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The Savagery of Hangovers

Hangovers are terrible, they have always been terrible but as a parent they have moved into a previously unknown realm of horror.

Before having kids the inevitable morning after the the night before was a path well trod every weekend. The excess of the night would cause the usual headaches, lethargy and never ending need to graze on junk food. This type of hangover was never a pleasant experience but it was always a good excuse to do nothing the following day aside from try lots of different flavours of crisps and watch lots of TV.

Unfortunately this ray of light on a hangover is something that parenthood robs from you; rather than using the hangover to your advantage parenthood lays down an exhausting and challenging obstacle course for you to navigate instead.

No longer can you simply rest in bed and do nothing; instead you have to lead a day of kids activities, family events, homework, standing around in public spaces and the interminable requirement to strike up small talk with other parents.

Unfortunately I had to manage such a day after the night before yesterday and it gave me a renewed respect for the savagery of my hangovers. While on the sofa at my in-laws, in between my son climbing on me as if I was a tree, I started to try to write down or find a suitable description of the agony I was in and the indiscriminate savagery of a hangover.

Below are a selection of some of the best descriptions I could find, enjoy:

I was left in no doubt about the severity of the hangover when a cat stamped into the room.

Mr Mulliner Speaking by PG Wodehouse (1929)

Her head felt like elephants were doing the merengue on her cerebellum.

Move the Sun by Susan Fanetti (2014)

I very carefully levered up an eyelid and shut it again fast. A merciless sunbeam had squirted straight in, making my brain bleed.

Don’t Point That Thing At Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli (1973)

The lovely effects of champagne were quite gone and only the nasty ones were left; the taste in the mouth, the splitting ache in the brow and the impotence of not being able to clarify one’s thoughts.

Mariana by Monica Dickens (1940)

Jim was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way… He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of the morning… His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (1953)

Sometimes when you get hammered till the small hours you feel pretty good in the morning, but really it’s just because you’re still a bit drunk. That old hangover is just toying with you, working out when to bite.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyles (2012)

Oh man, sometimes I wake up feeling like a cat run over… Jesus, I never meant me any harm. All I wanted was a good time.

Money: A Suicide Note by Martin Amis (1984)

I sat up in bed with that rather unpleasant feeling you get sometimes that you’re going to die in about five minutes.

The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse (1938)

Charlie was thirsty and his head hurt and his mouth tasted evil and his eyes were too tight in his head and all his teeth twinged and his stomach burned and his back was aching in a way that started around his knees and went up to his forehead and his brains had been removed and replaced with cotton balls and needles and pins which was why it hurt to try and think, and his eyes were not just too tight in his head but they must have rolled out in the night and been reattached with roofing nails; and now he noticed that anything louder than the gentle Brownian motion of air molecules drifting softly past each other was above his pain threshold. Also, he wished he were dead.

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (2005)

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