He's long had a dream to ride around Australia on a postie bike wearing a panda suit, with his dog, Cowboy, as company.
Unfortunately, Australia is a really, really big place, postie bikes are really, really small, and panda suits get really, really hot inside. Ask any panda.
Fortunately, Mike's girlfriend Naomi is not only a red-hot spunk, she also makes dreams happen, albeit on a slightly reduced scale.
A few days after his birthday this year, Mike received instructions from Naomi which directed him to a skip bin in Broome. Behind the skip bin was a postie bike and a freshly-purchased panda suit in Mike's size. Henceforth began the adventure known as Panda's Big Day Out, in which Mike-as-Panda was required to complete designated tasks in different locations and then await further instructions. And off we go…
1. Withdraw $40 from a teller at the ANZ bank.
There is a sign outside most banks letting customers know that motorcycle helmets are not to be worn inside. They seem, though, to have an open-door policy for pandas. Funnily enough, Mike is wearing a motorcycle helmet under his…um…head.
2. With the $40, buy four specific items from Coles.
By this stage, Mike had noticed the Pied Piper effect a panda suit has with young children.
Unfortunately, there is no Express Lane in Coles reserved for endangered species.
3. Go to Broome Museum, give the purchased items to the ladies there, and buy a postcard.
Wish you were here… because I only have stumpy little pretend-thumbs, and postcards are really small.
4. Get through security at Broome airport and give the postcard to an unknown passenger.
Sadly, photographs of six-foot (some would say 'giant') pandas are not permitted at Broome Airport. Six-foot pandas, however, are.
5. Return some scandalously overdue books to the Notre Dame Library, pick up a skateboard and head towards local skate park.
Can you believe nobody offered him a lift? Mind you, it's pretty difficult to hitch-hike when you only have stumpy little pretend-thumbs.
6. Get skating advice from local skate hoons. Skate.
Mike is not a natural skater, so he listened intently to his teenage mentors. Luckily, he picked it up quite quickly, with extra points for his post-skate swagger and baggy "pants".
7. Go to Cable Beach, stand in front of Web Cam and call sister, who will tell you to meet your friends for a well-deserved birthday dinner.
It took a while to unfold the piece of paper with the telephone number on it. Big… paws.
Special note: if you are a panda, check that there are no small children watching before removing your own head.