New Year’s Eve is here, which for many means a celebration of the past 12 months and rambunctious anticipation of the year to come. For others, the holiday is one of several on the American calendar that quickly devolve into exhibitions of amateur insobriety and bush-league overconsumption. “Adult” holidays like the one that will commence at about sundown today are to seasoned drinkers what slowly merging sedans plastered with “Student Driver” placards are to veteran freeway commuters already five minutes late for work.
To be realistic, the character and tone of New Year’s Eve aren’t likely to change anytime soon. Besides, most of those who wish to avoid the elementary-field-trip-day-at-the-zoo atmosphere of a night like tonight will throw intimate New Year’s parties in the privacy of their homes or have the good sense to simply drink quietly and alone. So for those that plan ahead, the holiday itself isn’t the problem. The real problem is New Year’s Day.
Evidenced by the glut of “how to” guides related to staving off or curing hangovers that continually popped up in news feeds today, the real scourge of amateur drinking holidays comes in the form of insufferable day-after complaining. People will call into work, making their more professional co-workers pick up the slack. People will moan about how much their heads hurt, how they drank too much and announce their frequent trips to the bathroom. People will testify that they will “never drink again.” People will ask if anyone has any brand-name pain or nausea medication, whimper about the folly of their choices the night before and remain generally useless throughout the day.
The sad-sackery will issue from the mouths of most of those who thought it worthwhile to read hangover avoidance guides like the one published in Cosmopolitan today. All those tips – lay off the cigarettes, eat some fatty, greasy food and drink the exact right amount of water – are all well and good in the abstract. Yet anyone who has any experience drinking knows that, after that third beer and fifth shot of whiskey, most of these “tricks” become about as easy to remember, much less observe, as the sequence of colors and beeps emitted during a lengthy run on Simon.
Plenty of amateur drinkers believe that they’ll cure their hangover the next day. This belief is akin to those who think that surviving a fall from a high-rise hotel depends only on whether or not they land in the swimming pool. Put simply, there is no cure to a hangover aside from just not drinking in the first place. As Design & Trend pointed out this afternoon, there might be ways to modestly de-intensify that hangover, but the only “remedy” for the consequences of a night of heavy drinking is to wait it out.
Yes, like the common cold, the cure for the common katzenjammer has eluded the world’s best doctors. Don’t want a hangover? Don’t drink, space your drinks out over the course of a night or set a limit for yourself. To not do these things is a choice, no? And wailing about misery self-induced is about as pleasant to those who aren’t hungover, or those who peaceably hold themselves accountable for being hungover, as your self-induced misery itself.
Though too profane to link to directly, Modern Drunkard, the delightful rag that has dispensed alcoholic wisdom since the mid-’90s, has said it best, if not most poetically, when a hangover was described as something akin to a badge of honor, proof that you’d done a good job drinking the night before. That is, own your hangover like a sports injury or a flesh wound won in duel. Accept it for what it is, rather than how it make the body feel. At the very least, make it a New Year’s resolution to not pester anyone else about it.
Happy New Year, all. And until they do find that hangover cure, drink and recover from drinking responsibly.