Liquor Lecture – Hangovers – Column

Liquor Lecture

by Lex Marburger
Illustrations by Eric Johnson

It has come to the attention of Lollipop that many of our readers enjoy imbibing an alcoholic liquid every now and again (and again…). In the public interest, we offer a Lollipop guide to Liquor. Please note: We are trained professionals and the “experiments” that follow were not attempted by “casual” or “social” drinkers. Lollipop assumes no responsibility for the actions of any drunk person, including its own staff. And ask Mom first, okay?


“Mike, what’s the best thing for a hangover?”
“Drinking heavily the night before.”
-from The Young Ones

OWW. That should be sufficient for most of you, but I’ve gotten several inquiries about why I haven’t dealt with the price of the fiddler for a long night’s fun. Many times I’ve had to deal with my own (and others’) loathing of existence due to the excesses of alcohol and its many impurities. There are some who claim that they have never had a hangover. To them I say, you have never had the full drinking experience. Then I tell them to fuck off.

There was a time in my past when I actually enjoyed hangovers. Okay, maybe “enjoy” is too strong a word. I would wake up after a hard night’s drinking, fetid tequila on my breath, and the world would take a lurching roll. I’d grab at my skull, feel the dull ache, and realize that I was, in fact, alive. The pain assured me of my existence, and I found comfort in the fact that my misery put paid to any additional existential angst. Of course, I was wearing a lot of black at the time. These days, I try to avoid hangovers as best I can, but try as I may, they happen to the best of us. I feel them in a few distinct ways:

The Spike Through The Forehead. This spike actually goes through the frontal cortex, and the point seems to tickle the medulla oblongata, which causes all sorts of moans, hitched breathing, and general slow convulsing. I usually end up staring at the ceiling, wondering what I’ve done to deserve this as the sharp metal rod digs away. At about that time, images from the previous night start to form, and, not having the strength to push them away, I wallow in the embarrassment and humiliation of actually getting on the table and… Wait a minute. Why am I telling you this? Anyway, I usually get this one from drinking hard alcohols straight. Vodka, bourbon, and the like, but not usually stuff like rum.

The Full Body Exhaustion Ache. Y’know, like you just got hit by a fully loaded milk truck… Now that’s lactose intolerance. Hard to move, getting out of bed next to impossible, I usually end up slumped over a chair or on a couch, wondering what I’ve done to deserve this. This one usually comes after a marathon party, the kind that ends up going until sunrise, alcohols being mixed with alarming frequency, usually on the sweet side for that sugar rush, and me ending up dancing naked with… There I go again.

The Time Delay. You know you’ve overdone it, but you don’t feel so bad the next day, so you decide to go to work. Then, on your way in, you start to get a headache. This slowly progresses and by the time you get into work, your throat feels like sandpaper, your eyes are more bloodshot than a weeping stoner in a sandstorm, and your head is about to implode. As you can probably guess, I usually end up in front of my computer, wondering what I’ve done to deserve this. The Time Delay can happen at any moment, it doesn’t matter what you’ve been doing.

Now, while there is really no “cure” for a hangover, despite what all your friends are telling you, there are ways to make it more bearable. Yes, water will rehydrate you, but it takes awhile for it to kick in, and don’t overdo it. Once I had far too many Molsons, and tried to fix it the next day by drinking lots of water. This simply made me feel bloated and nauseous, so when my brother came in with a box of fresh donuts and coffee, I completely lost it. Not pretty. Heavy drugs, such as Percodans, morphine, and heroin help, but make you pretty helpless for the rest of the day. What works much better is one of the most natural things in the world: Sex. A relaxed, leisurely bout of sex helps immensely, but there is a catch. As you approach orgasm, you start breathing faster, and the headache gets worse. But if you can get past that, you’re set. No partner? Onanism works pretty well, too.

Just as there are positive ways to deal with a hangover, there are negative ways too. They are legion, so I will deal with only a few of the nastier ones. First, you wake up, little demons pounding at your head with hammers, not really sure where you are. Then it hits you. Oh my God, you think. I didn’t… Please say I didn’t. You slowly turn and your arm is under the single most reprehensible creature you’ve ever set eyes upon. It could be a co-worker, the person you’ve seen at the local club who keeps making sexy (to them, I guess, but nobody else seems to thinks so) looks, the boss, your seventh grade math teacher… It doesn’t matter. They’re there, you’re both naked, and you finally realize the meaning of “Coyote Ugly”: You would rather chew off your own arm than wake the person up. Many people I know have given up drinking after having dealt with more than one of these situations.

The second negative way to deal with a hangover, simply, is waking up in a puddle of your own vomit.