Milk behind philosophical thinking

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico columnist

There are no three-quart milk jugs — only philosophical dilemmas.

I face mine while staring through the glass — not opening the door so as not to fog the view for the next person’s philosophical dilemma.

Half-gallon or full gallon?

If I go half, I run the risk of running out of milk at the worst time to run out of milk, and deal with the next philosophical dilemma — suffer in an apartment without milk, or go get more? Like countless other philosophical dilemmas, this will be decided by my desire to put on pants.

Do I get the full gallon and race to the expiration date? Drink milk until I’m sick of it, as if my life were a dairy version of “Brewster’s Millions” as I find creative ways to get rid of the milk? Cereal for lunch, milkshakes for dinner and a jug of Ovaltine to hydrate me at the gym.

I get the full gallon, but try to push the drop-dead date for my milk. I am a “milk maid,” as described in the cult classic film, “Clerks.” As clerk Dante Hicks says, a milk maid will “go through every gallon of milk, looking for that later date as if somewhere beyond all the other gallons, is a container of milk that won’t go bad for like a decade.”

I have certain physical advantages as a milk maid — at 5-foot-11, I’m tall enough to not only reach any gallon of milk, but to peer toward the back and find the gallon of milk that will run out long before my supply of Multi-Grain Cheerios. I am the LeBron James of this milk universe, and other shoppers are DeShawn Stevenson.

I find the gallon I so desire — it reads, “JAN 05 2009.” But now, I have a new question, and it’s not philosophical. What, exactly, is the year doing on the expiration date?

This isn’t a slapstick question to me, like ‘Why do drive-up ATMs have Braille letters?” For anybody who’s still asking that, it’s because all ATMs are built as uniform as possible to minimize costs. Also, it’s not ridiculous to assume you could drive a blind friend to the bank and that friend could use the ATM from a passenger window. I can see the purpose, however limited, for Braille on drive-up ATMs.

But I still wonder — what possible purpose does it serve to tell me the expiration year of something that lasts three weeks at the most?

I see no savings, because it takes more ink to print “JAN 05 2009” than it does to print “JAN 05.” Almost twice the ink, in fact. There are no savings, unless …

I’ve got it — food industries are re-using stamps. The canned soup companies got the “JAN 05 2009” stamps sometime during the Reagan administration, then handed it over to the bottled water people during the Clinton administration. It went to the Ramen noodles people when George W. Bush was elected,