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23 May, 2004

Better now, but puzzled

Yesterday, I was hung over.
Ho, ho, NRT's been a naughty boy.  Must have been a wild night, eh?  Cue rueful grin and considerable teasing.


On Friday night I consumed more alcohol than my body could handle; I poisoned myself. Simple as that.

On Saturday, I couldn't hold down even water until 15:00, nor could I face food until 20:00, 25 hours after my previous meal. Consequently I had a fierce dehydration headache, felt nauseous and lethargic through lack of food, and was depressed due to the after-effects of the alcohol and because I'd wasted an entire day. My face looked as if undercoated in grey then splattered with tiny flecks of red: vomiting had burst capillaries around my eyes. I felt shaky and cold, despite it being a sunny day.
What the **** is funny about that?

If I told someone I'd been ill for an entire day due to poisoning, I'd expect a sympathetic response. If I said I'd been hung over, the response would be amusement - which I'd be expected to share. Why?

To think less of someone who knowingly exceeds his/her alcohol tolerance is understandable and justifiable. To find that person's discomfort amusing is malicious. Yet it's a socially-accepted schadenfreude which (and this is the bit that confuses me) the sufferer is expected to share. It's as if a hangover is a badge of pride - "I spent my Saturday bent over the toilet or slumped on the sofa - hey, I'm a real man."

This presumes one did participate in some sort of hedonistic party, of course. If one has a hangover, it follows that one must have had a tremendous time, right? Wrong. It's quite possible to have a mind-numbingly bland evening, and still get a hangover.

In this case, my surroundings contributed to the speed and amount I drank. It was an evening out with the Bowland College senior members (i.e. staff, not students), so we went to soulless 'shirts' pubs I wouldn't ordinarily even consider, crowded by bald or shaven-headed men in their forties there to watch the barely-dressed teenage girls, a background cacophony of football on numerous TVs contesting with cynically-programmed 'happy' music preventing any attempt at conversation. Deeply depressing and not an aspect of society I choose to encounter.

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