Frequently Asked Questions About the Beneficent Order of Milkmen.

What is the Beneficent Order of Milkmen?

The Beneficent Order of Milkmen is a private philanthropic organization of like-minded individuals dedicated to the preservation of wholesomeness and consistency in the social order.

How does the Order exercise this dedication?

Milkmen nourish the social order through the sale and delivery of wholesome milk, and protect the social order through a grassroots policy of active civility. Milkmen enjoy a unique and synergistic place in society, as their livelihood — the door-to-door distribution of milk and other healthful dairy products — places them in the community at street level, allowing them unique perspective and positioning to protect all that is good.

How do milkmen define “good”?

The way it should be defined.

Can you be more specific?

In a word: no. You should ask a different question now. Maybe something about our uniforms.

I’d think many people want to know how the Beneficent Order of Milkmen defines goodness.

Actually we get many more questions about our uniforms.

Seriously?

Oh yes. In fact, our most frequently asked question is “What sort of uniforms do milkmen wear?” Perhaps you could ask that one.

Alright. What sort of uniforms do milkmen wear?

Milkmen wear white trousers and a matching side-buttoning jacket, though when we use the term “side-buttoning” we mean the left side of the front, rather than the literal side. Also, the jacket might be better described as a tunic, due to its style and cut. We are unsure whether a tunic can have closures. The jacket is custom-designed and very unique, with a high collar and a sort of quasi-medical feel. It is hard to describe. Perhaps you should just request a picture from our Public Relations department. Milkmen also wear a traditional milkman’s hat, which is definitely too difficult to describe without recourse to the confusing jargon of millinery, but which we are certain you are familiar with; sturdy black shoes; and the Order’s official facial expression.

Milkmen are required by our official dress code to keep an immaculate appearance. Mustaches, beards and any other configurations of facial hair are forbidden. Their uniforms are invariably crisp and gleaming, the color in their healthful faces accentuating the glow of their starched hats, jackets, and pants. Contrary to popular belief, the uniforms are not lit by electricity or bioluminescence.

Why do milkmen wear sturdy black shoes?

A milkman’s shoes are sturdy because the feet are the milkman’s most common point of contact with the world, and they are black because black is the easiest color to maintain. Further, white shoes were too reminiscent of both televangelists, whom we do not support or condone, and golf, the sport of the corrupt and indolent.

What is the official facial expression of the milkman?

A closed-mouth smile, in which the teeth are not bared. The order feels this expression communicates the appropriate combination of beneficence and detachment, of being paternal without being patriarchal. The Order researched the smile with great thoroughness before adopting it.

Why are milkmen always clean-shaven?

Because we are wholesome, and pure, and honest, just like our wares. Milkmen view facial hair as a form of deceit.

Can women become milkmen?

By way of a series of expensive surgeries and hormone therapies, yes.

Let me rephrase. Can women join the Beneficent Order of Milkmen?

No. Because the Order believes the role of milkman is an inherently and distinctly masculine one, only males over the age of 18 who adhere to the Milkman’s Creed are eligible for membership. (Exceptions are made for others who undergo the series of expensive surgeries and hormone therapies, as their dedication to the Order’s beliefs is both admirable and inspiring.) However, because the Order views women as equal partners in the maintenance of a stable and wholesome society, we encourage like-minded females to join our sister organization, the Beneficent Order of Milkmaids. Please note also that the term “Milkmaids” was chosen for aesthetic reasons, and was not an attempt to marginalize, subjugate, or diminutify women in any way.

“Diminutify” is not a word.

And that is not a question.

Fair enough. What are the differences between the Beneficent Order of Milkmen and the Beneficent Order of Milkmaids?

The only significant difference is that the Order of Milkmen is populated by men and the Order of Milkmaids is populated by women. Both orders swear by the Milkman’s Creed, both orders deliver milk and work to maintain the social order, both orders wear white uniforms (though the uniforms differ in fit and construction, for obvious anatomical reasons). Fraternization between the two orders is encouraged; every year the milkmen and milkmaids gather together for a picnic. The picnic is very fun. There are old-fashioned games, and a potluck dinner, and lots of dark beer.

Why do milkmen drink dark beer?

To disrupt the monotony of their professional lives. While all milkmen believe milk is a satisfying, nourishing, and thoroughly wholesome beverage (and swear to such, as part of the Milkman’s Creed), they are also aware that other drinks have unique merits, alcoholic drinks especially. Milkmen find the deep brown and/or black color, mild carbonation, and complex flavors of stouts and porters to be a refreshing alternative to thick, white, creamy and fizzless milk, a yang to the yin, or yin to the yang, depending on which is represented by which color. However, milkmen most often imbibe the cream or “milk” stouts, because they contain lactose.

Why are there no milkmen with eyeglasses?

All milkmen must have perfect vision, in order to accurately throw their bottles.

Why do milkmen throw their bottles? Doesn’t that break the bottles and spill the milk?

We only throw the empties, so no milk is spilled. And we throw them to subdue evil, and maintain order.

How does throwing empty bottles subdue evil?

We throw the empties at evildoers, which disrupts their evildoing. The disruption and subduing of evil is part of our policy of active civility, and bottles are our weapon of choice.

I meant to ask earlier: what is “active civility”?

Active civility is the Order’s term for direct engagement with our fellow citizens and the world in which we all live. Milkmen do not merely subscribe to the ideals of wholesomeness and consistency, they encourage others to value those ideals as well. In the course of our rounds as purveyors of fresh wholesome milk and other dairy products, the milkmen remain vigilant for activities and individuals who pose a danger to the community or who threaten to destabilize the extant social order. When the milkmen witness these evils, they throw bottles at the perpetrators. It can be very persuasive. Many municipalities have hired us to work in a supplementary capacity with their police departments, or have entirely replaced their local police with chapters of our Order.

Other private organizations have been known to throw bottles in furtherance of community-building, for example, the Society of Benevolent Barkeeps.

The Order is aware of this. We’ve been meaning to talk to them about it.

The milkmen don’t approve of the barkeeps’ bottle throwing?

We approve of very little that the barkeeps do, but we especially disapprove of their bottle throwing. Their technique is unseemly and their motives are questionable.

Don’t you and the barkeeps have similar goals? Maintaining social order and the like?

Their stated goals are similar to ours, though their definitions of certain key terms vary wildly from our own. The only real common ground between our two organizations (as much as their gang of nocturnal drunks can be called an organization) is that we both use bottles.

The barkeeps have been very vocal regarding their concerns about your bottles, namely that your empty bottles are getting larger. And heavier.

Evil is becoming harder to subdue, and order harder to maintain, and these circumstances dictate the procurement and use of larger bottles, and stronger throwing arms.

The barkeeps claim the milkmen are working on a bottle as big as a house.

They are wrong. It’s as big as a pub. And we are building giant mechanical arms to throw it.

That seems deliberately antagonistic.

And your recent questions aren’t very question-y, and they smack of barkeep sympathies. Perhaps you should ask some non-barkeep-related questions.

But you’ve made the barkeep-related line questions very interesting. Why are milkmen so hostile toward barkeeps?

We aren’t, unless they disturb the peacefulness of the community, which they seem to do naturally. If the barkeeps were not so relentless in their flaunting of decency and good taste as it should be defined, there would be no tension between our two professions. Unfortunately, and entirely due to the barkeeps, this is not the case. The barkeeps are rowdy and unruly. They do not respect the Milkman’s Creed, and they seem to think they are experts on how to best maintain a orderly society, which is clearly not the case. Most of them live above bars, for Pete’s sake. Do you really want to trust the foundation of your clean and wholesome life to someone who lives above a bar?

They work in the bars below their apartments, don’t they?

That’s beside the point. It’s one symptom of their casual, almost flippant disregard for propriety and decorum. Take bedtimes, for example. The Order advocates a bedtime of 10:30 pm, which allows for watching the late news while defusing the potential temptation of late night drinking. Barkeeps take no position on bedtimes whatsoever. This is irresponsible and sends an implicitly disruptive message.

Mandated bedtimes are part of a healthy social order?

Yes. We are surprised you have to ask. Other necessities for social order include identical haircuts for all citizens, the “no frowns in public” policy, and exile for repeat offenders.

What kind of “orderly society” do the milkmen have in mind?

Again, you are asking us to define “good.” If you would like specific examples of proper conduct or the theoretical underpinnings of those behaviors, I suggest you contact our Public Relations department and request a copy of our book The Wholesome Society, which outlines in exhaustive detail which of your actions are right and which are wrong. If you are hoping to engage in debate regarding the Order’s philosophical positions, we are sorry, but you will lose.

Why?

Because you are wrong.

You don’t know what my positions are. Isn’t debate an important part of a healthy society?

No. The members of the Order have constructed responses and etiquette applicable to any conceivable situation. We put a lot of thought into everything. No more thought is required.

Any conceivable situation? That’s not possible. Unexpected things are bound to happen.

The whole point of the Order and its codes is to ensure that nothing unexpected ever happens again. Unknown variables are eliminated. You don’t really expect to maintain order in a system that could change at any moment, do you? If you do, then you are very naive. Regardless, our wholesome society compensates for your naivete and any other troublesome wild cards. We have the perfect plan. Once rogue elements like the barkeeps and other undesirables are removed, society will maintain itself, under the unblinking gaze of the Beneficent Order of Milkmen. No more thought is required.

But –

No more thought is required.

How can you make a generalization like that?

It’s very easy, because we are right.

You don’t sound very right to me.

Not a question.

No wonder the barkeeps don’t like you guys.

You have no more questions.

Actually, I have many more questions, and some statements to make.

No, you don’t. Thank you for your interest!

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