SMOKE: One Step Ahead Of The Hangover

Originally published: 9 November 2005







It's the problem with crazed leprechauns, you understand.

One moment you're sitting there quietly - pouring gallon upon gallon of alcohol into the cavernous eternity that is your gut - and the next a nutty leprechaun is sitting on a rock just behind your eyes with a sledgehammer, alternating between cackling evilly and hitting your forehead and eyes with repeated blows of his hammer.

Mine's been sitting in Monotone Repeat Mode for three days now, ever since that ill-fated Saturday night when anything seemed possible but wasn't.

Hangovers are nothing new to me - indeed, I probably invented them one night in a misguided moment of enthusiasm. We've had an exclusive, monogamous little relationship for many years now, despite my repeated attempts to break it off.

The hangover I have been nursing since Saturday is the longest one I have yet encountered, however, and it's yet another sign that my sagging, pendulous breasts are but one grey nip-hair from dusting the floor as I walk.

I'm getting old, in case you struggled to follow that last bit. There's no such thing as an easy hangover anymore - just a careful, calculated and extremely courageous set of distinct action plans designed to keep it at bay while hurrying for the door at the same time.

When I was but a youngster I used to carry a kit around with me which had things like Prohep and Guronsan C in it and I'd swallow huge amounts of cures before I was ever ailing.

As a student hangovers had to be beaten swiftly as morning classes had to be attended, and sitting through an hour of Mezzabotta droning on and on and on about the Greeks and their stupid bladdy theatre was simply not an option.

But the other night I made the fatal error of not preparing myself for the after-effects and I should have known better. I get out rarely, but when I do I make up for lost time with an enthusiasm and passion that is almost frightening to behold.

Somewhere around the eighth Black Label someone gave me false information about a rugby match that was underway and that merely accelerated my descent into depravity.

By the time I'd swigged the last warm remnants of whatever I was holding and had smoked the last of whatever it was I was smoking and crashed into my bed with the weight of gravity upon me - sometime after the birds started twittering in the grey dawn of Sunday - I'd set in motion a series of future events that only time and cunning could control.

And then I woke up.




First stop: the kitchen. I hate medical mates but I have one, so what can I do? He once told me that the best way to cure a hangover is to drink water, as the headache is purely the result of dehydration.

Problem is - the last thing I feel like doing when bloated up and tender from the night before is drink water. I'm always thirsty - sure - but after just one or two gulps of water I'm full and can't drink anymore.

I used the little water I could stomach to flush down eight Panados (a little trick learned from Grey, who is of the correct opinion that a near-overdose is better than a leprechaun), then made a cup of sweet tea.

On that Sunday I had something like 10 hours of sport to watch which I had to write about for Monday, and while that may sound like a dream come true, girls, it was the last thing I needed.

There was the agony of a dry, error-strewn rugby match with hits so huge they woke up my leprechaun, who was still a little groggy from the Panado attack but who was slowly starting to find his feet - and hammer - again.

There was the monotony of rain-interrupted cricket, and although the rain did little to improve my temper it certainly served to revive the little man in my skull.

Finally there was three hours of motor racing as car after car zipped and zinged around the track, and just as an irritating little gnat or miggie will wake you up by buzzing around your ears so too did those A1GP cars inflame the tender aural organs of my groggy little hobgoblin and kickstarted him back into a feverish overdrive.

I spent all day washing down more Panados, but they only dulled the throb.

Come evening time three significant events took place to help improve my condition.

The first was a greasy meal of unwashed dead chicken from filthy-ass, inefficient, gross KFC, which soaked up the last drops of bile from the bottom of my corroded stomach.

The second was the Crap From Hell, which I won't go into right now.

And the third was a long, hot shower, which washed off the grease that had oozed from my pores during the day. The hot water hammered on the back of my neck and the leprechaun lost his footing somewhat, and even though I knew he'd climb his way back up at least it was a temporary reprieve.

I chased all that down with a good tooth clean, a fistful of Panados and more sweet tea, and finally sat down late at night to write the first of about 4,500 words.

Since then I've had very little sleep, and that's why it's been so hard to get rid of my headache. Sleep is essential to overcoming a hangover and unfortunately it's not a luxury I have.

So each day since then there have been hammerings and evil laughter but it's faded as the rigours of time and an endless supply of Panados have gradually quelled the little sucker.

He was a tough one, alright - perhaps the finest hangover adversary I have ever had. I have a grudging sort of respect for him, as two battle-hardened warriors would, but I tell you this much - I wouldn't recommend hanging out with him. He's a little rough around the edges.

I've managed to stay one step ahead of the leprechaun and two steps ahead of the grave, and for now that will have to do.

It's an uneasy future.



All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

Look at me now - all the way from Uitenhage to the bright lights of the big internet.

Find out more using the handy links provided.

Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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