To zig, to zag nevermore
Have you ever been buried in the sand up to your neck, and just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, a wayward bull came along and repeatedly kicked you in the neck? No? Ok, I do concede that’s not an everyday event for most people. But can you imagine what that feels like? If you can’t, well, good for you, congrats and all that. But if you CAN, then you have an idea of how I felt last Saturday night.
It was my first hangover.
I know what you’re thinking…
“Your FIRST hangover, Hammy? Come on. Who’re you trying to kid?”
“Yeah. We all know you drink like a fish, ol’ boy. Except, you know, what the fish drinks is just water.”
“We know what you do, ok? You probably are never without a bottle of rum hidden somewhere on your person, periodically sipping into the reservoir through the day until by evening, you’re bumping into random trees, kicking stray dogs and cursing at furniture before you fall asleep in the dumpster.”
Now, first of all… stop that! All of you. Yes, especially YOU. And to think you call yourself my friends. Sheesh. I mean… I’m all right with a little bit of an exaggeration; I can laugh it out with the best of them, but there are limits, you know. True, I enjoy a drink now and then. But from that to brandying… I mean bandying my name like that… Insufferable. Vodkind of friends are you anyway? It’s enough tequila long standing friendship. I’m not one to wine about things like this, but there are limits to what I can beer.
I am a very careful drinker, actually. I have been blessed with a liver that knows it’s limits. I shove in two to three cocktails and it reports to the brain “Hey, buddy. That’s two already. Are you sure about this?”.
When pushed to the limit, I have, on rare occasions, downed a fourth glass. On these occasions, my liver has gone ballistic, sending flashing signals to the rest of the body, sounding red alert, ringing up all sorts of glands and enlisting enzymes to restart the battle for sobriety. It subsequently follows up with a strong mail full of snippy words to the brain, mostly chastising it for improper supervision, lack of control, and discipline, essentially reminding the brain of its ‘ethical responsibility‘ towards my general well-being.
I have, in short, what you may call an overprotective liver. But I don’t complain. I get a slight buzz after my third or fourth drink, and that’s usually enough. Strong men with guns have asked me to keep the drinks flowing in, but I have never caved. (Ok, so their strength was immaterial, since they never planned to use force anyway, and I’m just guessing about the guns. But I stand by my point)
This is, in a nutshell, why I have never had a hangover. I have also never gotten nauseous from drinking. Two glorious statements I’ll never be able to make again. At least not under oath. I have many theories on what happened. One of the more promising ones is that my liver was on strike… taking the day off. It would, of course, have preferred to have had the vacation on a beach in South Florida, but was apparently happy to just doze off. It is my sincere advice to all you guys out there… never drink while your liver’s on vacation.
Last Saturday, my former boss, Bipasha ‘Bips‘ Datta, hosted a housewarming party. It was fun, but I didn’t know any of the other guests beforehand. And from empirical evidence, it was more or less established that the Hammy reaction to a room full of strangers is to imitate a dead duck, as far as speech is concerned. That shtick, as you can imagine, gets old real soon. I needed a quick solution to upgrade my status from ‘mute spectator’, and the way that I immediately saw was to gulp down a few drinks before resuming the festivities.
Ever the gracious host, Bipasha had taken the precaution of stocking up her fridge, cupboards, and possibly the inner wall linings of her apartment with alcohol of every kind, obviously prepared for the possibility that her friends had turned into professional drunkards of some sort. Resourceful, prepared for contingencies… all prominent parts of her resume.
I don’t know if it happens with you, but given a large menu of choices, I typically turn to my fellow man to make the choice for me. This can be particularly frustrating when most of the fellow men you have at your disposal are strangers. So I made the rational decision… I didn’t bother choosing. I took them all. Tequila, vodka, rum, triple sec, orange juice, cranberry juice, lemon, ice, sprite, the works. Hey, it seemed rational at the time.
That was not bad. No. Not bad at all. It was definitely a bit too strong, but tasted great. Since I wasn’t used to such heavy doses, I really meant to stop after two glasses of the stuff. I didn’t. I didn’t stop at three either. And I’m kinda murky about four; I wouldn’t be able to swear on oath that I stopped at four, but there’s a chance I did.
Reliable sources tell me that I was far from my usual self, going as far as to sing Hindi songs on karaoke, which, of course, promptly reminded the sober half of society to remember they needed to be elsewhere. Despite my resignation from sobriety, I was clear-headed enough to realize that I was in no position to head back home. I stayed for the night. It seemed reasonable to assume things would be all nice and rosy in the morning.
As I woke up, I saw stars. Not the good kind. I had a sneaking suspicion that some burglar had broke in at night, and, possibly not finding anything that interested him, took out his frustrations by hitting me on the head with a hammer a few dozen times before he left. My suspicion turned out to be unfounded.
Just as I was getting accustomed to the throbbing headache, I started feeling nauseated. Soon, I was redecorating my host’s bathroom. Goodbye, dinner. Not a pleasant scene. It left my throat muscles sore, aching, and tortured. In fact, it took me a few days before I was able to speak properly again. Clearly, even God was irked about the whole Hindi karaoke stint.
At any rate, here I am, a sober, but wiser man. I am definitely not going through that again. Never again shall I have more than what the liver recommends. I’ll be particularly alert when I go near a pub. If the liver so much as says “Ahem“, that’s it; session’s over.
Even if my friends egg me on… Even if – for instance – a team of determined bartenders coax me with innovative new cocktails. Even if they promise to do tricks with the bottles thrown up in the air like they showed in the old movie Cocktail. Even if they offer free booze for the rest of the night. Even if they offer free backstage passes to an Iron Maiden conce…
Hey, that’s rather pushing it, what? Let’s not go overboard. I mean… You need to draw the line somewhere. So, in the event of the remote possibility that somebody offers me free backstage passes to an Iron Maiden concert, well… I guess I can have one more.