I’ve got one. A stonker, in fact. In an attempt to prevent the day from being a total waste — and to prove to myself that, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, I haven’t actually broken my brain — I thought I’d try to write something about them.

So. Hangovers:

1. They’re not good.

2. They’re not good. Christ, I think I’ve said that already.

3. There should be some kind of universally-agreed and internationally-recognised measurement of hangover, like the Richter Scale for earthquakes, or that one I can never remember the name of that relates to the hotness of chilies*. Come to think of it, I seem to recall that serious earthquakeologists don’t use the Richter scale any more, and have got some other new and groovier way of measuring the bloody things. But, Christ, you know? Why would they do that? Stop being greedy on the scale thing. Instead of chopping and changing over earthquake measuring, why not put your fertile minds to coming up with one for hangovers instead? That way people (by which I mean partners, mainly) would be able to see that the sufferer is really not very well at all, and needs to be treated kindly and if not exactly with sympathy, then at least tolerance. Maybe there could be a badge you could wear, in fact, or a digital read-out you could have installed in your forehead. That way when you went lurching out into the world to fulfil some unavoidable errand then other people would know to steer well clear and to do what they can to ease your progress, rather than just walking around and being themselves in a variety of challenging and unhelpful ways.

4. Alcohol should come with warnings that help. I don’t care about it being bad for pregnant women. I’m not one. Telling me to ‘drink responsibly’ is clearly a lost cause too. Instead they should describe the depths of pain, fear and confusion you will be wallowing in the next day, in quite small type, so you have to concentrate. Maybe every bottle of beer or wine should have a little mirror on it too, so you can see your face — and realise that instead of looking dashing and insouciant and man-about-town you in fact look like a leery buffoon whose features are in danger of sliding off his face.

5. Serious hangovers have a journey attached. You wake up feeling not too bad. This is because you’re still a bit drunk. Then slowly you start to feel really appalling. Then there’s a brief Indian Summer where for half an hour you think ‘Oh, okay, I’m feeling a bit better now, thank God for that.’ Then, sadly, it gets worse. It’s during this last stage that you will make fervent promises never to drink ever again. Then you’ll remember that you’re going out again tonight. Which I am. Oh lord.

6. I’m not sure there is a (6), actually.

7. One of the more distressing features of getting a little older is the advent of the two-day hangover. When I was young and full of hope, I used to be able to go out, have far too much fun, merely feel a bit pasty the next morning, and be back on form by early afternoon. Now I will be effectively in a coma for twenty four hours, and still feel ropey the next day. That’s not fair. Becoming wiser is not an adequate trade-off for this.

8. Here are two of my other memorable hangovers. The morning after my friend Zaz’s thirtieth birthday. She’s forty now. I can vividly recall how bad I felt the next day, a decade later. I should be able to learn from this that no evening is worth that level of discomfort. Have I learned this? No. Another would be a morning in Snohomish, Washington State. My wife and I had a fabulous evening in a bar called The Oxford, run by a charming couple who were extremely nice to us. I drank quite a few pints of some very cloudy local microbrew, and woke up the next morning feeling dire. Nonetheless we walked into town, and I checked out a second-hand bookstore I’d noticed the night before. It was big and excellent, and the presence of lots and lots of books made me feel a little better. But then my wife, who’d noticed they had some of my hardcovers, insisted on going up to the staff and asking if they’d like them signed. There was a long, long, loooooooong pause, before the guy said ‘Yeah, sure’ — which clearly meant ‘No, never heard of him, and why would we want some loser to scrawl his name on his books anyway? And also, just how frigging hungover is he? Look — he’s lying face-down on the floor.’ I signed the books, and left. I still feel a bit embarrassed about it now. And one day, my wife will pay.

9. I should probably have some lunch now. What do people have for lunch? I can’t remember.

10. When I come to power, people who get all smug and judgemental about other people’s hangovers will be put to death. Saying ‘Well, it’s your own silly fault’ or ‘If you’re going to be a man in the evening, be a man the next morning’ or ‘Personally I never get hangovers, because I only drink in moderation’ is not the sign of maturity. It’s a sign of being a knob.

I’m not going to go back and edit this because I can barely read. If there are any grammatical mistakes, keep them to yourself. I’ve got a hangover, in case that wasn’t clear.


* Aha – it’s the Scoville unit, that’s it. Just Wikipediaed it. See? I’m on top of my game after all.