Oh, I see. Mike's a LOSER. Mike didn't succeed like his buddies, so now he's changed the whole game. He didn't just move his cheese, he gave cheese up and is eating cardboard instead.
I don't buy for one moment that Mike is content at Soda Flop College, just like he wasn't satisfied at Rural Raccoon. But for whatever reason he's given up any real academic ambition because he's not made the grade. I see this in so many of my older colleagues. I tell them about my recent publication and they tell me about their family or their golf game. As if it's the same thing.
I'm not saying that Mike isn't worthwhile. Perhaps he's a fine teacher. But teaching is so low on my list of priorities, and was instilled upon me by my mentors all through grad school. (Yes, an Ivy.)
Perhaps I don't even mean Mike's a loser. He's just not playing the same game as his friend from MIT is. He certainly isn't playing the game - at the level- that I am either. His decision to accept his limitations, fall out of the game his buddies play, and call his mediocrity a success, is just a shell game.