• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 02
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Milk: What a Surprise!

Billy Ray Cyrus, of “Achy Breaky Heart” and Miley fame,
clad in cowboy hat and milk mustache, aligns himself
with the American Heart Association (circa. 1995):
drink skim milk to reduce fat in your diet, and
it’s got all the same nutrients as whole, he says. But

he’s not standing in front of the fridge doors with my kids and me
at the grocery store having to pick between whole and skim.
He doesn’t have to answer questions as I reach for the jug o’ skim—
you see, I know about nutrients and other health benefits of the lesser milk—
questions like: But, Dad, doesn’t skim mean to gloss over?
Doesn’t skim mean to take a sneaky share off the top?
So, Dad, skim’s like cheating then, ain’t it?
So, if we go with the gallon of skim,
what message is that sending to the cows?
To us? They give me their sad puppy dog eyes.

I let go of the skim milk jug. I reach for the whole instead.
My kids smile then, knowing they’ve won this battle.
They’ve won the right to pour the thicker white stuff over
their heaping bowlfuls of sugary cereal. Don’t get me started.

I’m all alone on this.

And even if Billy Ray were standing there alongside me,
he’d be shaking his head in disappointment that I would choose
a lifetime of heart disease for my children.
Oh, their achy breaky hearts.


Milk: What a Surprise!

And if Billy Ray were standing there next to me at the grocery store,
the jug of whole plunking heavily into our cart, my kids would likely say,
Hey, Dad, who’s the guy in the hat? And,
What’s up with the milk mustache? And,
Why’s he doing the hokey pokey?