Roxanne Tellier – Hangover …
Our Fearless Leader has been known to encourage my love of champagne and taste for a Bloody Caesar..neither of which I normally drink, as they go right to my head. Next thing you know, I’m earnestly telling some hapless artist that I’d be delighted to pose nude, just as soon as I lose twenty pounds and reverse twenty years of living.
I have another friend who also plays the role of ‘the devil on my shoulder.’ Leah is so very funny and quick-witted that our evenings speed by in a blur of laughter, dance, and far too much alcohol ..it’s all good .. we usually pass out before we get to the part where we’re brushing and braiding each other’s hair.
“When you wake up in the morning and the light hurts your head / The first thing that you do when you get up out of bed / Is hit the streets a-runnin’ and try to beat the masses / And go get yourself some cheap sunglasses.“
A wild night out can be good for what ails you. A really wild night out will make you curse the sun the next morning, and struggle to remember where you left your left shoe, and your housekeys.
I have known a few such nights. Thankfully, they are no longer as frequent or common, but I am no stranger to ‘the morning after.’
My mother almost never drank … but when she did …. Oh lawdy how she paid! I so recall one morning after the night before when she walked into the kitchen, squinting, and mumbled, “My hair hurts and my teeth … itch. And I can hear colours.” The poor dear would have likely collapsed into a quivering pile of jelly if any of us had raised our voices louder than a whisper.
When you’re on the road, gigging in bars every night, you see a lot of drinkers and the aftereffects of drinking. I’m seen hangovers that lasted longer than some relationships. I’ve seen giddy girls who would write their address on their foreheads, under their bangs, to let the cab driver know where to take them when they no longer remembered where they lived.
In fact ..ahem .. I remember one particularly crazy night when that friend I mentioned above, and I, were heading home after a few too many bevvies. When the cab driver asked us, “Where to?” We both blanked. I said, “I’ll know it when I see it.” And Leah happily added, “And I live just around the corner from her!”
We must have gotten home at some point, but it’s all a blur to me now.
There’s really no cure for a hangover. You can take an aspirin before you fall asleep, or rely on a big, greasy breakfast to absorb some of the alcohol the next day. It might help to ease that feeling of the earth being unsteady under your feet. You can resort to a hair of the dog – some like a Bloody Mary to speed up the process. I like a Bloody Hell ..garden cocktaildrink mixed with beer.With any luck, a new infusion of alcohol into your blood stream will ease you through the worst of the pain. Although it may also propel you into another wasted day and wasted night …
However you deal with a hangover, you’re still gonna pay.The devil always gets his due.
I am certainly not prone to regular hangovers. Nor can I hold a candle to the legendary drinkers whose stories litter literature and music. Some of my friends have stories of epic carousals that beg to be made into television series, and have hangovers that would inspire cautionary tales best written by Stephen King or George R.R. Martin.
To paraphrase the Eagles, “Some drink to remember, some drink to forget.“I don’t ‘drink to forget.’ Or if I did, it worked, because I’ve forgotten what I’m supposed to remember.
Certainly there are many who drink to give themselves permission to act in ways they’d normally repress. Angry people act out . Timid people feel a false confidence. Sad people can safely unpack their sorrow and allow themselves to release painful emotions. Lonely people can find a kind of momentary love and oblivion in the arms of someone they’d pass by without a second glance if sober.
There are some personalities that gravitate early to prodigious drinking. Sadly, the hardest drinkers rarely have the hardiest of livers, and tend to be crushed under the deadly combination of liquor and the recklessness it engenders. Sometimes all they’ll leave their loved ones are memories of a squandered life and creativity.
Attitudes towards drinking have changed drastically over the decades. In the sixties and seventies, entertainers could rely on an audience laughing at an impression of a drunk. Dean Martin’s entire schtick revolved around his charming, tipsy persona. Foster Brooks was much in demand at celebrity roasts. Red Skelton was famous for his “Guzzler’s Gin” routine.Jackie Gleason’s alcoholic intake was legendary, as was W.C. Fields, Joe E. Lewis, and Buster Keaton.
The message then was that drinking was fun and funny. Although there are still some today who’ll roll with the alcoholic punches (Amy Schumer, the ladies of Absolutely Fabulous,) there’s a great deal more stigma and shame associated with excessive alcohol intake, it’s health consequences, and the possibility of alcohol causing harm to the innocents in the vicinity.
An angry, maudlin, drunk blames the world for being unfair and unkind. Stupor erases personal accountability, and replaces it with a world of villains who are unable to see the inherent perfection the alcoholic is sure they possess, simply by virtue of being born. They believe they are simply, massively, criminally, undervalued and misunderstood.
A good, solid, body wracking hangover does have one potential bright side, though. IF we can learn from the consequences of over-indulgence, we can choose not to cross that line again in the future. We can learn from our experiences.
Or we can live our days full out, passions proudly on display, and our zest for life undimmed. Wasn’t that a party!
Everything in moderation ..including moderation.
Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday
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Roxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. She has also been a vocalist with many acts, including Tangents, Lady, Performer, Mambo Jimi, and Delta Tango. In 2013 she co-hosted Bob Segarini’s podcast, The Bobcast, and, along with Bobert, will continue to seek out and destroy the people who cancelled ‘Bunheads’.