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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

That’s One Way to Milk a Weekend

I’ve mostly recovered from my weekend illness, though I’m still feeling a bit ’emptied out’. For reasons that you probably shouldn’t think about in too much detail.

I’m happy to report, though, that solid food was back on the table today. Also, in the stomach, which makes me even happier. But it was another bit of liquid diet that gave me pause this evening.

(Not the stomach sort of pause, thankfully. I promise, I’m done with the gastrointestinal humor. At least until Thanksgiving.)

After a light dinner, I was feeling up to a pre-bedtime drink. And what better way to shuffle off toward Sleepytown than with a nice big glass of milk?

(Not warm milk, though. I know that’s the insomnia cure cliche, but I just don’t go there. I stopped drinking my milk warm when it stopped being dispensed through a boob. So unless you count the possibly mildly retarded high school kid who stocks the dairy aisle at my local supermarket, those days are sadly done.)

But I didn’t reach for regular milk. No. Though I’m a big fan of the moo juice — cow squirts, dairy drip, udder pus, call it what you will — I’ve recently discovered that I also have a taste for another kind: soy milk.

“How on earth they milk those little bean teats — or what kind of sicko first tried — is not something I pretend to understand. Or have fingers small enough to attempt myself.”

To be fair, soy milk is a different animal altogether than cow’s milk. For one thing, it doesn’t come from an animal at all. It’s made from soybeans, of course. How on earth they milk those little bean teats — or what kind of sicko first tried — is not something I pretend to understand. Or have fingers small enough to attempt myself. I just know that I drank it once, and I liked it, and now I drink it on occasion when the mood strikes.

(Or when I accidentally call regular milk names like ‘dairy drip’ or ‘udder pus’ in my head. Seriously, you do not know what it’s like in here. Life gets complicated in a hurry.)

So I reached for the carton of soy milk and poured a nice tall thick chalky glassful.

(Hey, I said I liked it. I never said I wasn’t realistic about it. If you gave me cow’s milk the same consistency, I’d think it had been grazing in a field of dirty blackboards. Somehow, coming from little beans makes it okay. Coming out of a bean makes everything okay.)

As I returned the carton to the fridge, I noticed a new slogan printed on the side. In big, friendly letters it read:


A simple enough message, I suppose. But I couldn’t help wondering — why was it there? What insightful bit of genius marketing inspiration had compelled the company to update their packaging to slather this piece of information on every container? Somehow, they felt that advertising the continent of origin of their beans would make them money. But how?

I could think of only two reasons. But neither made much sense.

First, it’s possible that they want people to know that the beans being milked — or squeezed, or wrung, or sweated, or however the hell they get that juice out — don’t have to travel far for the job. Which would be useful to know if, say, we were talking about strawberries. Or bread. Or people breast milk. These are delicate and perishable items, easily spoiled or contaminated if left too long on a slow cargo boat to their destination.

But soybeans? I’m not so sure. Maybe I’m wrong in this, but I thought the advantage of soybeans was that they’re pretty sturdy little buggers. They ship well and spoil slow — you could send them on a luxury cruise around the Cape of Good Hope and still confidently gobble down the edamame when they hit the dock at home.

(That may sound a bit barbaric, when put in those terms. Still, I just hope to god that if someone ever decides to eat me, they drop me on a Carnival boat for a couple of weeks of R & R first.

Seriously. I’ll have the time of my life, and be nice and fattened up for whoever’s chowing me down. It’s a ‘win-win’, is all I’m saying.)

More likely, I figured, was that the milk men wanted to hop on the patriotic bandwagon that triggers millions of clean-livin’ hard-workin’ lunchpail-totin’ Americans to buy when they see a product that’s: ‘Made in the U.S.A.

Only, these beans aren’t, I bet. Or else the carton would say so. Instead, it says: ‘Made From NORTH AMERICAN SOYBEANS

So you know what that means, right? Some of those little buggers are Canadian beans. Those beans have been planted by French-speakers, fertilized with moose turds and had their little bean boobs milked by north-of-the-border universal health care workers. Probably even been called legumes.

Or maybe those are Mexican soybeans — raised on tequila and chimichangas, protected by sombreros from the siesta-time sun, and whisked away at the peak of ripeness by mustachioed banditos from Tijuana. For all we know, they were fried — and refried again — before the leche was squeezed out of them.

But that would never do, if the brand is shooting for the ‘homegrown’ angle. So ‘NORTH AMERICAN SOYBEANS‘ it is.

Me, I don’t really give a damn. I just like the ‘milk’. And I figured the beans were from Japan, probably. Because what the hell do I know about soybean production around the globe? What am I, a ninth grade social studies report?

The only important things to me here are:

1) the milk, now finished, was delicious;

B) it was neither warm, nor squirted directly from lactating bean hooters; and

iii) the carton gave me something to think about, after a wasted weekend of being sick.

Imagining little Royal Canadian Mounted soybeans or Cinco de Mayo-celebrating soybeans contributing to my tasty beverage is just a bonus. And one which may lead to some very interesting dreams. I think I’ll go see what those are like now. Good night.

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