Hung over and out

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St. Paddy’s Day was three days ago and you’re still reeling, you miserable lout. You’ve got cotton mouth, a pounding head, dizziness, nausea – maybe a malignant dose of the dry heaves.

Yeah, I’ve been there, down on my knees with a jackhammer in my skull.

But don’t look for any sympathy from Joe Sixpack.

You knew it was going to happen the instant you told the bartender, “Hmmm . . . I think I’ll try a mug of green beer to chase that last shot of Jameson’s.”

Hangovers, my friend, are the drinking person’s equivalent of “I told you so.”

Drunks understand this; they just choose to ignore it.

You, on the other hand, have never learned the hangover lesson. Once a year, you belly up to McGillamacallit’s Authentic Irish Pub & Eatery and drink like you’ve got shamrocks for brains. Then you retch your guts and curse the gods.

Frankly, you got what you deserve.

But in the interest of securing my place as the patron saint of the drinking stiff, here’s some 60-cent advice. Clip this column, and file it under “Duh.”

WHAT CAUSES HANGOVERS?

Scientists have been studying this important question for centuries, but a definitive answer has escaped them, possibly because their research has been hopelessly muddled by less than sober analysis.

“The Hangover Handbook” (Mustang Publishing, 1998) blames impurities left behind during fermentation. The guide’s very unscientific Hangover Severity Chart ranks booze on a scale of 1 to 10:

  • Vodka – .5
  • Gin – 1
  • Beer – 2
  • Blended Scotch – 3.5
  • Pure malt Scotch – 7
  • Champagne – 7.5
  • Bourbon – 10

Awright! Kentucky beats the Russkies, 20 to 1.

HOW TO AVOID HANGOVERS

You could just stop drinking. That would end your hangovers forever and free up a little elbow room for the rest of us.

Or you could drink more often.

Occasional hangovers are a result of your inability to gauge the effects of your alcohol intake. If drinking were a regularly occurring event in your social life, you’d feel no obligation to pound home excessive amounts on religious holidays.

This doesn’t mean you have to drink more booze. Just spread it out over the calendar year. Also:

* Don’t mix drinks. Stick to one poison.

* Avoid sweet mixed drinks. The sugar’s a killer.

* Drink a glass of water before hitting the hay.

HOW TO CURE HANGOVERS

Everybody’s got a remedy, and none of ’em work for everybody.

I suggest you experiment. Each weekend between now and next St. Paddy’s Day, I want you to drink till your head explodes. Then on the morning after, try one of the following cures.

(Just kidding, dear readers. Experimenting with alcohol is dangerous. Nonetheless, the next time you find yourself in a fix, give one of these a try. How much worse could you feel?)

* Drink water. The H2O replaces the liquid you deposited in the john.

* Avoid orange juice. Tummy acid outweighs the benefits of vitamin C.

* Watch mindless TV. A few lobotomizing minutes of “Xena: Warrior Babe” will slow all cognizant thought and allow your brain to heal.

* Avoid reading the morning broadsheet. You already have a headache.

* Imbibe some hair of the dog that bit you, and then swear never to drink again. Until tomorrow night.

* Avoid the temptation to eat greasy food. Jamming a South Philly cheesesteak down your gullet is an open invitation to your stomach to exact revenge for last night.

* Have sex with a consenting partner. The exercise will do you some good. Warning: If you don’t recognize the person lying in bed next to you, don’t indulge – you’re already suffering a mammoth guilt trip.

* If necessary, avoid your spouse. You don’t need someone to actually say “I told you so.”

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