Being Hungover

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I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but somehow hangovers have slipped out of the shadows and begun choking the life out of my Saturdays, Sundays, and occasionally Mondays. Hangovers have slowly evolved from funny, spill your orange juice and laugh your ass off mornings to self assessing, emotionally and spiritually questioning journeys through darkness. Hangovers. They’re here. Like an army of orcs standing at the city’s gate. Waiting to just ruin your fucking day. Waiting to chop down your door, pull you from out underneath your covers and put your head on a stake outside the city.

So hangovers are shitty now. That has become factual in my life. They are now much shittier than they used to be. At first they just didnt exist; In my early drinking days. I’d wake up at 9am after being completely blacked out at a family dinner – made a huge fool of myself to the point where dad says ‘i’m done with this bullshit’ and leaves the table after i make some heinously inappropriate comment to one of our guests – and be ready to go play 18 holes.

Then in college they became a bit worse. But with the right strategies, they could be almost completely avoidable. Drink water until it spills out of your mouth. Drink it until one more swallow and it’s all coming back up. Go to sleep feeling like a water balloon, and wake up feeling like Davy Crockett. It was that easy.

But now, unfortunately, I haven’t found out any fail-safe techniques to the issue. I guess the logical answer would be to just, stop drinking so damn much. If you don’t drink until you cant speak, then you wont feel like a cold bag of shit the next morning. Simple. But that is terribly unrealistic, and would be borderline social suicide in my present situation. The common denominator amongst all my friends, and i’ve only come to realize this very recently, is that we all enjoy getting unacceptably inebriated at the drop of a brown suede fedora.

So with that in mind, the consequence inevitably drops its sledgehammer on my soft cranium the following morning and I have to find out a way to deal with it. The most obvious answer is of course excessive masturbation. For some reason it just feels right to crank out a round or two in the AM of an earth shattering hangover. But here’s the problem, it may feel more satisfying because the feeling of joy seems so far away to the depressed mind of a hangover, yet sensational and vision blurring pleasure are just a few minutes away with the help of a roommates ipad…but about 15 seconds after finishing, you’d just as soon jump headfirst into a swimming pool of gasoline holding a road flare in your teeth. My advice? Do it, obviously. But dont count on it turning things around.

(that suggestion comes with the assumption that you don’t have a girlfriend, because a lengthy session of passionate love-making followed by a lazy afternoon of romantic comedies, cut into sections by steamy sex in funny places around the apartment is the magical cure to pretty much any bad situation. But this isn’t addressed to the lucky folks with that privilege. I’m talking about about cold, solitary suffering with nothing but your own thoughts to back you away from the ledge.)

Another option is exercise, a word that i can never manage to spell correctly the first time. A lot of people like to go to yoga after a night of hard drinking and, ‘sweat out all the toxins’. As if they’re going to just crawl into the yoga studio on their hands and knees begging to find a loaded handgun somewhere in the building, and leave covered in sweat and chatting with the cute girl in hot pink spankies who taught you how to properly arch your back in downward dog. I dont think so. Here’s what happens. You go to yoga, you think its going to suck, and it sucks even worse than you could imagine. You forget your water because you’re not thinking straight, then you notice you’re the only person in the 40 student, sold out yoga class that didnt bring some form of hydration, so you spend the first half of the class wondering if you should even be in the fucking studio if it’s even safe to be doing this. Then the crazy instructor who you think has it out for you starts turning on all the heaters that you didnt even notice were there and it starts getting really really really hot. You start sweating profusely and know that your neighbors are probably getting drunk off your fumes, and that a shot glass full of your sweat could more than likely kill a small village of clueless aborigines if you went about it tactfully. You then realize that your mind is racing and that you are beyond dehydrated and need to get a drink of water from the water fountain in hallway. You exit the studio and everyone stares at you. You take a long drink of water and realize there is no point in going back in, so you go home and take a shower. You feel weird and slightly embarrassed so you take a 2 hour shame nap, which turns into a 5 hour slumber and your day is over. Namaste.

Another popular option is binge eating. Ya know, ‘get some fuel in ya’. Because that’s what everyone needs when they don’t know which way is up. A 5,000 calorie meal covered in syrup and a tab for 75 bucks. There’s honestly nothing worse that waking up somewhere you don’t want to be, and being surrounded by people you don’t really know who all want to have a post-blackout group hangout session while ordering disgusting food and laughing about the night before. Sounds like fun, but it’s not fun. People are trying to be hungover funny, and I’m ready to burn the diner to the floor and unload a hot, frothy load of bright yellow dehydrated piss on the ashes. Now I’m not saying it’s impossible to laugh with your buddies when you’re all impossibly hungover and looking for answers. That’s great. But it’s me and two, maybe three close friends telling close/interpersonal jokes and making fun of everyone else we hung out with the night before. It’s not me at the end of an 8 top trying to remember everyone’s names and whether or not I’ll scare the group if I order a shot of whiskey while Henrique and Felicity laugh at how they bought an 8 dollar bottle of champagne from duane reade at 2am and it was just ‘so ridiculous’. Then the bill comes and everyone just toss their cards in the bowl and ‘just split it up evenly, thanks.’ 75 bucks later you’re in bed trying to forget it all happened. No thanks. Just jerk off and go back to sleep.

The final, and best method in my delusional brain, is the idea that in order to regain any sort of feelings of normalcy…you must simply continue drinking. That means the green light is glowing as soon as the jeans are buttoned and the sweatshirt comes down over the disheveled rats nest. It means scaring people who are unfamiliar with this method. It means realizing you’ve filled in the ‘option D’ bubble on the first question of the ‘are you an alcoholic’ test. ‘Do you ever drink alcohol the morning after a night of heavy alcohol use?’ I used to be so confused by that question.

Who does that?

That’s scary stuff. 

That’s what old divorced men do. 

Now it’s what I do. And guess what? It fucking works. But sadly, it is only a temporary remedy; it only postpones the inevitable. Hangovers have now become a looming glacier that starts crawling toward me as soon as that first IPA touches my lips at 7pm on Friday, and crushes me on Monday morning. It’s as if i’m running up the wrong side of an escalator, and there’s a buzz-saw at the bottom. It grabs the heels of my shoes, sucks me inside, and then pours me into a 5 gallon bucket that people can use to attract sharks on some lame port of call expedition from Carnival Cruises.

So enjoy those early days. Wake up and give your mother a big ol hug and say, ‘sorry about that mom. I guess I just need to know my limits. It won’t happen again. I’m going down to go play tennis with Andrew in about 30 minutes. It’s so nice out!’

But if those days are gone, just accept the evolution of the consequence…and snap open a cold one in the AM before you even think twice. You won’t regret it. Yes you will. But not until Monday morning. And that, my friend, is a loooooong ways away.

Here’s to the weekend.