My Favorite Hangover

The Street Hustle

I woke Saturday morning with a hangover.  Not a hangover for the ages, not a hangover one can blame on a friend and certainly not anywhere near a hangover to remember.  No, this was a simple run of the mill, slightly headachy, slightly dehydrated, slightly grumpy at the world and the various bottles of the night before variety that goes away after a couple of Advil, some coffee, a couple of Milk thistle and a trip to the gym.

For those in the drinking culture, a hangover is simply the cost of doing business; a street tax levied upon you by the Great Magnet for having too good a time the night before.  The hangover isn’t something you fear, it’s something you deal with, something you cure as quickly as you can so you can get on with your day.  Interestingly enough, although science knows why a hangover occurs, the field has no idea how to cure said condition.

According to the Wikipedia, a hangover is defined as “…the experience of various unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. The most commonly reported characteristics of a hangover include headache,nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, lethargy, dysphoria, diarrhea and thirst, typically after the intoxicating effect of the alcohol begins to wear off. While a hangover can be experienced at any time, generally a hangover is experienced the morning after a night of heavy drinking. In addition to the physical symptoms, a hangover may also induce psychological symptoms including heightened feelings of depression and anxiety.

Hypoglycemia, dehydration, acetaldehyde intoxication, and glutamine rebound are all theorized causes of hangover symptoms.[1] Hangover symptoms may persist for several days after alcohol was last consumed. Approximately 25-30% of drinkers may be resistant to hangover symptoms.[2] Some aspects of a hangover are viewed as symptoms of acute ethanol withdrawal, similar to the longer-duration effects of withdrawal from alcoholism, as determined by studying the increases in brain reward thresholds in rats (the amount of current required to receive from two electrodes implanted in the lateral hypothalamus) following ethanol injection.[3] Dehydration is caused by alcohol’s ability to inhibit the effect of anti-diuretic hormone on kidney tubules,[4] which leads to an interruption of the body’s Krebs cycle[citation needed] and the swelling of the brain against the lining of the skull.”

The cures for hangovers vary.  I have recently subscribed to the Milk thistle, Advil, coffee and hydration route with rousing success.  Others, including my friend Jimmy subscribe to the Hair of the Dog.  Dean Martin claims the secret cure for a hangover is to stay drunk.  Other cures include Kudzu, honey, juice, oxygen and Globe artichoke.  However, nothing cures a hangover as well as sleep and time.  Of course the issue with those ‘cures’ is one still has to go through the pain that will come, the boom crunch in the head, the nausea, the dry mouth and general feeling of being run under a truck.

My personal feeling is if one can enjoy the night of drinking before then one should learn to enjoy the hangover the next morning.  Be it by slowly going to McDonald’s to find some grease to appease the liver and stomach or by Facebooking the partners in crime from the night before about sweating on the computer, embracing the hangover can help the effects go away faster.  To that end, I have started keeping notes on my hangovers, the why, wherefores and moments to remember – on occasion even fondly.

My favorite hangover came in June of 2009 after my first date with the lovely Cari Borgna.  We met at Keen’s Steakhouse for a quick drink and ended up having dinner and bouncing around Chelsea for several hours finally ending up at Merchant’s on 7th Ave and 17th Street around 11pm.  We decided on a bottle of Chateauneauf de Pape and zig zagged out of the place at 12:45am.  After some macking in the cab on the way home, we agreed to meet for Karaoke a couple of days later.

The next morning the suns rays found me at 8am splayed across my bed, still semi-clothed.  I reached for my glasses and phone on the nightstand to the right of the bed knowing although the pain hadn’t begun, this day was going to hurt.  I clicked on my phone to find a text message from Cari saying ‘The Pope did us in last night.’


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