Great missing milk caper of 2023


I was thinking that this week’s submission would be about something called the Great Milk Caper of 2023.
It’s something that I’ve been investigating on my own time. I haven’t forwarded the case to Police Chief Mark Rohloff because of two reasons. One, I’m probably out of mind and I’m not sure there’s any blame there; and the other is because those are serious people doing serious work.
I also have some friends in the sheriff’s department, but I’ve got some investigation skills of my own, albeit from a safe distance.
Here’s the crux of this case.
Someone stole milk out of my fridge.
I know when I reach into the stainless steel double-sided refrigerator and pull the half-gallon of milk out of the side door, unscrew the lid, and splash it over the shredded wheat and strawberries, that’s my milk.
I don’t really think about it being my milk, but it is. I remember picking it off the shelf at Fareway, putting it in my cart, and ultimately storing it behind the opened bottle of milk already in the fridge.
Here’s the deal, the other day when I went through my normal routine as coffee streamed from a pod snapped into this black machine that makes a cup at a time, there was… no… milk.
I stood there looking at the empty shelf and thinking, ‘Man, I’m outta milk’.
Then I started looking on the shelves to make sure I didn’t lay it down in there putting away the yogurt. I like to ‘aisle’ the yogurt if you will, with the strawberry vanilla in one row, the vanilla in another, blueberry etc, etc. So it was easy to tell that there was no milk stored inappropriately on a shelf.
I stood and stared at the open fridge that was now binging at me because the door was open, letting all the cold out. My fridge was digitally scolding me for standing there in awe that I had no milk.
I put the dry bowl of wheat and fruit in the fridge and shut the door. It felt a little awkward, I had let the machine down by keeping its door open.
I turned and looked around the kitchen, my head tilted slightly as I turned. To think I was expecting to see someone standing there with my milk in hand and a milk moustache was probably a little extraordinary.
I went to the hallway and grabbed my Red Rider BB gun and walked back into the kitchen and then out into what I call a rec room.
Now. Let’s not get outta hand here. I didn’t have the mini rifle up to my eye, walking military style with intention and stability through my house, looking to clear corners. I just carried it point down. That would be plenty intimidating if I just walked into a room with that – I think anyway.
Needless to say, there was no one in the rec room or anywhere else in the house taking a big pull off a half-gallon of skim milk.
But I would remember, I’m sure, throwing away a half gallon of milk, or even finishing it off. I just didn’t do it. I think the fix is in somewhere.
So I brought it up with family members over dinner the other night.
“Someone stole my milk! Nothing else,” I told them. They laughed. Which should tell you something about this story.
The uncured honey ham was still there, the pepper jack cheese, yogurt, hot sauces, Miracle Whip, dressings, salad bags, fruit cups, beer, wine – it was all there. It’s like someone robbed a bank and just took the rolls of nickels.
Someone just took the milk. How arrogant. How disrespectful.
I can take the kids running around in hoodies so Ring doesn’t catch their face, knocking on my door at all hours of the night. I can take the rabbits and squirrels, and the beautiful, but mean, cardinals that dominate my back yard. But, for someone to find a way into the house and finish off my milk makes me think that something else may be afoot. (That’s an old Sherlock Holmes turn). And if they’re just gonna come in and finish the milk, at least fold the whites in the dryer.
Here's the rub, I’m getting older. I can feel it for the first time.
There’s a pole in a room at my brother’s place and I tried the other day to swing around on the pole in a dancer-type fashion. I couldn’t hold myself up on the damned thing.
My mind says I can do it, but my body says, “Not even close….buuud.”
So is my mind now creating gaps at less than 55 years of age? I mean, can I actually be having gaps in the present to create anxiety for the future, and a sadness of the past?
Maybe. My mind is still pretty sharp. I can write these things. I can play cards and win. I can even sort through the typical probabilities of a slot machine and hopefully guess when to bet big.
But, this is my milk. It's ironic that milk is good for the brain and I can’t remember throwing it out. Earlier this year, I drove to an event in West Point, got to the event, but didn’t really remember driving on the roadway to the event.
Now I listen to the radio heavily. It’s always on. And usually I’m seat dancing to whatever music is on. If it’s a Reds' game on Sirius, then I’m just visualizing each pitch and swing based on the play-by-play man’s call.
But I can do it. To me, that affirms that my mind is good and true. So that only leaves the possibility, if we follow Ocham’s Razor, that the simplest answer when all other options are peeled away, is the correct answer.
If we believe Ocham wasn’t a nut job, and the jury’s out, then someone pilfered the rest of my milk. Probably stood there with the door open and alarm bell ringing while they did it. Probably dribbled a little on the floor off their chin as they tipped the bottle up.
I would assume this person was about 6’2” and 230 lbs., grayish hair, probably wearing shorts and a t-shirt and was thinking about any number of things that had to be done that day.
I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt and second chances.
I think I’ll just go by some more milk – But that’s Beside the Point.
Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached at

Beside the Point, editorial, Sunday, opinion, columnist, humor, Chuck Vandenberg, Pen City Current,


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