Ode to a Hangover


A poetic indulgence to the morning after from Jake O’Brien

Forlorn is my soul; pain is my name. Desperate degradation downplays the throbbing in my head. The fleeting moments of blind euphoria upon waking succumb to retrospective regret. Clouds of guilt and dehydration festoon the body, leaning occasionally towards nausea and discourses of feigned hysteria.

Moving a single muscle is an act of heroism that rivals that of even the most esteemed action star – yet heroics are a passing thought in a hurricane of passive aggressive bylines. I’ve woken mere hours after laying my head down to rest on a couch arm that I considered my most beloved friend the night before. The arm is now my enemy; after all, I was only using it; taking advantage of its kind support and stability. But it knows that now, and the pain it has inflicted upon my neck is only comparable to that in my head.

Disgusting flashbacks parade through my memory. Images of falling over in several places and vomiting in a McDonald’s bin remind me that the zeitgeist I thought I was last night was nothing but a shrewd trick played on me by that beast better known as Jim Beam. Oh Lord, what haven’t I done? What grave errors have I made? What phone calls do I have to make? Whose house am I in? Is this a house? Yes. We can be concrete in that fact at least.

Why, oh why, in the name of all that is holy would we do this to ourselves, and so repetitively? Here’s why: Because the feeling of complete confidence and lack of any modern sense of inhibition is a blessing dressed in diamonds to us. Colour me stupid – colour me shit-faced for all I care. I feel good and that’s all that matters. Set aside those pangs of anxiety you feel as you stare into the depths of your first drink. Just know that the poison in front of you is the medicine.

The blur begins: “Fuck you buddy! I’ll dance wherever the hell I want! No, I don’t want no water…that shit’s for pussies!” A cocky swagger and a pint of the cheapest soaked in whatever liquor’s on promotion. That’s all we need tonight. It’s we now. I’m not going down in this boat alone. You better believe that, douchebag.

Which brings us back to the couch and the anguish we are bathed in. I swear I’ll never touch a drop again. Well, at least not for a couple of weeks. There’s a 21st on Friday… but nothing until then. Homeward with a dirty breakfast roll featuring some sports drink or other. The cigarette feels good for a while, but becomes nauseating – like everything else. After six or seven episodes of Arrested Development the phone rings. Drinks? I really shouldn’t. Fuck it. Hair of the dog and all that jazz.