

Within moments of posting, I knew I’d made a grave mistake. The comments came fast and furious. Although the waffles appeared to go unscathed, people seemed really bothered by the complexion of my sausage. While I thought the links were well done, others thought they were well done squared raised to the power of ten. Because it was too late to delete the post, the only thing I could do was roll around on the floor and hide under my bed next to a pile of dirty socks that I thought were missing.

Maybe I burned the sausage

The sausage is not burned. It’s just really well done!

I’m almost ashamed to share with you the various forms of sausage criticisms I received. One person asked me why I had ashes on my plate. Another person claimed I had actually burned the meat out of the sausage. I responded that I had intentionally cooked them that way because I’m vegan, but the haters weren’t buying it. I called my team of shrinks and scheduled an emergency session. I could not deal with this alone.

After a few hours of consoling me, my shrinks talked me down from the ledge. They reminded me that I was not a bear, so I was entitled to make my sausage as I saw fit. It was around this time that they tried to lift my spirits by singing a few inspirational songs by Mariah Carey. None of them were capable or qualified to hit the high notes from “Hero” or “Through the Rain,” so, of course, I had to take over when appropriate.

While I may have room to work on my cooking technique a bit, I’ll have you know that I had the best of intentions. I simply wanted to be sure the sausage was cooked thoroughly, but I understand that maybe I overdid it just a bit in this case. That noted, because no actual crime was committed, can you please show your support and call Harris Teeter and Giant to ask them to lift the sausage ban someone placed on me? I’m ready to try again. And, if you’d like, I can even make you some too! Well done, right?

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: www.HumorMike.com
Facebook: michael.rochelle1
Instagram: HumorMike
Twitter: @mikeyllo

Moving Tip #1: Don’t Move!

Written By: Humor Mike - Jul• 04•20

Boxes, boxes, boxes

For those of you who haven’t heard my faint cries for help from afar over the past few months, I recently moved. Now, I’ve never been one to be overly dramatic, but I’m here to tell you I’m never moving again. Even if World War 22, The Battle of Walmart vs Target, broke out right here in my apartment complex, I would throw on a wig and pretend I’m Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls and sing from my balcony, “And I am telling you, I’m not going.”

Seven or so years ago, I moved from this apartment complex into the next one over because I was attempting to be financially responsible. But after crying every day for seven years, I decided that being responsible was overrated. Somehow, I was going to find a way back from whence I came … one way or the other … even if I’d have to dust off my old stripper boots to do so.

Because I’m now deeply rooted into middle age, I’ve acquired a few things as one tends to do throughout life. I’m just not sure how those things required no less than 142 boxes to pack up. Side note, if you ever have a question about a box, I can be your go-to person. I’ve seen every type of box there is to see. Big boxes. Small boxes. Wine boxes. All boxes.

Sadly, my mother refused to move my stuff for me, so I had to hire movers. I called for a quote and told the service rep that I wanted the full process done in 15 to 30 minutes, tops. The rep just laughed and mentioned something about labor laws, which went over my head. I begrudgingly agreed to a four-hour time block, but only if he allowed me to pay with used lottery tickets and cold cuts.

Making things a bit more complicated, I moved from a fourth-floor apartment to another fourth-floor apartment. That noted, there were steps involved. Many, many steps. Like, a lot of them. This did not go unnoticed by the movers who practically revolted in the middle of my move. When the process took eight hours instead of four, the owner shamed me and said, “Well, you have a lot of stuff. I just hope my men still show up for work tomorrow.”

Besides learning to navigate movers who threaten to overthrow the system and actually throw my TV, this move taught me a lot. I learned how to remove old tint from windows so that I could actually see through them. I learned that Xfinity has different tech support agents to assist with cable, internet, and phone issues. So, if you have problems with all three, like I did, you’ll have to talk to no less than 20 people and be transferred at least 42 times.

I also learned about cleaning supplies. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn this at my old apartment. No, I learned this at my new one. As I touched one sticky surface after another and saw stains that would give me nightmares for weeks, it made me wonder who the former tenants were. Where did all that grime come from? Did they like to fry chicken on a random Wednesday? Had they made a nice curry and decided it was better on the wall than on a plate? Did they leave anything else behind … like a ghost? I asked that last question aloud, but I didn’t get an answer—yet.

Although there were many stumbles along the way, there are a few things that I’m absolutely proud of. Of course, I already had a tool kit with a screwdriver because I’m an adult, but I finally caved in and bought a step ladder. This made hanging pictures so much easier. I used to have to shoot nails at the wall and then sling paintings like a Frisbee at the nails, hoping for the best. Although the paintings look more professional this way, I did hang my Doctorate of Green Trees degree sideways in memory of the way it hung in my old apartment.

No, you can’t borrow my step ladder. I may need it next year.

My maturing as a fully formed apartment renter also led me to purchase a steam cleaner. I used to rent one from the grocery store, but because of the pandemic, most stores stopped renting them out. I purchased mine from Amazon and planned to return it after I used it, but I opted not to so that I could feel like a good person. Sometimes you need that.

Actually, keeping it was a great idea because it will definitely come in handy in the future. I’ve spilled everything you could possibly spill in my new apartment. Coffee. Wine. A hot dog. The latter caused me to leave a trail of ketchup and mustard all the way to the bathroom as I ran to shower relish off me. I guess you could say I was kind of in a pickle.

Yes, I got a steam cleaner…because I’m an adult!

Speaking of cleaning, you would have been so proud of how thoroughly I cleaned the old apartment before handing over the keys. I didn’t want to leave any remnants of Michael behind, so I scrubbed and power washed those rooms like it was nobody’s business. I actually cleaned the old apartment way better than I ever had when I lived there. I guess you can say I’m serious about getting my $20 deposit back.

You all would have also been so proud of the way I navigated other challenges as they arose. When my brand-new TV stand arrived missing a leg, I accepted it anyway. Three-legged TV stands need good homes too. It’s only right. It wobbles a bit, and my TV has slid right off it several times, but if we are ever allowed to invite people over again, maybe we can we can draw straws and the loser can hold the stand steady while the rest of us watch TV. Maybe my mom can do it. After all, I’ve done a lot for her over the years. I practically raised her. The least she could do is hold the TV steady while I watch The Bachelor.

The infamous TV stand.

I’m also happy to report that my fish love their new home. It took a while to get to that point, though. Like the movers, they had threatened to revolt a few times. Much like their caretaker, they aren’t always the best with change. However, we worked through it with a lot of therapy and prayer. My shrink wasn’t excited about doing a fish therapy session, but when I pulled them out of my pocket, she kind of had no choice. And before you call Fish Protective Services, I had them in a Ziploc bag, so they were safe.

In closing, in case I wasn’t clear before, I am not moving again. Ever! If there aren’t elevators installed in this building by the time I’m 80, which is just a few years down the road, I will have to hire someone to throw down a basket from my balcony to hoist me up so I can come and go as I please. People keep telling me that I should buy a house, and I’m open to that as long as they can build the house around me inside this apartment … because I’m not moving!

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: www.HumorMike.com
Facebook: michael.rochelle1
Instagram: HumorMike
Twitter: @mikeyllo

I Got Pots Y’all

Written By: Humor Mike - Apr• 19•20

My Pots

You can’t handle my pots!

These past few weeks of social distancing have really gotten me to look at things in my apartment differently. I’ve found the desire to do stuff I’ve never considered before. After living here for five years, I found myself in the kitchen one evening learning that the square thingy my Keurig sits on has been a stove all this time. Who knew? I thought my apartment had a stove. I’d just never known where it was located.

Finding the stove opened up a whole new world of opportunities to me. Once I learned how to turn it on, I got a bit excited. Cooking for myself would stop me from eating at McDonald’s every night. Granted, McDonald’s is known to sell quality, gourmet foods, but how many Big Macs can one person eat in a day?

On a side note, I had to learn the hard way that stoves do not come with a remote. Also, they are not turned on and off by a light switch. Believe me. I tried. Making matters a bit more challenging, I never figured out how to connect my oven to the WiFi. I looked through the manual and found nothing, so I called the manufacturer to complain.

Once I got the stove turned on successfully, I ran into a new problem. I needed things to cook with. The pots and pans in my cabinet practically disintegrated when I touched them. Legend has it that they were given to my grandma as a gift during The Great Depression. I won them from her in an Uno game. I actually won her house and her life savings during that game too, but I let her keep the house because I’m a good person.

At some point in history, I’m sure the pots and pans were black, but they’d become grayish from years of Teflon and non-stick coating materials flaking off into my food. Whenever someone noticed black specks in their Cream of Wheat or macaroni and cheese, I told them it was pepper. No reason to upset people. Perhaps Teflon is good for you. The verdict is still out.

Macaroni and Cheese

Don’t mind the specks. It’s just a little Teflon.

I also needed pots and pans for protection. If you’ve ever watched a horror movie, then you know a sturdy pot can come in handy during a zombie apocalypse. I believe my main superpower is pot slinging. You should see me with a skillet! One minute your making pancakes, and the next you’re taking out two burglars before realizing it’s just your mom and dad surprising you for a visit. Don’t blame me. They should’ve called first.

Before making a life decision about cookware, I did my research. If you know anything about me, then you know I settle for nothing less than the best. I wanted a set of pots and pans that would last me a lifetime, and I was not willing to pay any more than $12 for them, which was $5 more than my original budget.

My journey for quality cookware found me taking over aisle G28 at Walmart. Due to the coronavirus, Walmart was only letting a few people in at a time. The greeter gave me ten minutes to get in and get out, and I knew he meant business. The last time I ignored his warnings, I was tased and arrested right there in front of the deli meats.

I set up shop on the cookware aisle as if I were in the Hunger Games. I found myself checking my watch and spreading out the boxes for comparison purposes. When people tried to squeeze past me, I growled at them. Of course, this had no effect. After all, it’s a Walmart. Customers are used to people growling there. I quickly adapted my technique and began making dramatic motions to show I needed to cough or sneeze. Everyone scampered away pretty quickly then. Even the Walmart greeter hastily retreated when he came to confiscate me. Sadly for him, there would be no tasing of a Michael that day.

Long story short, I got pots y’all. And not just any pots. I got ones with sturdy handles and everything. Now, I’ve never been one to overly toot my own horn, but I consider this a much-needed win for humanity. No longer will I be restricted to cold cereal when McDonald’s is closed. My cheerios will be strictly gourmet from now on.

Pots and Pans

My T-Fall pots and pans are so clean I don’t even want to use them. They’re for decoration.

Now that I have adult cookware, I’ve been boiling and sautéing everything within arm’s reach. Yes, it’s true that I simmered my tube of toothpaste the other evening. I’ve also tried my hand at a yellow mustard soup. I’ve gotten so good at cooking that I recently boiled some chai tea like it was nobody’s business. I’m so great at it that I refuse to take my mama’s calls unless she refers to me as Chef Boyar-Tea.


I’m cooking Chai tea.

After boiling virtually everything in my house (cellphone included), I’ve looked for new things to cook and new recipes. My search led me to my local grocery store. Did you know they sell fruits and vegetables there? They have a whole section of them that I usually breeze past to get to the coffee or potato chip aisles. I’ve really learned a lot these past few days.

One recipe for Italian Sausage Soup required zucchini. Usually, any form of vegetable being included as an ingredient would’ve made me vote the whole recipe off the island. However, now that I have discounted cookware, I was sure I could somehow make the vegetable unhealthy enough to be edible. I had plans to lather the zucchini down in lard and Crisco whether the recipe required it or not. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Italian Sausage Soup

Oh, this ain’t nothing but a little Italian Sausage Soup.

I searched everywhere for zucchini, but I couldn’t find it. I found things that resembled zucchini, but I later learned they weren’t zucchini at all. They were carrots. I was wrong. Whoops. I summoned for Siri, but she was no help. She said something about being in quarantine and told me not to bother her for the next 14 days.

Although the person I’ve been told is my dad raised me to never ask for help, I deemed it ok in this one instance. I mean, it was a matter of life and zucchini. I figured he’d allow it. Besides, he never has to know that I broke one of his 10 commandments. There are at least three others that I’ve never broken, so there was a little wiggle room with this particular one.

I asked the produce guy for help, and he pointed me to something that was clearly marked squash. Unbelievable! That’s the problem with customer service these days. It’s like they don’t even listen. I rolled my eyes at him and jumped on the Googler to do my own research. I shouldn’t have been asking the produce guy for help anyway. The person I was told is my dad would’ve been very disappointed.

Once I took matters into my own hands, I was even more alarmed. Did you know that zucchini actually is squash?!?! Wow! Sadly, I learned this after telling the produce guy that he didn’t know what he was talking about. Perhaps I shouldn’t have tried to get him fired, though. That may have been a bit overboard. It’s not my fault. He could have corrected me in a nicer tone.

That noted, when things get back to semi-normal, I’m going to invite some people over just so I can use my new cookware set. I’ve already started thinking about the menu. I know what I’m going to serve: peas and Kool-Aid. For safety, I’ll be sure to temperature check everyone at the door and give them vaccinations before letting them come inside. None of that may be necessary, though. If I’ve ever cooked for them before, they already have a stomach full of Teflon. They should be just fine.

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: www.HumorMike.com
Facebook: michael.rochelle1
Instagram: HumorMike
Twitter: @mikeyllo

In Defense of My Home Phone

Written By: Humor Mike - Mar• 28•20

My home phone brings all the boys to the yard … and it’s a Panasonic!

Somehow, I recently found myself the target of some online criticism and ridicule from friends, family, and countrymen. This isn’t exactly out of the norm for me. After all, I do have a day job, so there isn’t much I haven’t heard or been called. As a matter of fact, there was that one day where I was fired before 9 AM because I used staples instead of paper clips on a progress report. I hadn’t even turned on my laptop or gotten my coffee yet that day.

Well, I was minding my own business one evening when the phone rang. At this stage in my life, the only people who ever call me are bill collectors and doctor offices. In any case, I ran to the phone anyway in hopes that maybe, just maybe, it would be Ed McMahon finally calling to tell me that I’d won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. I’ve been trying to win since I was 12. Google later alerted me that Ed passed back in 2009. Perhaps I should stop expecting his call.

As it turned out, the call was from Congress. Now, I know that what I do as a humor writer is important, but I never expected Congress to be calling me for my expertise. I would’ve thought that I would’ve needed to write three books, get a doctorate from a partially accredited online school, and win a Nobel Peace Prize for most fabulous blog before they ever requested my advice.

If I’m honest, perhaps they don’t reach out to me because of the unfortunate course of events that took place the last time I was invited to give my testimony. I think I may have been asked to speak on homelessness or crime or something, but what was really bothering me at the time was the fact that the Five Below store was selling items for more than $5, and I was in distress. I couldn’t even focus on crime when I felt I was being robbed myself by going into the store with a crisp five-dollar bill in hand just to learn that the item I wanted was now $10. What a rip-off!

Anyway, my excitement about having Congress show up on my Caller ID led me to make some questionable decisions. First, I took a shower. I mean, you can’t just look or smell any type of way when Congress is calling. Second, I did some vocal exercises to ensure I would sound OK and that I could vocally project over the phone properly when I answered. Perhaps it was what I did next that I should’ve avoided.

For some reason, I got the bright idea to share a picture of Congress showing up on my Caller ID on social media. I couldn’t wait to show how important I was on the Instagram, the Facebook, and the Twitter. Within moments, my post was getting hits left and right. Finally, I’d posted something of merit. Finally, my mother would be kind of proud—maybe.

When Congress calls, we must act…maybe.

As I scrolled through the comments with a notepad in hand, preparing to do my civic duty and capture some thoughts to pass on to Congress, I noticed something disturbing. Instead of people asking me to give Kamala Harris a pound or to get Elizabeth Warren to dance, none of the commenters had a message for Congress at all. Instead, they were distracted by something else in the photo. They couldn’t care less that Congress was calling me. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

I fought back tears as I read comments like, “What is that?” and, “They still make those?” One person even asked if I was someone’s grandmother. Although I consider myself a relatively good person (especially on Sundays), I’d unknowingly committed one of the cardinal sins. No, it wasn’t lust, greed, or me having 13 items in a 12 item or less checkout line. Instead, my post had shown the world that I was one of the last remaining people on earth who had a home phone. Oh, the horror!

As if 2020 hadn’t gotten off to a rocky enough start, I’d inadvertently begun the landline wars. The gauntlet had been thrown which kicked off a major kerfuffle between the haves and the have-nots. For once, I’d made it to the haves’ side. But, as my luck would have it, the haves appeared to be the losing team in this instance. It was like I’d posted a picture of a dinosaur that I’d been secretly keeping in my basement. People were not happy.

Since I’m kind of an adult, allegedly, I take full responsibility for my choices, actions, and outcomes. That noted, I blame my mother for me still having a landline in 2020. Years ago, my mommy told me that if I didn’t have a home phone, emergency personnel wouldn’t be able to find me in the event of an emergency. For me, this was important ever since that one time I got my belt stuck in the toaster. After that incident, I decided to never again not have the police, firefighters, and paramedics easily be able to locate my whereabouts. I almost died … twice.

I don’t know how others manage it, but having a home phone makes me feel safe. The way my life is set up, if an emergency ever happened, I already know my cell phone would be dead. It could have been charging for five hours straight, but the moment I really needed it, it would conk out. When the paramedics arrived, they’d have no idea who to revive first, me or my cell phone. I would probably be the second choice. That is usually the case.

Having a home phone and a cell phone allows me to clearly separate business from pleasure. I can’t tell you how many times I used to unintentionally answer calls from my doctor’s office or new job prospects with a, “What’s up, yo?” Don’t judge me. That was very cool in the ’90s, and I’m trying to bring it back, one phone call at a time, yo.

My home phone also allows me to protect my apartment. If someone ever breaks in while I’m away, I can simply call my home phone and say, “Hey, bad guy, stop it. Put down my butter and leave my house expeditiously.” Of course, I could use the term “quickly” but “expeditiously” sounds more authoritative, which is exactly what I’d need when push comes to shove. See, I’ve thought this through.

Granted, like all of the Twitter, the Facebook, and the Instagram, you may not get my logic either, and that’s OK. We all aren’t supposed to think alike. People who don’t have home phones are entitled to be wrong. It’s their right as human beings. I won’t criticize them for having bad judgment and not following my mommy’s advice. It’s not their fault they’re bad people. Nope. Let’s just keep them in our thoughts and prayers. At this point, they are a lost cause. Thoughts and prayers are all we can do for them now.

Don’t be jealous of my Panasonic home phone!

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: www.HumorMike.com
Facebook: michael.rochelle1
Instagram: HumorMike
Twitter: @mikeyllo

A Virus Among Us

Written By: Humor Mike - Mar• 01•20

If you have to protect yourself from the flu, you should do it fashionably.

If you know anything about me, then you know I am always completely reasonable and rational. I’m so even-tempered that I was voted “most level-headed” when I graduated from kindergarten. While other kids were playing with blocks or other silly things, I was doing advanced toddler yoga over by the swings. Yes, if anything, I am well-balanced … kind of like a set of new tires.

That noted, it should come as no surprise that I handled a recent sneezing incident on the DC Metro with dignity, style, and grace. As to be expected in public spaces this time of year, there was a chorus of unique coughs on the train. Here a cough. There a cough. Everywhere a cough-cough. If you listened closely, you would’ve sworn you were listening to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” There was just no way I could’ve been prepared for what would happen next.

As I stood there, minding my own business, a youngish woman with no signs of illness took a spot beside me. We were fine for a few stops, but then something happened. Although things appeared to be fine on the outside, her innards were in distress. There was something burgeoning from deep within her that longed to get out. Something was coming.

If only I had known this lady’s internal struggle, I could’ve made better life decisions. Perhaps I could’ve switched trains at the next stop. Maybe I could’ve pulled my hat down to cover my entire face. Perhaps I could have pretended to be listening to the new Lady Gaga song and shimmied my way down the aisle away from the lady with the distressed innards. Truth be told, I was really listening to a lecture by Joyce Meyer about how I needed to be a better person. Yes, it was personal. She used my government name.

And then it happened.

I watched the lady’s head whip to the left and then to the right in my direction. She was searching for something. If I didn’t have the slowed reaction speed of an elderly male, perhaps seeing her face bawl up would’ve been enough for me to have known to pretend that I was Neo and use some maneuvers from The Matrix to avoid what was coming. Unfortunately, my back doesn’t move like that anymore. Nor do my knees. And nor do my hips. These hips don’t lie.

The lady made a decision. I’d been chosen. I saw her elbow begin to rise. Apparently, she’d learned the trick of sneezing into her elbow. Unfortunately, she was either a little too slow to execute it correctly, or she was a bit too uncoordinated to pull it off effectively. Let’s just say if it were a basketball game and she was standing at the free-throw line, she would’ve completely missed the puck. She would not have hit a birdie. Not even close.

Her elbow was a good five inches below her nose when the sneeze escaped. Since she’d chosen to spare the person to her left, I had an up-close-and-personal view of this woman’s bodily functions. It felt inappropriate. I didn’t even know her name. Since she completely missed her elbow, I was hit with earth, wind, and spittle with a force that almost took my hat off my head. Before I could grapple with the magnitude of the situation, I found myself falling backward. I would soon find myself flat on my back on the train floor covered in things that probably hadn’t even been discovered yet.

Some of your flu fashions will need to be washed first. You’ve been warned.

Because I have empathy, I understood the lady’s plight. I, too, have been on a train and suddenly felt the need to cough or sneeze. As a matter of fact, just last week, a random cough built up inside of me and attempted to break free. Since I knew that a single cough would make everyone believe I had the flu or coronavirus, I fought the urge to let it escape. And it was a mighty fight.

I’m happy to report that I ultimately won that battle, but I did not do it completely unscathed. My attempt to keep the cough internal made my eyes water to the point that tears were streaming down my face uncontrollably for a good five minutes. Picture Niagara Falls in the winter, but instead of being in New York or Canada, you’re on a Red Line Metro train and the water is falling from someone’s face. Yeah, picture that.

As I continued wiping my eyes, first with the back of my hand and then with a variety of tissues I’d found underneath the train seat, I wondered if it would’ve been better to have just let the cough out. Perhaps it would’ve been a quickie cough and everyone could’ve moved on with their day. Instead, I sat there crying like my world was about to collapse. Of course, my world is always about to collapse, but no one else is supposed to know that. Besides, I’d already cried in my closet that morning. I was done crying for the day. After all, I’d already taken enough pills from my shrink to ensure I would emotionally feel nothing until at least later that afternoon.

Fortunately, that internal cough appeared to be a one-time thing. I wasn’t sick. And even though that lady sneezed on my face and I rolled around on the train floor until I was covered in previously chewed gum and throat lozenges, it doesn’t appear that I’ve died yet, so maybe I’ve successfully dodged whatever viruses or bacteria I may have been exposed to. Actually, several Walmart experts said they found more germs on a computer keyboard than they did on a toilet, so perhaps I could have licked the Metro carpet or eaten one of the lozenges and still been OK. I don’t recommend you try it though.

Because I know that my readers depend on me, I want to assure you that I’m taking the appropriate precautions to dodge whatever is going around. So far, I’ve gotten three flu shots and I plan to get two more next week. I’ve also been washing my hands for the required 20 minutes as recommended by the CDC. Furthermore, I haven’t been touching my face unless I needed to smooth out my forehead wrinkles or to cover the bags under my eyes while I tried to impress or coerce a potential suitor.

Since I’m not dating, it wasn’t hard to invoke the no-kiss policy to avoid germs. However, for the strangers on the street that I would’ve typically offered a kiss to because I didn’t have a dollar in my pocket to support their cause, this is probably very disappointing. Instead of doing unnecessary handshakes or nose boops, I’ve created a fist-bump, air-kiss, no-high-five, hand-wave gesture that I’m willing to teach you all for the low price of $19.99 per session per person. And, yes, I do take food stamps. I have to so that my mama can attend.

Flu fashionistas can still be expressive!

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

The Master Cleanse

Written By: Humor Mike - Feb• 02•20

Master Cleanse Ingredients

I recently got the bright idea to try the Master Cleanse. I’m not exactly sure why I made this decision, but maybe it was because my laptop camera got tired of trying to fit my whole face into the frame during facial recognition. It began to “suggest” all types of advertisements for various diets. At one point, no matter which sleeping cat video I tried to watch, YouTube showed me videos about how I could lose 15 pounds from my neck overnight. I took the hint.

If you don’t know anything about the Master Cleanse, it’s also called the Lemonade Diet, or the diet that Beyoncé used to lose 20 pounds in 10 days. It sounded perfect, especially since I’ve been trying to lose this baby weight from the twins for the last 32 years. Wait, I know what you’re thinking. “Michael, we didn’t know you were a mom!” Well, these puppies certainly didn’t birth themselves. That would be weird.

Instead of doing it for 10 days, I decided to start out with 5. If I somehow lived through that, I figured I could always extend it later. When I saw the ingredients, I screamed. Allegedly, I’d only be allowed to drink a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper while on the diet. But because the creators of the diet are human, they thoughtfully allow you to drink as much water and herbal tea as you want. Wow! I’m not worthy.

I had a few concerns before getting started. I worried about not being able to indulge in life’s bare necessities. What about chicken? What about pizza? What about McDonald’s? Most importantly, how would I live without coffee or alcohol for 5 days? I mean, I’ve been drinking a quality cognac since I was 7. I don’t know who I am without it! Neither does my mom.

To be safe, I took a multi-purpose before picture. I figured it could serve as either the last picture I took before the cleanse, or the last picture I took before my death. Now that I think about it, I guess the picture could have served as both. I also got on the scale to take one last reading, but the display simply read, “Boy, you better get off me! I don’t have time for your foolishness.”

Before I even got started, I received warnings from friends and family about my diet choice. Of course, my mother thought I’d gone crazy, so she called the police. For a few moments there, I thought Officer Tate really was going to lock me up. I was just happy that he opted not to run my background check. I know that little incident in Oklahoma probably would have shown up. How would I have known that Oklahoma only allows you to take two sugar packets for each coffee? I was uninformed.

Because of the syrup and the acid from the lemons, I was advised to be careful with my teeth. Well, from my perspective, teeth are overrated anyway. They are just taking up space and are probably getting in the way of me having a strong jawline. Oh, and if you’ve seen my teeth, then you know that they probably make up at least a fourth of my total body weight. Losing one or two should at least take off about 10 pounds.

As you know, I’m not exactly great at following directions. Instead of easing into the Master Cleanse, I put the pedal to the metal and just got started. Tomorrow isn’t promised, so there was no time to waste. And speaking of waste, the diet recommends doing a salt-water flush to create on-demand bowel movements. Let’s get to the “on-demand” part later. First, we must start with the taste.

Do you know what salt water tastes like? Well, if you’ve never been attacked by a wave on a beach when your mouth was wide open, I’ll try to describe it for you. Let’s say you were stuck in traffic and suddenly you start to cough uncontrollably. You fumble around the dashboard, check underneath the seats, and rummage through your glove compartment only to find a bottle of hand sanitizer. As your cough gets worse, you do what needs to be done and you take the hand sanitizer to the head.

Moments later you realize that chugging the hand sanitizer didn’t help. As a matter of fact, things have gotten progressively worse, so you assess your remaining options. You realize you’ve got access to gasoline, windshield wiper fluid, and motor oil. However, you then remember that you missed your last 5,000-mile maintenance, so you know that your oil is all sludgy and gross. You’ve confirmed this because your mom tried to use some of it to slick her hair down just the day before. Nope, the oil is not drinkable, so you make a gasoline and windshield wiper fluid cocktail and hope for the best. Yes, that is exactly what salt water tastes like.

Once I got the salt water down, it did its job fairly quickly. I found myself repeatedly sprinting to the bathroom and needing to make sure I was close enough to reach it at a moment’s notice. The end result was that my toilet and I got really acquainted with each other for a few hours. Depending on your perspective, this could be considered a good thing. I mean, I now can absolutely pick my toilet out of a line-up while blindfolded. And if I’m allowed to actually sit on it, I’m pretty sure I could pick out my toilet within 5 seconds flat!

When the coast seemed clear, I slowly crawled from the bathroom to the kitchen to make my first drink. I didn’t have a problem with adding the 60 ounces of water or the 12 tablespoons of lemon juice, but adding the 12 tablespoons of maple syrup was a bit scary and seemed excessive. I practically used the whole bottle of syrup. I kept reading and re-reading the directions to make sure I wasn’t mistaken about the amount. Unfortunately, this is the one time in my whole life where I’ve been right about something. Ugh.

Master Cleanse lemonade by the glass!

Surprisingly, the taste wasn’t bad. I actually liked it. However, I’d forgotten to add the cayenne pepper. I expected that to be the thing that would make the drink grotesque, but it didn’t. Even with the extra spice, the mixture was still pretty good. My instincts told me to add a shot of vodka, but I fought the urge and cried a little bit as I turned away from the alcohol. It was then that I learned to never squeeze lemons and then touch your eyes. If I hadn’t been too blind to see my phone, I probably would have called for an ambulance.

After finishing the drink, I immediately considered myself a health guru. I began handing out weight loss advice to people on the Metro whether they’d asked for it or not. I admit that I may have gone a bit overboard when I snatched that old lady’s hot dog out of her hand and replaced it with a carrot. I’d gotten so bad that one of my friends slapped me and said, “Shut up! It’s day one. You just had a cheeseburger combo a donut a few minutes ago.” Maybe I deserved it.

By the end of day one, I was starting to feel the effects of not having solid food. For some reason, I was super cold. Even with my Snuggie and my blanket, I couldn’t get warm. I watched a little TV to pass the time and to distract myself from the hunger, and then I realized I didn’t know any of the answers to the Jeopardy questions. Although I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have known the answers before the diet, I just expected the cleanse to make me smarter. I was wrong.

Some YouTubers advised that their skin looked so much better on day two due to all the water. They claimed to have a glow and to feel moisturized. That wasn’t my experience. Instead, I looked ashen and dead. Making things worse, I believe the acidity of the lemons were causing me to have an acne breakout. The one good thing about my look was that I could have easily gotten a role on The Walking Dead.

By day three I was seeing stars, and I don’t mean The Rock. I had also become hyperaware of all things food-related. Every food commercial made me happy—even if it was a dog food commercial. Kibbles ‘n Bits never looked so good! I later found myself obsessing over bacon to the point that I was doing all types of research about it. I even ordered a bacon oven rack off Amazon and made up a few bacon-related jingles. “Bacon in the morning. Bacon in the evening. Bacon at suppertime. When you mix bacon with your lemonade, you can have bacon anytime.” Yes, it was just that bad.

I’d started the day at 181 pounds and ended it at 179. As I lost every ounce of water, muscle, and brain cell from my body, I got excited that I looked smaller. Yes, it appeared that I was going to die at any minute, but at least I weighed less. At that point, walking across the room took some effort, but I figured it just came with the territory. No pain, no gain! I used to judge people who took an elevator to go up just one floor instead of taking the stairs. However, now I know those people were just on the Master Cleanse.

On day four I completely gave up. I’d had enough of the cayenne pepper burning my lips off. The sacrifice didn’t seem worth the effort. Again, against the recommendations, I didn’t ease back into solid foods. I dove face-first into a bowl of chicken pho, a steak burrito, and an order of fries. I figured it wouldn’t do too much damage to my progress, but I was wrong. The next morning, my scale flashed me a quick 182.9 before it yelled for me to get off and took a swing at my double chins. Lesson learned, my friends. Lesson learned.

I know what this looks like, but it’s just the Lemonade Diet. This was my sustenance for the whole day!

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

Kiss the Girls . . . and Expectant Mothers

Written By: Humor Mike - Jan• 12•20

Mythical Pom Animals?!?!?!? What type of sorcery is this?

You may know this about me already, but sometimes I find myself in awkward situations. I’m not sure why this happens. Perhaps it’s because of my upbringing. Maybe Mercury is in a retro arcade. Perhaps it’s because of my zodiac sign, but even that’s awkward because my mother could not decide which sign was best, so I was born on the Libra-Scorpio cusp. For the rest of my life I’ll be arguing with grandmas and policemen about whether I’m really a Libra or a Scorpio. I can neither confirm nor deny that this argument sometimes leads to fistfights.

Either way, I’m not so sure I buy into the whole zodiac sign thing. Even doing the research is awkward because I’m usually offended by what I find. One source claimed that the Libra-Scorpio “characteristics are known to lean on drama and criticism.” Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m not dramatic and I save most criticism for myself. Another source noted that we don’t usually like to take advice and we prefer people to mind their own business. Well, that part is 100% true. Maybe there is something to this zodiac thing after all.

Anyway, because I’ve learned from three and a half of my past mistakes, I didn’t set up any resolutions for the new year. It’s too early in 2020 to feel badly about not going to the gym or for having that chocolate cake for breakfast after you’ve already had pancakes and eggs. No one has time for that negativity. Instead, 2020 will be all about positivity, and I’m positive I’m not going to the gym or giving up after breakfast desserts any time soon.

Although I didn’t set New Year’s resolutions, per se, I did decide to try to read more. A friend recently shamed me by revealing that she’d read over 100 books in 2019. She then asked how many I’d tackled. You should have seen the look she gave me when I asked if restaurant menus and nutritional content labels counted. That noted, this new goal, which is not to be confused with a resolution, is how I found myself strolling through the aisles of the local Barnes & Noble.

After thumbing through some writing books, I got a bit disoriented, made a wrong turn, and found myself surrounded by things that made me very uncomfortable. Somehow, I’d ended up in the toy section. Dolls, stuffed bears, and building blocks were everywhere. I tried to make a mad dash for the nearest sign of an adult book, but there were strollers, and toddlers, and baby mamas all over the place hindering my exit strategy.

After bumbling around, I found a way out.

I expected these strolling mothers to look at me disapprovingly since I didn’t have the required child with me to gain access to the kid section. However, they didn’t. Instead, they simply smiled and gave me a knowing look. Once I received the fourth motherly nod, I knew something was wrong. I would soon learn why.

Just when I’d saw a sign for self-help books off in the distance (a place I desperately needed to be per my mom and my team of shrinks), a little girl pointed to my midsection. I followed her gaze and began to scream. Apparently, I’d gotten a little too comfortable after having four muffins for breakfast, and I’d somehow forgotten my girdle that day. Instead of sucking things in like I typically do, my stomach had lapped over my belt and was attempting to make a run for it right there in front of the My Little Pony rack. I appeared to be expecting twins at any minute.

Of course, this was a travesty. I’m a single man/he/him. I’m supposed to consistently be putting my best foot forward to remain marketable and to ensure I always look like my Match.com and KindaChristianMingles profile pictures. As William Shakespeare once said, who is going to want to buy the milk, if you look like a cow in the crafts aisle of a bookstore? Although I appreciated building solidarity with those mothers, I was offended that they assumed I was pregnant. Unfortunately, my horizontal striped shirt wasn’t doing me any favors that day either.

As one of the mothers gave me a high-five, I shook my head and informed her that I wasn’t pregnant. She tilted her head to the side and handed me a prenatal vitamin. At that moment, someone came up from behind me and handed me a business card for her OB-GYN. Weirdly, I’d just been reading reviews for gynecologists on Yelp. It’s the one doctor I don’t have on speed dial yet.

When I’d safely made it to the other side of the store, I went back to focusing on my reading goal. You’ll be happy to know that I decided to start strong. My first choice of book for the year was Kiss the Girls by James Patterson. Unfortunately, when looking at his book covers, I was disturbed to see that he is listed as “The World’s #1 Best-Selling Writer.” This upset me greatly because my partially accredited university had promised me that if I’d just paid them $200,000 per semester, I’d be the number one bestseller. In any case, I had to get to the bottom of things.

After making a few calls to my local grocery store, I finally reached my college advisor. He has taken up stocking shelves when he’s not giving school and career advice. He’d really like to be full time, but his manager said he’s not qualified because he majored in Biology. No worries though, once he finishes his fourth degree, they’ve promised to reconsider.

Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic and critical, but I could sense disappointment and disdain in his voice when he paused and asked if I’d written a book. “Well, no,” I answered, “but that’s beside the point.” I assumed the best-selling writer status came along with my degree. No one told me I’d have to actually write books to earn the title. Perhaps this is why you should always ask questions before agreeing to things or deciding on a college major. If I’d had a gynecologist on staff at the time, I’m sure this would’ve never happened. Lesson learned.

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

Happy Holidays . . . Well, Sort Of

Written By: Humor Mike - Dec• 22•19

2019 Holiday Gifts

I mean, I’m not going to say I’m a gift wrapping pro, but these look good, even though it took me three days to do them.

Like most people, every holiday season I somehow find myself running up and down the aisles of various retail stores looking to buy a variety of gifts. Regardless of past experience, I consistently use bad judgment and sign up for whatever Secret Santa or White Elephant Gift Exchange that I stumble across.

Last year, because I’d somehow received a flyer, I participated in a company gift swap. Halfway through the function, they realized I didn’t work there, so I was escorted off the premises. Unfortunately, they kept the gift I’d bought AND the gift I’d received. I didn’t give up without a fight, though. You don’t just find a vanilla bean exfoliating body scrub every day. I was confused about whether to eat it or to bathe with it. Either way, it was absolutely worth the battle. I’m upset by how quickly they decided to use the taser, though.

While shopping for gifts, I sometimes get a little jealous because I’d rather be purchasing some of the items for myself. However, if I want to be considered a good person, I’m supposed to think of others instead. What would they want? Is there anything they need? Will a can of spray starch be considered offensive to someone who has chosen to embrace being wrinkly? Each decision is fraught with peril.

Fortunately, with a Secret Santa Gift Exchange, you’re able to drop off your present in secrecy. Last year, I had to employ spy-like maneuvers to perform the secret delivery. It was like an episode of Charlie’s Angels. I kept my ear to the ground and had scouts to alert me of the comings and goings of my target. Because I’m a professional, I was able to drop off the gift, do three backflips to get to the door, and then back out of the room slowly. Mission accomplished.

The White Elephant Gift Exchange, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly have the same level of anonymity. Although the person who opens the gift has no idea who purchased it, the person who bought it does. As you watch the recipient’s smile turn into a frown because they didn’t appreciate the mothballs and granola bars you so lovingly wrapped, it can be pretty horrifying. And, if the person happens to say, “I don’t want this,” or “What is this crap?” or “I know this didn’t cost $20,” it’s safe to say you failed as a gift buyer.

Back in 1872, before I’d gone to charm school to become the refined person you all know and love today, I received a Yankee Candle during a gift exchange. Immediately, I offended the person who bought it because I sat the candle aside to see what else was in the gift bag. Making matters worse, I turned the bag upside down and shook it ferociously a few times just to be sure the bag was empty. It was.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the most cultured or refined person in the world. I wouldn’t know a cello or a harp from a bass drum at a symphony. At the time, the only candles I’d ever seen were the functional ones from the dollar store that my mom used whenever our electricity got cut off. And, of course, we used those candles to heat our grilled cheese sandwiches whenever the stove didn’t work. From my flawed perspective, there was no way the value of that scented candle was the equivalent of the portable cd player I’d purchased as a gift. It was probably inappropriate for me to have asked to see receipts.

Anyway, although I’m well into my elderly years, there is just something about the holiday season that makes me still feel like a child. Perhaps it’s because my family didn’t participate in any holidays when I was growing up. When I was born, my mom checked her budget and immediately looked for the first religion she could join that would allow her to not have to buy a birthday or Christmas gift for me ever. Honestly, I’m happy that she found one that worked for her because the alternative would have been for us to move to another country. Even though I’m super talented and amazing, I’m pretty sure the US is the only country that would actually allow me to live on its soil.

Because of my upbringing, I’d never learned to wrap a gift properly. I had no idea what a person was supposed to use as wrapping paper. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way that no one wants a present wrapped in the obituary section of the newspaper. Also worthy of note, not many people appreciate a gift wrapped in a bedsheet—especially if you didn’t wash or Febreze it before using it.

White Elephant Gift Exchange Gifts

I don’t buy shabby gifts . . . at least I don’t think so!

Thanks to technology, I was able to enlist the help of YouTube videos to learn everything I needed to know. After 5 hours of watching gift wrapping tips from Martha Stewart, I was finally able to reasonably wrap a present. While I would never want to receive a gift from someone with my limited wrapping skills, who am I to deprive someone else of my technique? As a wise person once said, another person’s trash or badly wrapped gift is another person’s treasure.

This year, I wasn’t immune to the messaging behind all the gifts I’ve received so far. One person bought me a bottle of Skinny Girl wine. I immediately took it to the head even though I’m not skinny or a girl. The second gift I received was a yoga mat. Because I don’t practice yoga that often, I decided to use the mat as my living room rug. However, when the third gift I received was a one-year gym membership, I began to worry. Maybe someone was trying to tell me something. I had a sneaking suspicion that it was my mom.

On the other hand, I have appreciated every person who’s given me cash so far. Of course, whenever I’m presented with dollar bills, I immediately have flashbacks to my stripper days, so I begin to wind my hips regardless of whether the location is appropriate or not. My grandma turned beet red when I begin to take off my mittens and galoshes in the middle of a mall parking lot because she’d handed me a $5 bill. She got even more embarrassed when I begin to dance in the middle of a church. Apparently, the money she handed me was supposed to be passed down as a tithe, but I completely misread the situation. Please don’t judge me. Whenever money exchanges hands, I do what comes naturally because I’m a professional. It’s not my fault. I was born this way.

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

Black Friday, Red Saturday, Death Monday

Written By: Humor Mike - Dec• 01•19

Doesn’t this Nintendo Switch sign just call out to you to buy it for me?

Like most people, every Black Friday I’m forced to make major life decisions. I scrounge through the sales ads and ponder whether I should pay my rent or throw caution to the wind and get a Nintendo Switch and the new Apple Watch I’ve always wanted. Some may argue that these items aren’t necessities, but to those people, I respectfully say, mind your business, grandmas!

Just when you think you have everything you could ever need in life, you see an ad for a pink fluffy robe with matching slippers on sale, and, by golly, you’ve got to have them! You may have never cooked a thing in your life, but then you see a .02% discount on an Instant Pot, and you realize your true calling was to be a chef all along. If I had one, maybe I wouldn’t be living solely off Oodles of Noodles and oatmeal. I’ve had visions of me one day correcting Rachel Ray on her cooking show while we laugh and sling chili or deviled eggs at each other.

Whenever I participate in the Black Friday madness, I’ve been known to go a little overboard. While some stragglers choose to line up right before the store opens, I’ve been known to arrive several days before the big event. I took the first spot in line last year on the Tuesday before because I’d gotten an early scoop that comforters would finally be on sale with $2 off. That deal alone was worth me sitting outside for three days. And before you start judging, I’ll have you know that I also bought a box of staples as well.

50% off EVERYTHING! Yes, sign me up!

Now, there are many reasons why I should never shop on Black Friday. As you may know, I’ve been banned from all US Walmart stores on that day because of a slight stampeding incident that I may or may not have been involved in a few years ago. If you ask me, it wasn’t my fault. The shelves looked really low on coffee, so I couldn’t risk missing out. When the doors opened, I made a run for it, which seemed smart and reasonable at the time.

Apparently, I was not the only one who wanted to stock up on a nice House Blend that morning. All 5,000 of us customers ran right past the flat-screen TVs and Tonka trucks, and a Kill Bill style struggle ensued right there on aisle 6. Perhaps I was wrong for snatching up a Nerf gun as a defense method, but it was overkill for Walmart security to tase me without warning. Although I’m banned, I have a great team of lawyers who negotiated a reasonable workaround. If I want to go to Walmart on Black Friday, I simply have to go to Botswana to do it.

It’s worth mentioning, that there were a few years where I forgot to observe Black Friday clothing restrictions. While we know there are some areas where you shouldn’t wear blue or red ever, we should probably add Target and Best Buy to that list too. Because you have free will, dear readers, I understand if you want to go rogue and test this theory, but you do so at your own peril.

One year I had the unfortunate fate of wearing a red polo and khakis to Target’s sale event. I was bombarded with several customer questions before I even entered the store. Where do we park? Are Glade air fresheners in stock? How does baby powder work? When I’d politely explain that I didn’t work there, most customers didn’t care. They needed AA batteries and were insistent that I’d help them find some.

Actually, helping the Target customers wasn’t that bad. At least I earned a few brownie points for doing some form of good in society. The problem arose when a manager asked me to stock shelves and refused to take no for an answer. I couldn’t risk being written up, so I did as I was asked. When an actual worker later showed up with a pallet full of items and told me I had 15 minutes to finish, I knew I was in trouble.

Despite my best efforts, I got fired at the end of my shift anyway. Apparently, I wasn’t wearing a nametag and it’s required. “How will customers know who you are?” the manager barked. I learned my lesson. Rules are rules for a reason. Just because I didn’t work there didn’t mean that I shouldn’t have read the employee handbook and governed myself accordingly. I’d never even gotten a chance to ask about benefits.

My last view at Target as I was being escorted out of the building.

If I’d been born with any level of common sense, I would have learned not to participate in the Black Friday shenanigans years ago. Back in 1771, I remember seeing an ad for a VCR that I just had to have. I don’t know about your VCR, but this one allowed you to rewind and fast forward. It even had a remote! With that VCR, I wouldn’t just be keeping up with the Joneses. I’d be running circles around them as if I were Usain Bolt of Flo-Jo.

Landing a VCR that would elevate my social status didn’t come easily. I had to fight and elbow several grandmas and toddlers to claim my glorious prize. Although I left several bodies in my wake, some of the grandmas had great form, so I considered them to be formidable opponents. It just wasn’t their time. As the saying goes, what’s meant for me is for me.

As I stepped over a few people and strutted to the register to hand over my Discover credit card, I smiled gleefully. I had no idea that Discover would charge me a 1,039% interest rate on that purchase. I wouldn’t have believed that 20 years later, I would still owe $643 on that $59.99 VCR. In the end, the Joneses never came over to see my VCR. However, if they had, they would have been shaking in their Black Friday boots.

Now that I’m getting older, I’m starting to feel the weight of society’s expectations for me to be more responsible. Allegedly, when you’re middle-aged, you’re supposed to think about your future. While I still see myself as a backup singer and dancer for Beyoncé or Britney Spears down the line, I guess I’m also supposed to focus on retirement and my credit score. Unfortunately, this year there were no Black Friday ads on 401(k) accounts. I know because I searched for them on GrubHub and Groupon.

If I’m honest, the decision to shop or not shop was not really in my control this year. After doing my budget, I found that I would only have $2.34 to my name after my past-due bills were paid. Somehow, I was supposed to make that last for two weeks. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. Not participating in all the sales this year isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world. I mean, at least I won’t have to wonder where to sneakily go potty while I wait in line for three days.

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

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