People ask me a lot about my hatred for milk. It’s almost as if it’s something that they can’t understand.
“But I don’t get it,” they cry plaintively, wringing their hands like a thousand lesser known actors in Shakespearean plays gone wrong, “Why milk? Wherefore dairy? What did milk ever do to you?”
(It may be that they didn’t use those exact words, but that’s the gist of it alright).
What can I say? I’ve never claimed to have an explanation. I describe myself as a milk phobic, which surely should put me into that bubble of protection afforded to everyone else who claims an irrational fear of something entirely rational? I mean, let’s face it, it’s not as if all those people with a fear of spiders really think that the big hairy guy from The Lord Of The Rings is going to come knocking on their door some night? (I know there’s a lot going on in the country but I think we’d spot him somewhere between Mordor and Mount Merrion??)
And most people know that lifts are not going to bring them crashing down like that time in the film “Earthquake”, but that doesn’t stop them taking the stairs.
That’s all fine, and people accept it, but mention the fact that you have a hatred for the white stuff and you might as well take your place in the Good Shippe Freakdom bound for Never-Never-Coming-Back-Land.
I don’t know, I’ve tried to work on it, believe me. When I was a baby, I had to be scooted on to solids real fast to stave off, well, death, or a very early form of anorexia, neither of which looks particularly good on the parental record. In school we had this gig where kids could order milk every day. I liked the shape of the bottle that the icky stuff came in (don’t ask; I don’t know) so I got my mum to order it for me. I even drank it for two whole days. (Well, I sipped it before giving it to my friend but that’s got to count for something, right?)
Now that I’m a semi-mature adult, I do my best to hide it. When I’m out to dinner, I’m very subtle about moving the milk jug onto a neighbouring table. I’m so smooth I’m a virtual ninja at this stage. I try not to think about what might be lurking in the fridge at home. (Just because I have this issue doesn’t mean I can’t offer people tea with their own chosen poison).
Maybe the problems really got heated around about the time that creepy ad appeared on TV – you know the one where the kids are studying and a big wooden man comes to life to sing about how bones are all connected blah blah blah. And then he gives them milk to drink. He just seemed like a bit of a pushy sort to me:-
Whatever those kids were drinking, it wasn’t milk.
Recently though, I’ve begun to feel that there might be a new culprit to blame in my devastating milk-history. Russian dolls. At first glance, they seem perfectly normal. So normal, in fact, that I collect them. I’ve always liked the way they stack inside each other and you can really good ones with different political leaders inside them, which I like because that reminds me of political scandals – no sooner do you think it’s over than something else breaks out from inside.
Lately though, I’ve started to feel that they are a bit strange in some way that I can’t quite put my finger on. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up one night and they were spread out around my room, going through my stuff for things they could pawn so they could make enough money to run away to sea. I’m sure the person who invented them didn’t foresee such a catastrophe as all of my Russian dolls throwing themselves off my balcony in the middle of the night so they could just put themselves back together and roll off into the night. Things like that can be hard to predict.
Which makes it ALL THE MORE SHOCKING that I have discovered a link between my Russian dolls and a DEVASTATING PLOT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD VIA MILK!!!! Now, don’t be alarmed. Know this: I am on to them, and I don’t intend to let them get away with it! Luckily, I came across a recruitment video:
Hmmmm. Diagnosis: trouble.
The first time I saw this ad, I could hear the Laughing Cow in the distance. Waving her head in a sneer so that the cheeses she wears as earrings bobbed from side to side, she was sure she had it all sewn up. Because that’s what I realised what it had all been about. The sauces needing a pint of milk stirred in or the whole meal goes bottoms-up; the trauma inflicted by every new incarnation of the Milky Bar kid; the sorrow when you finally have to admit defeat and turn away from the night sky because it contains a Milky Way. It all boiled down to this moment. The cows were out to get me and milk was the easiest way they could manage it.
I knew I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve had an uneasy relationship with cows, ever since I used to go for walks in the country as a kid. They’d stop. And stare. And chew. Right then and there, our cards were marked. It was them or me.
Since then, they’ve done their thing and I’ve done mine. But I feel like we’re headed for a Kill-Bill-style ending. One where I’ll emerge victorious, admittedly covered in milk – (I’ll bear it so that Tarantino can add the dramatic music) – and then I’ll get on with the rest of my life. Strong. Defiant. Lactose-intolerant.
Either that, or I’ll revert to Plan B, which, in keeping with the zeitgeist, involves OccupyDairy. I’m not gonna lie to you, it won’t be pretty, the smell will drive me insane within twenty-five minutes, but at least it will put manners on those Ruskie Dolls.