No more Mr Sleepy Head

I had dinner a while ago with a brilliant writer. In the best tradition of academic literary giants, he is a serious drinker. I had barely finished my first glass of wine before another bottle was opened.

As the evening progressed and the alcohol intake reached staggering proportions, I found myself wondering how I would feel come the morning and how, if at all possible, I would be able to carry on my business with effectiveness (or even get out of bed). My learned friend caught me in the moment of my unearthed conflict between welcome, excessive pleasure and the resulting, impending doom and asked me what I was thinking. I spoke of hangovers.

“Hangovers? Nonsense!” he exclaimed dismissively.

“You don’t get hangovers?” I slurred, questioning.

“I prepare in advance… and knock them on the proverbial head before they take hold.”

I was intrigued. It turns out that not only is he a connoisseur of drink, but also an accomplished cook and, apparently, dietician. First, he predicts the variety and quantity of alcohol that will be imbibed in the evening (or day) ahead. He then plans and prepares the ingredients for the dishes that will be consumed the day after. So, for instance, the morning after a night before of white wine and whisky will begin with a bowl of roasted almonds followed by a potpourri of pickles and chillis. Go figure. But, apparently, this settles the stomach and gets to work immediately on the vicious little chemicals that poison the blood. For a night of red wine indulgence, only a vegetable pie will do, eaten in small pieces throughout the day.

This was news to me. I mean, it’s not as if I didn’t instinctively act when the sore head kicks in (water, fry-ups, Bloody Marys, etc). But I had no idea there could be such an exact science to it.

As he divulged his secrets, his wife looked proudly and adoringly on, and reassured me that it had taken a drinking lifetime of devotion and dedication to get to this level of hangover eradication proficiency.

I await the book (as will a multitude of nations) that once and for all does away with the notion that, in the case of drinking with gay abandon, prevention is better than the cure.

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