The Art of Survival – Hangovers

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 things like, “Can I get you another?” that led to 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 like saying the cure for stupidity is to read columns that aren’t this one. It is all meaningless gibberish and does little to help the person battling to survive the wrath of a hangover that registers 17 on the open-ended Retchter Scale.

Your size, weight, metabolism, liver health and body chemistry all play a minor role in how much you can drink. The main factor that dictates consumption levels is your emotional state. 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 quite easily consume 15 beers, 10 shots, five double vodkas and fuck the Irish.

It is a fact that depressed people drink more than cheerful people. This shows that the so-called experts who tell us alcohol is a depressant are lying through their teeth. Depressed people are not stupid. A pain in the ass, yes. But not stupid. Why would they slump over the bar with fat wet tears welling up in their bloodshot eyes and tell the barman how miserable they are, only for him to say, “Sorry to hear that. Can I get you another depressant?”

Primary Causes

Some doctors try to tell you that hangovers are caused by dehydration. This is like saying that floods cause drought and I, for one, would sign any petition that calls for these charlatans to be struck from the 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 pee every 10 minutes. With the floodgates open, the body starts borrowing water from less important organs like the brain. This causes the brain to shrink, something it is not altogether happy doing. This goes a long way towards explaining why stupid people with small brains suffer worse hangovers than smart people with big brains.

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?

Health Benefits

Before going on one of her regular benders, my grandmother always used to say “clear alcohol, clear head – cloudy alcohol, cloudy head”. She drank a litre of Clipper cane spirits every day until she died and her faculties remained extraordinarily sharp right up to the end. When we gathered around her to say goodbye, she could still see and hear things that your average red wine drinker would never be able to pick up.

The experts say it is better for your body if you drink on a full stomach. Well, sure, if you don’t mind embarrassing your date by stuffing yourself with dead animals while drinking your own body weight in alcohol. The only advantage I can see in eating before drinking is that you stand a better chance of avoiding the dreaded dry heaves. Besides, projectile vomiting is far more likely to impress your dinner partner.


Always remember to drink responsibly. That means every time you drink, remember to put your beer back on the coaster and not on the lounge table or the floor. It also means that you should stop drinking when you run out of money, and not start stealing drinks from other people’s tables. Or cars from their driveways so you can sell them for beer money.

My father once told me to be sensitive to the needs of my liver. When I reminded him of this later in life, he pointed out that what he had really said was I should be sensitive to the needs of my lover. Well, at least today I can drink like a sperm whale and still feel fine the next day, thanks to milk thistle. Unfortunately, women think I am a selfish, sexist pig who cares only about his own needs.


Some hangover symptoms are in part due to magnesium depletion. As we all know, magnesium constitutes about 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 the dirt from 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 as he shouts for another round.

The need to find a cure for hangovers is as urgent as the need to find a cure for cancer or Aids. At least with a dread disease, you know you are going to die. With a hangover measuring 20 or more on the Retchter Scale, you think you are going to die, you wish you would die, but you don’t. Instead, you suffer horribly.

A Japanese study showed that taking 4-6 grams of chlorella before drinking can prevent hangovers 96% of the time. When I first heard this, I ran out onto the street looking for a Japanese person to shake by the hand and thank profusely. Then I remembered that the Japanese also say they need to kill hundreds of Minke whales a year for research purposes. And they have been doing it for the last 18 years. What are they hoping to learn that they don’t already know? That whales are actually alien spaceships? Giant flotation chambers full of North Korean spies?

Anyway. 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.

So, chlorella. Make sure you get yours from a reputable source. I have heard of some dealers cutting their chlorella with spirulina. And make sure you get your six grams. These people, especially the Yakuza, have no qualms about slipping you an empty wrapper or two.

The world’s largest chlorella culturing pool was constructed in Japan around 50 years ago and they remain heavily involved in chlorella production. So you can be sure that even if the stuff doesn’t cure your hangover, one of the side effects is bound to be a bigger, longer-lasting erection.

If, after all that, your hangover is still making you cry like a baby, you could try an antioxidant called DMAE. And if that doesn’t work, mix a Bloody Mary and wash down a handful of MDMA. That should cheer you up.

3 thoughts on “The Art of Survival – Hangovers

  1. Lynn Mortimer says:

    Happy New Year, Ben.
    Thanks for making 2022 just a tiny bit less awful. Please work your magic again this year!

  2. Marthinus says:

    Thank you. Reading your article first thing in the year is already an improvement. Hope you have a lovely year!

  3. Verne says:

    Good one, Ben – and Happy New Year to you!

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