Issue #169 – “The Hangover” – May 24th, 2010

-Recently a buddy told me that he “never gets hungover.” Of course, the only logical responses to that statement are that my friend is a liar, or he doesn’t drink enough. If he was telling the truth, though, I couldn’t help but be envious. Hangovers are the bane of my existence. There’s nothing worse than going out and having the time of your life, only to wake up the next morning/afternoon without being able to lift your head from the pillow or find your shoes. Hangovers are, in essence, party deterrents. The mere specter of them causes us to curb our boozing quicker than we would otherwise like. Yet we never stop imbibing completely. Because no matter how bad your hangover, it’s still much better than the alternative: sobriety.

-The office hangover is perhaps the most pernicious of all hangovers. You don’t even like sitting in your cubicle on a normal day, let alone one where you can’t stop sweating and the smell of the alcohol in your assistant’s Purell makes you nauseous. And think about how productive an employee you would be if you actually put as much effort into your job as you do scouting for inconspicuous places to vomit.

-After almost fifteen years of drinking, why do I still not make any preparations in anticipation of the morning after? I always wake up with no readily available water and an unopened Advil bottle buried deep in my medicine cabinet that’s both childproof and drunk-adult-proof. I guess I believe that if I don’t think about an impending hangover, it won’t actually happen. So far this has worked 0% of the time.

-The parental hangover – or being forced to suffer in silence while you spend time with your mom or dad – is particularly vicious. They know you’re hungover. They know that you know that they know you’re hungover. Yet they seem to take great pleasure in not bringing it up as they march you around running menial errands. My parents always like to throw in a little “Have fun last night?” comment. Seriously? I’d rather be at work.

-Everyone’s got their favorite hangover remedy – coffee, greasy food, boot and rally. But there’s really only one technique that has ever worked for me: don’t go to bed. If I go away for the weekend or if I’m on tour, I try to fly out as early as possible on the last morning and just get on the plane drunk and pass out. Not having to drag myself out of bed by never getting into it in the first place actually seems to mitigate and delay my hangovers. Of course it also means I frequently stagger through airports smelling like a brewery and unable to get my sneakers off in a timely fashion. Therefore, I propose a third line be added to the security checkpoint – Expert Traveler, Families, and Drunken Degenerates. That lane would be extra wide to accommodate stumbling.

-The accidental hangover occurs when you go out to have a couple of drinks with some friends on a weeknight and wake up in all of your clothes with no recollection of what happened after the second round. Even though I’ve already stated that I don’t prepare myself properly for nursing premeditated hangovers, I hate accidental hangovers the most because they can ruin your entire week. I’ve trudged to my computer with one eye barely open, launched my calendar, and just dragged everything I had to do that day to the next. I then go back to sleep and resolve to take it easy the following weekend – which is obviously as big a lie as my friend’s claim that he “never gets hungover.”

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-I’ve long observed that in every other city in America, being a comedian is a cool and interesting job, but here in LA no one gives a shit. Case in point: last week me and a buddy were at a bar talking to a chick and she asked us what we did for a living. My friend said that he was a lawyer and I was a comedian. The girl pondered this for a moment, looked at me, then turned to my friend and said, “So how do you like being a lawyer?”

-Ever realize that when you’re friends with a bartender and she hooks you up with free drinks, you end up tipping her extravagantly and spending more than you would have in the first place?

-The main selling point for smartphones and copy shops seems to be that you’ll be saved in the unlikely event you leave your presentation in a cab. That’s like touting a camera that takes pictures in space or a condom’s ability to withstand a foursome.

-As a big soccer fan, I’m pumped for this summer’s World Cup. What I’m not looking forward to is listening to morons tell me that soccer is boring before turning back to their four-hour baseball games.

-There’s nothing more daunting than attempting to figure out how to use the subway system in a city you’re visiting. We definitely take for granted how absurdly complicated the maps are in our own cities. Luckily, we have almost no public transportation here in LA so tourists can rest easy…while they sit in bumper-to-bumper gridlock.

-I really don’t understand the appeal of all my friends “checking in” with Foursquare. The only benefit of knowing where you are at all times is that I can avoid you. You’ve visited one supermarket more than anyone else in the city? Congratulations, you’re now Mayor of Doucheville.

-LeBron James is the athletic equivalent of a newly single hot chick. There’s gonna be a lot of courting, a lot of teasing, and a lot of late night phone calls from John Calipari. Okay, so it’s an imperfect analogy.

-And, finally, the worst hangover I ever experienced was in Australia in 2005. As I wrote in Ruminations #81, I went out drinking with Triplet #2 to celebrate his birthday. The next day we were scheduled to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but I was so banged up that I failed the requisite breathalyzer test at 3pm – yes, that’s 3pm the next day. My friends went without me while I stayed behind to lick my wounds and lament the $200 deposit I had just lost. The administrator wouldn’t tell me what my blood alcohol level was, but he remarked that it was one of the highest readings he’d ever seen. And to think, any other clowns who failed had probably been drinking the actual day of the test, whereas I was merely hungover. “I’m actually kind of proud,” I joked to the staff, before being unceremoniously escorted from the building and into the harsh, Australian sunlight. Fuck me.