A few months ago, I was caught up in the Facebook craze of “25 Random Things About Me.” Before you judge, let me point out that at least I’m holding out on joining “Mafia Wars.”

In any case, one of my random facts was the revelation that getting milk on my skin creeps me out. This is what I wrote:

“The sensation and smell of milk on my skin is one of the most repulsive things in the world to me. Whenever I handle the liquid, which isn’t often, I treat it like explosive nitroglycerin.”


My squeamishness toward milk is not, I believe, related to the fact that I’m lactose intolerant. If it were, most of the people in my family – and indeed, most Hispanics – would share my revulsion at the liquid. I’ve heard Asians have similar problems. And it’s not uncommon among African Americans.

In fact, pretty much the only individuals who are really designed for the substance are of European (specifically Scandinavian) descent. This seems to surprise many people.

The myth that milk is good for everybody was propagated by those ubiquitous “Got Milk?” ads, which I don’t believe featured a single Hispanic. This was not due to the nefarious racism of the dairy industry. Rather, it was the simple acknowledgement that, once past childhood, most Latinos have to watch their intake of ice cream, mac-n-cheese, and the like. Failure to do so can lead to, shall we say, explosive results.

It was comical growing up lactose intolerant in America’s Dairyland. It’s like living in Vegas and hating gambling, or moving to Cooperstown and despising baseball. Perhaps the realization that my physical condition was an instant metaphor helped me to develop my love of bitter irony.

Speaking of ironic (or just as random as the original twenty-five Facebook facts), I have to point out that I love cheese. It may be my favorite food.

What’s that all about?