suzy, i’ve been meaning to tell you to check out this new yorker article on drinking and hangovers and our backwards culture, etc etc etc. if anything else though, check out this excerpt a friend pulled and sent back to me… and have a glass of wine in a non-wine glass, as i do each day! cheers!
A FEW TOO MANY Is there any hopefor the hung over?by Joan Acocella
A truly successful hangover cure is probably going to be slow in coming. In the meantime, however, it is not easy to sympathize with the alcohol disciplinarians, so numerous, for example, in the United States. They seem to lack a sense of humor and, above all, the tragic sense of life. They appear not to know that many people have a lot that they’d like to forget. In the words of the English aphorist William Bolitho, “The shortest way out of Manchester is . . . a bottle of Gordon’s gin,” and if that relief is temporary the reformers would be hard put to offer a more lasting solution. Also questionable is the moral emphasis of the temperance folk, their belief that drinking is a lapse, a sin, as if getting to work on time, or living a hundred years, were the crown of life. They forget alcohol’s relationship to camaraderie, sharing, toasts. Those, too, are moral matters. Even hangovers are related to social comforts. Alcohol investigators describe the bad things that people do on the morning after. According to Genevieve Ames and her research team at the Prevention Research Center, in Berkeley, hungover assembly-line workers are more likely to be criticized by their supervisors, to have disagreements with their co-workers, and to feel lousy. Apart from telling us what we already know, such findings are incomplete, because they do not talk about the jokes around the water cooler—the fellowship, the badge of honor. Yes, there are safer ways of gaining honor, but how available are they to most people?
Outside the United States, there is less finger-wagging. British writers, if they recommend a cure, will occasionally say that it makes you feel good enough to go out and have another drink. They are also more likely to tell you about the health benefits of moderate drinking—how it lowers one’s risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and so on. English fiction tends to portray drinking as a matter of getting through the day, often quite acceptably. In P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster series, a hangover is the occasion of a happy event, Bertie’s hiring of Jeeves. Bertie, after “a late evening,” is lying on the couch in agony when Jeeves rings his doorbell. “ ‘I was sent by the agency, sir,’ he said. ‘I was given to understand that you required a valet.’ ” Bertie says he would have preferred a mortician. Jeeves takes one look at Bertie, brushes past him, and vanishes into the kitchen, from which he emerges a moment later with a glass on a tray. It contains a prairie oyster. Bertie continues, “I would have clutched at anything that looked like a life-line that morning. I swallowed the stuff. For a moment I felt as if somebody . . . was strolling down my throat with a lighted torch, and then everything seemed suddenly to get all right. The sun shone in through the window; birds twittered in the tree-tops; and, generally speaking, hope dawned once more. ‘You’re engaged,’ I said.” Here the hangover is a comedy, or at least a fact of life. So it has been, probably, since the Stone Age, and so it is likely to be for a while yet.