Left, Right & Center
Jewish World Review / January 1, 1998 / 3 Tevet, 5758
Cures for that holiday hangover
(They're not likely to make you feel any worse)
WASHINGTON -- AS USUAL, I am presenting my list of holiday hangover cures. I do not know why. When you need this, you probably won't even be able to read it. Your eyes will be two pink dots, your teeth will itch, and your mouth will feel as if the Russian army had marched through it.
Actually, I have no sympathy for people who awake with crushing hangovers. A hangover is God's way of telling you that you are still alive.
But I know you expect aid and comfort from me, and so I will once again share with you my collection of expert cures for this hangover season:
1. DR. PHILIP THOREK, a surgeon with an interest in nutrition and drinking:
"Boy, alcohol really knocks the hell out of your liver. And the liver is a marvelous organ. But what do we do to it? We go out and kill off a fifth and turn into bibulous slobs.
"The only real cure for a hangover is what I call the Tincture of Time. You have to wait hours and hours for your body to metabolize and destroy the alcohol. And it is not just the alcohol but the impurities. The fusel oils! The congeners! The aldehydes!
"A hangover is a form of poisoning. There is no doubt about this. Now, eating fatty foods, bread or cheese will help absorb some of the alcohol. But this doesn't mean you can go and drink more. That's crazy. Moderation, moderation. This is what we must learn.
"A glass of wine is a good tranquilizer. But you must remember temperance. Not abstinence but temperance. But what do we do? We go out and drink triple martinis, wake up with a terrible hangover and blame the olives!"
2. ROBERTO SURO, famous Washington Post journalist: "Here is what they do in South America. One takes the rawest of fish. The fish is then soaked in lemon and raw onions. Hot sauce is added. The fish is then soaked for two days. No less. This is eaten with popcorn and beer. Yes, they have popcorn in South America.
"This cures is known as 'tratamiento de choque.' In North America, you would know it as the 'shock treatment.'
"I also hear that among unsavory elements at some American places of higher education, a certain type of cigarette is smoked immediately upon awakening to remove all sense of pain. It is my understanding that this is not strictly legal, and therefore, I have never tried this myself. Also, I hear Valium is good.
"There is another a ritual to be followed. We do this every New Year's at my mother's. As the clock gongs midnight, a grape must be eaten upon each gong. Of course, with clocks with no gongs, this becomes difficult. In that case, just eat 12 grapes quickly.
"Then, a raw egg is cracked into a glass of water. One carefully watches the shape of the egg white. From this, the future may be predicted."
3. THE GUILT CURE: Look in the mirror, and read this in the voice of your spouse: "You slob. You absolute pig. Look at yourself. I can't stand the sight of you. You do this every year. I hope you're pleased with yourself. You look awful. If you ever do this again, I'm throwing you out of this house. You make me sick. You ought to be ashamed."
4. THE TRADITIONAL CURE: Chicken soup cures anything. You can drink it. You can soak your head in it. You can wash your face in it. You can take the spots out of your tie with it. You can even mix it with white wine and soda and make a chicken spritzer. And if it doesn't help your hangover, it will remind you of your mother.
5. LORD BYRON'S CURE: "Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter/Sermons and soda water the day after."
6. ANOTHER MEDICAL CURE: Drinking causes dehydration and the contraction of the blood vessels. To cure this, drink water or fruit juices and take aspirin. Unfortunately, another shot of booze might also swell the blood vessels and relieve the pain. But this just starts the whole thing over again.
7. ZAY SMITH, newsman and former bartender: "People would come into the tavern in very bad shape and ask me for something to stop the pain. The only think I knew about was Worcestershire sauce -- no, I don't know how to spell it, you'll have to look it up -- on a lemon wedge.
"You just close your eyes and bite the lemon wedge. It helps if you are standing up while doing this. Actually, this is not a cure for hangovers. It is a cure for hiccups. But these guys were so drunk, they didn't know the difference.
"I'd ask them if they felt better, and they'd say, 'Huh? Where am I?'
"So I guess it works."
12/30/97: Buy stuff now