The Scary Milk Man


I remember the milk man coming to our door, circa 1960. Blind kid and strange man with white coat. I feared he was a doctor. Blind kid who had been in hospital plenty of times already by the age of 5. “Ding Dong!” Its the doctor. Talk about a melancholy breakfast, eh Larry Rivers? 


This was in mind, as Lance Mannion told me about the butter sculpture at the New York State Fair–many years ago mind you–but his own son, then around five, saw a vast butterized statue of a milk man and, hearing that back in the day such a figure really existed, opined that his father was pulling his leg. Who would dress up like a doctor and deliver milk? 


Perhaps I’m also in mind of this theme–the ersatz doctor–because tomorrow I will be a respondent when my colleague Bill Peace delivers a paper at Columbia University on the notorious Dr. Kevorkian. The nexus of unconscious figurations is fair amazing: man in white coat and driving a funny van pulls up to your house. Old joke from Jay Leno: “Do you suppose when Santa Claus visits Dr. Kevorkian’s house he tries the milk and cookies?” 


Scary ersatz doctors, frightening “faux” bio-ethicists, maybe toss in Ingmar Bergman’s “death” from the Seventh Seal… 


I’m taking a stab against nostalgia. I think its good the milk man is now a mythology in butter. 


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