The Hangover Diary – Part Three

Friday, September 09, 2011

As I stumbled out of bed last Sunday morning, I was immediately struck by the inescapable knowledge that I had 'jumped the shark' stomach and head-wise. Things were heading rapidly downhill, and coffee alone was not going to restore order to my gastrointestinal malheur. In my wine drawer, which holds a wide assortment of corkscrews, stoppers, gizmos and wine paraphernalia, I had stashed the samples of a hangover relief product with the somewhat unsettling name of Blowfish.

Not sure what blowfish might actually be referencing, but being uneasily aware that it was something I was in some jeopardy of experiencing, I grabbed a package and read the front cover.

“New!” it cheerily proclaimed. “For Hangovers” (note the capital H – definitely the sort of Hangover I was heading into). “Pain Reliever. Alertness Aid. Two Effervescent Tablets.”

At this point I felt comforted. Images of Speedy Alka Seltzer (the evil little troll) came to mind. I started humming his theme song... “Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is... “

Then I turned the package over. Fine print does not begin to do justice to the condensed warnings crammed into a roughly 2 x 3 inch rectangle. I won’t attempt a transcription, but as far as I could tell (which wasn’t far) the only listed ingredients were aspirin and caffeine. I thought, what the hell? It can’t hurt to try.

I plopped the two tabs into a glass of water and chugged it. And then I sat down with a cup of coffee to see if the promised relief would arrive. While waiting I perused the Blowfish website. One particular FAQ caught my eye. “Does Blowfish really work?” it queried. “Yes” was the brief, no-nonsense reply.

OK then. Apart from more information about aspirin and caffeine, the most interesting part of the website was found under a pulldown menu called 'Hangovers'. “What is a hangover” neatly summed up my current circumstances in these terms: “A hangover can include a number of mental and physical symptoms that begin once alcohol has left your system (several hours after your last drink).” The symptoms were ticked off in rapid and all-too-familiar order:

• Fatigue, drowsiness, weakness, thirst (check √)
• Headache and body aches (check check √√)
• Vertigo and sensitivity to light and sound (check check check √√√)
• Depression, anxiety, irritability (YES, ENOUGH ALREADY...)
• Decreased attention and concentration (can you repeat that...???)
• Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain (for Pete’s sake, that’s what I’m trying to avoid with Blowfish...)
• Tremor, sweating, rapid heartbeat (yeah, whatever...)

On to the next questions:

“What causes hangovers?” (Like I don’t know)
“How can I prevent hangovers?” ( A little late, don’t you think?)
“How long do hangovers last?” (We’ll see, won’t we? I took your tablets a half hour ago...)

I skipped past a long section labeled 'Hangover Science' and went to the last item on the pulldown menu, teasingly entitled 'Blowfish Too Often?' It turned out to be a direct link to the Alcoholics Anonymous website. Ha! Good one, Blowfish!

The rest of my Sunday was spent exploring the many fine symptoms listed above. The Blowfish response to “How long do hangovers last?” proved accurate enough – “Hangovers symptoms usually go away within 8 to 24 hours.” (Note: when planning your next Hangover, I’d allow the full 24.)

So by all means, check out the website for an interesting overview of the wonderful world of hangovers. If I might make just one small suggestion, one word should be changed. Under the question 'Does Blowfish really work?' Change that yes to a no.


Karin said...

A fun read, Paul. Blowfish and other hangover cures really should just give it up. Nothing "cures" like a super spicy Bloody Mary. Get back on the horse and ride. Just make sure you're trotting and not galloping.

ghostdog said...

Agreed, Karin, though if you can stand the sight of the glass, scotch and milk with a raw egg beat up in it works pretty well, too.

Beyondzion said...

The only hangover cure I've found (especially as I get older) is prevention. As long as I pace water consumption equal to my alcohol and end the night with more, the next day the hangover doesn't appear. Even if it does, it's a brief one gone after breakfast & coffee.

Once you're already experiencing the brutal hangover though, it's too late for a "cure". Tough but true. Besides, most cures reminisce of snake oil medicines.

Larry Davidson said...

I absolutely do not take credit for your demise that evening. It was my evil twin! However back on point... a steaming large bowl of Pho really does seem to help decrease the length and severity of a total hangover... couple that with 3 extra-strength ibuprofen and a glass of amaro and you really will feel better!

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