A Slice of Mike: When I Grow Up

Am I really 48 years old?

Now is when I should be doing that 100-word essay as to what I want to be when I grow up, not when I was in fifth grade. Because now it is so much clearer to me; or is it?

As I do every morning, I woke up this morning, looked in the mirror, and questioned. Do I look 48 years old? Debatable. Do I feel 48 years old? No. Is my mind that of a 48-year-old? Well, if you consider the fact that I can remember my first telephone number from when I was seven years old, but can’t tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, then yes. And most of all the question I constantly am asking myself, do I act like I’m 48 years old? And the answer is “heck no.”

I grabbed my coffee, answered emails and Facebook messages, the usual. Then, I came across a message from the leader of a rock band, asking me to play a part in the band’s upcoming video. Wait, what?

“We’re looking for someone in his 40s with an evil grin to play the role of leader of the Goth Underworld. Mike, are you interested?”

In the past three years, I have been a comedian, a radio host, a columnist, an emcee, an entertainment director, a producer, the subject character of a novel, a bar owner, an Uber/Lyft driver, a dating advisor, and even for a charity event, I dressed in drag and lip-synched to “Alone” by the band Heart (I lost a bet). I have worn many hats and yet one that never came up was an actor. I haven’t ever done school plays much less acted in anything of notoriety, but why not try this? I’m five years into my career in entertainment and I’m always willing to try a new challenge. But a Goth Leader of the Underworld?

Of course, we can take this scenario a step further as to how insane the reality of this concept is. This year, I will be the first Jewish North Carolinian to play a Goth Lord in a music video. Last year, I was the first of my tribe to become the host of a country music radio show in South Carolina. And before that, I became the first of my heritage to be asked to judge and take part in a Southern small-town barbecue weekend to judge pork.

I looked into that same mirror and said to myself, “Let’s do this.” The thing is that I have played so many different roles that nothing seems to shock my wife anymore. Later that day, she walked into my office, “What are you doing?”

“I’m shopping for a costume for the new Palenium video I am starring in. I will be playing a Goth Lord who rules the Underworld whose sole purpose is to keep the young and proper Rose from leaving my castle and going back to suburban America.”

My wife without a pause looks at me, rolls her eyes, and says, “Fine, well before you go off to dwell in the land of darkness, we have dinner reservations at six.”

Sometimes I think that she, as well as those I associate with, see me as a big kid. And why shouldn’t they? I am 48 years old and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Every day brings a new adventure in my life, and you only go through life on this rock we call Earth once.

And for those that call me a kid, my response is “I know you are but what am I?”

Dear Mrs. Schneiderman, after almost 40 years since you asked me for a 100-word essay on what I wanted to be when I grow up, I am now ready to tell you. I want to be a joke-telling, radio-hosting, column-writing, show-directing, lip-synching, taxi-driving Lord of the Underworld. I hope that you will change the grade from a C when I thought I wanted to be a football player to at least a B (I understand you can’t give me an A since my assignment is very late). If you choose not to Mrs. Schniderman, I have no choice but to make you one of our cult. Although I won’t know until we shoot the video, I believe there is no escape.

If you haven’t seen the lineup coming to the Abbeville Opera House for the upcoming months, you are missing out. Go to abbevillecitysc.com to check out the full lineup and come see the renovations to this historic Abbeville landmark.

Mike Elis is a comic emcee and music and comedy promoter. Be sure to tune in to his radio show “The Mike on the Mic” show on WZLA 92.9FM.