The Flavors of Hangovers

Anybody who has enjoyed the pleasures of alcohol a little too much is likely to know of the unpleasantness that can follow the next morning.  The infamous hangover has made many many a person throughout human history seriously regret that one extra bottle of wine or the multiple keg stands or those damn strong screwdrivers.  What I’d like to talk about here is the specificity of the hangover, for hangovers, like the drinks that produce them come in many flavors.

Knowing You’ve Drank

Very rarely does one not recall that they had drank the night before but the memory of drinking is not always a hangover.  Generally the memory is like any other memory that we have of days previous along the lines of saying “I remember having some drinks last night.”  This is pretty simple and straight forward, the drinking of alcohol does not always lead to suffering in the body.  Allow me to beg that there is a marginal bodily awareness that one can have of prior evening alcohol consumptions.  This bodily awareness is not a full fledged hangover, it may be better classified as a pseudo-hangover.  It comes from hitting that “just enough” point when partaking in the act of drinking.  One too many glasses of wine, perhaps the sixth beer in the six pack.  You awake not feeling all that bad but not really like a million dollars either.  Things are just a little bit off, a little too tired, too weak, too easy to annoy.  It isn’t altogether pleasant but it is nothing to the real hangovers that could be.


I’d personally mark lethargy as on the lower end of the hangover spectrum though still above the pseudo-hangover.  You awake and know that you’d be a hell of a lot happier if you just stayed asleep.  You have little to no will to be productive, sociable, or interested in anything.  Lethargy results in complete couch potatoness, as you lie about as an apathetic waste of space.  Of course there is a very logical reason for the lack of motion, that of course being the fear that making any movement my awaken an even worse hangover symptom.  Better not to worry about anything than suffer further punishment, sure the whole day may be wasted but hell, you’re feeling pretty apathetic, so who gives a fuck? 

The Bodily Ache

Every joint in you body is in utter protest of existence and they don’t plan on being quiet about it.  Back, knees, elbows, fingers, all of them in absolute discomfort and unhappiness.  This horrid condition can leave one quite immobile much like lethargy save that now you’re really feeling pretty shitty.  Sure you take your Tylenol or Advil but don’t kid yourself too much into believing that this is going to make a major difference, really you are just going to have to fight this one out.  Patience is a virtue but it can also be a pain in your ass or every bone and joint of your body.

The Spins

You open your eyes and then decide that they are so much better closed, oh but it is too late, you are already on the merry-go-round and there are no fun animals to ride.  I hypothesize that the spins is a product of your intoxicated mind delving into quantum theories far beyond anything that you should normally logically be attempting to rationalize.  Regardless of whether this is true or not anybody who has experienced the spins is well aware that it is not at all pleasant and little can be done to make it stop.      

The Head Ache

This is one of the true monster symptoms of the hangover.  Splitting, killing, headache.  Noise sucks.  Thinking sucks.  Actually just about everything sucks.  This is no simple little headache that you might get after a stressful day at work, this is a fullblown jackhammer to the cranium headache.  Much like the bodily ache no simple pain killer is going to make this bad boy go away, it is here for the long haul, so drink some water, lie down, and try not to think or do anything else all that much.


As a single symptom of the hangover this may very well be the worst.  Every little thing turns the stomach and you know it is just a matter of time before you are going to have to be running to the bathroom.  You can’t eat, you can’t even think about eating, but as soon as you think that you can’t think about eating you are thinking about eating and that is horrible.  Nothing is good when nausea comes to town and part of what makes it so bad is that it may not always be the initial hangover experience.  Once in the early days of my drinking I had gotten pretty tanked on peppermint schnapps (I know, pretty lame, but hell I was a stupid kid back then) and while I didnt’ feel great in the morning I wasn’t feeling horrible until I went to brush my teeth and the flavor of mint suddenly made my stomach take a major dive, I’ve hated peppermint schnapps ever since.

To me the above seem to do a pretty good job at representing the major types of hangover symptoms of course what one should  realize that rarely does a good (or bad) hangover encompass just one of the listed symptoms, more often then not it is a mixing of the lot coming in waves and affecting you throughout the day.  Spins and a headache upon waking, nausea with breakfast, and damn body aches and lethargy in the afternoon.  Of course you might just be so unlucky that you get hit with all of the above at once with the grand buffet of hangovers (only in this buffet you really have no choices).

Now I’ll be honest, I’ve experienced quite a lot of hangovers ever since I first chose to start drinking and there is nothing at all good about them, besides, perhaps, that it’ll make you not want to drink quite as much the next time.  I feel obliged to say that if every time you drink you are having a  bad hangover you may want to cut back because essentially you are poisoning yourself pretty bad.  While I can be a drunken fool from time to time I in no way suggest that drinking in excess is a healthy or recommended endeavor.  I know from some personal experiences that on some occasions a hangover is the least of the consequences of having a few too many.  So above all I suggest drinking responsibly.  But hell we all want to have a little too much fun sometimes and are more than likely to know about it in some way the next day.

~ by Nathaniel on November 20, 2007.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: