One newspaper story has for almost 14 months sat near my desk, yellowing with age, turning brittle. A story out of St. Louis that told readers how to handle a hangover.
St. Patrick's Day, an homage to booze, approaches Monday. St. Patrick's Day is not about Irish heritage or Irish history. The Irish ate no corned beef. The holiday is, for a lot of people, about getting loaded.
St. Paddy's ads never mention what happens after: The hangover.
The right thing is to not drink too much. Then, there is no hangover. But this holiday is only popular because of the idea of drinking too much. If St. Patrick's Day encouraged binge meetings with bosses, binge nose picking or binge city council/school board retreats, the holiday would have been ditched centuries ago.
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The story from St. Louis about hangovers quoted smart guys in white lab coats studying hangovers. A line in the story said, "The hangover is still a mystery to scientists."
How come nobody called me? I have unlocked the door of mystery. Many groaning, promising-never-to-do-it-again times. Death hurts less than a hangover.
For teetotalers, or those living on Mars, a hangover is what happens when you drink too much. No other science is needed.
For almost every column, I interview many people. I go to where they live or work if I can, talk on the phone if that is the only way. For this, I need no interviews. I need no phones. I know hangovers.
I am half-Irish. Both of my mother's parents were straight off the boat. And I am not advocating drinking too much. That would be irresponsible. But anybody who knows me or this column knows I run screaming from boring people and like to enjoy a drink among conversational people. That's why I prefer bars over the Internet or meetings with editors.
It was either titanic tippler Tony Curtis or hollow-legged Dean Martin who first said something like, "If it wasn't for hangovers, everybody would be drinking."
The hangover exists to remind us we should not drink so much. Yet, St. Patrick's Day exhorts raising the glass until your elbow won't work anymore because you are face first in the gutter.
A hangover means you will ask the heavens for a miracle and promise God never to do it again.
But hell on earth will be here with that hangover. Hangovers are headaches and stomach aches and muscle aches and more. That St. Louis story mentioned remedies like vitamins, drinking water before bed, aspirins and more.
The only cure is don't drink too much.
Do not believe hangover remedies. All fail, with that one exception.