Men in white coats tell us that hangovers are caused by the excessive intake of alcohol. Funny, then, how it was men in white coats saying, “Can I bring you another?” that caused all the trouble in the first place. They would have us believe that the first step towards avoiding a hangover lies in limiting the amount you drink. This is meaningless gibberish and does little to help the person battling to survive a hangover registering 17 on the open-ended Retchter Scale.
Your size, weight, metabolism and body chemistry all play a minor role in how much you can drink. The main factors that dictate consumption levels are financial and emotional. If you are happy and in a good mood, you may find nine beers, three tequila shooters and a double Irish coffee to be an elegant sufficiency. However, if you are feeling downhearted you could easily put away 15 beers, 10 shots, five double vodkas and screw the Irish.
Some doctors try to tell you that hangovers are caused by dehydration. This is like saying floods cause drought and I, for one, will sign any petition that calls for these charlatans to be struck off the medical roll.
Dehydration is caused when the bartender ignores you because he is too busy catching bottles behind his back and flirting with all the pretty young things. In rare cases, dehydration is also caused when a girly little hormone that is meant to tell the body to conserve water can’t hold its liquor and passes out on the job. This results in you having to wee every few minutes. With the floodgates open, the body starts borrowing water from less important organs – like the brain. This causes the grey stuff to shrink, which goes a long way towards explaining why stupid people with small brains suffer worse hangovers than smart people with big brains. I am the exception, here.
All alcohol contains methanol. I would have thought this is a good thing since it is also the fuel used in motocross bikes and, boy, can those babies go! But apparently not. The problem seems to be linked to yet another design flaw in the human body. Instead of using the methanol to accelerate the mind, the body inexplicably breaks it down into formaldehyde and formic acid. Deformed foetuses and pygmy brains are preserved in formaldehyde. Ants and bees secrete formic acid when they attack. What the hell are our bodies thinking?
Some hangover symptoms are in part due to magnesium depletion. As we all know, magnesium constitutes 2% of the Earth’s crust. So before you go drinking, take the time to step out into the garden and grab a handful of that damn fine crust. You will be glad you did. Just remember to wash your face before you walk into the bar. Not many drinkers can handle the sight of a grown man with a soil-encrusted mouth spraying bits of grass and earthworms everywhere as he shouts for another round.
A Japanese study showed that taking five grams of chlorella before drinking can prevent hangovers 96% of the time. From what I can make out, chlorella seems to be some sort of algae capable of multiplying faster than that Russian maths freak who turned down a medal and a million dollar prize after proving the Poincare conjecture which states that in three dimensions you cannot transform a doughnut shape into a sphere without ripping it, although any shape without a hole can be stretched or shrunk into a sphere. How would you like to go up in front of a crowd and explain your thinking on that one? No wonder he still lives with his mother.
If the chlorella does nothing for you, try an antioxidant called dimethylaminoethanol. If that doesn’t work, whip up a Bloody Mary and wash down a handful of methylenedioxymethamphetamine. That should cheer you up.