“What Your Milk Choice Says About You,” by DS Racer

May 24th, 2023 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

Much to the chagrin of the faux white mustache set at the American Dairy Association, the US Food and Drug Administration recently ruled that plant-based milk alternatives now may be labeled as milk, ending once and for all the “almond doesn’t lactate” era at America’s nutritional policing agency.

To be sure, plant-based alternatives to traditional cow’s milk have upended the dairy industry, and a dazzling array of beverages now greets us in the aisles of our local supermarkets, and confounds us as we wait in line at Starbucks. Milks have come to reflect who we are. They have even become part of the red state/blue state culture wars that have infiltrated every other aspect of American life.  When no less a far-right icon as Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) goes on a conservative social media platform and declares herself “safer from liberals and soy milk” do we realize how far this has all gone. There’s something so primal about the power of milk. Just ask Sigmund Freud: it was our first food, and when we first tried it, it came from our mother’s boob.

But we are babies no longer. So what are you putting on your Super Sugar O’s these days?

Whole milk — Good old homogenized (such a woke word – why do they have to call it that?) Vitamin D All-American milk is the fuel for your toxic masculinity, or toxic femininity, whichever applies – and you are the kind of person who believes the two are mutually exclusive. You rail against unisex restrooms and get angry when you hear people speaking in Spanish at the local grocery store. By the way, “leche” is milk in Spanish.  Get used to it – at least it isn’t a pronoun.

Soy — You’re proud you voted for Dukakis, and you still use those circular disks American Online sent you back in 1995 as drink coasters for your coffee table – the same coffee table where you keep your coffee table book about coffee tables. Speaking of drinks – Zima was always your drink of choice, and you are still angry about the day it disappeared from supermarket shelves, with no warning whatsoever.  Technology both enthralls you and repels you, but you would forgive everything if only you could figure out how to find, on porn sites, those hot Tiktok girls that now appear everywhere on your Facebook feed.

Oat — You live in Brooklyn. Maybe not the real Brooklyn, but at least a Brooklyn of the mind.  Oatmilk is the next closest thing. You only wish you had a condo in Williamsburg, but your trust fund isn’t big enough.  What gets you angry are those articles in The New York Times that appear practically every month, and profile a young couple that just graduated college and are now starting their first grown-up jobs, but somehow are able to find a $4.5 million brownstone near Prospect Park.  Not too long ago you were fond of using Neutral Milk Hotel lyrics as pick up lines.  Unfortunately, looking into the eyes of a college girl and telling her she reminds you of Anne Frank gets you a “buzz off creep” nowadays, and not laid, as it once did.

Almond — You spend hours of your work-from-home time arguing the designated hitter rule on Facebook, Twitter, Mastodon, Spoutible – anywhere you can lay down some text. You’ve experienced pangs of guilt, because your passion for almond milk went unabated after your teenage kids scolded you for drinking it because of the excessive water usage inherent in almond cultivation.  However, you pat yourself on the back, because your kids shut up about it once you scored them some Harry Styles tickets and bribed them with some good old cryptocurrency.

Coconut — You think you’re the coolest because when it was your turn to bring snacks to the PTA meeting, you didn’t  bring donuts – instead you brought acai bowls – for 30 people.

Rice — You are so weird that you refuse to get rid of your extensive compact disk collection although you no longer have a CD player and haven’t for years.  However, something possessed you to put color coded stickers on your CDs and create your own little database in which you’ve organized your collection by genre and decade by decade. Although you’ll be the only one who’ll ever see it, you insisted on calling one band “Rolling Stones, The.”  For fun, you do algorithmic calculations to determine how many round trips between Chicago and Cleveland you will need to earn enough frequent flier miles for a free trip to Tahiti.

Skim — You are a sad person. The kind of person who strings paper clips together in their spare time.  As joyless and gray as brutalist architecture. The milk you drink is transparent, or translucent, but it doesn’t matter, because there is no light in your life.

Two Percent — You know the names and the numbers of all the freeway exits within a fifty mile radius.  Your favorite thing to watch on television are the car insurance commercials.  You like those ads so much, that last Halloween you dressed up as the Geico gecko, and the year before that, Limu the Emu. Next year, you will dress up as the Aflac Duck, or maybe Flo.

Goat — You’re no longer bitter that you couldn’t parlay your graduate degree in philosophy into a tenured position at some small Midwestern liberal arts college.  But to your credit, you’ve gotten over the trauma you experienced when your position as assistant manager of the local Blockbuster was eliminated because the store shut down. Hey – at least the loom still works, and you know how to crochet your own clothes. And your old Birkenstocks are still as comfy as ever.

Magnesia — You’re the kind of person that talks – no – hollers back at the television, usually when it’s on, but occasionally when it is not. For fun, you like to cut letters of the alphabet out of newspapers and magazines, which you use to compose anonymous, threatening letters. The most fun you had during the past three years was at your colostomy. Aaron Rodgers is your personal sports hero.

Hemp — You were disappointed the first time you poured it on your Frosted Mini Wheats, because it didn’t get you high. But then you realized it didn’t really matter, since you always wake and bake before breakfast anyway.


DS Racer is a writer and immigration advocate. A Chicago-area native, he lives in Los Angeles with his bilingual family. His work has previously appeared in Defenestration, as well as Points in Case, Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, SouthSideSox, Microcosm, and elsewhere.  He recently appeared in the new baseball documentary, “Last Comiskey,” which you can now watch for free on YouTube.

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