Ethan Shone 22nd December 2018
Hello, people of the future. How the hell are you? It is 4pm on Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve where I am, and I’m absolutely not about to start a serious piece of work before fleeing this place like a burning building in exactly one hour and 30 minutes’ time.
Thing is, we’re scheduling whatever I decide to write here for the morning after Mad Friday — which, if you’re from somewhere that’s not Britain, is the closest real-world phenomena to The Purge but, instead of street violence and large-scale rioting becoming legal for 24 hours, they just become socially acceptable for around 12. Chances are this morning, you (and me), are sat on the sofa with a ghostly pint of cordial, wishing to Christ or whoever else, that you’d not filled your body with all kinds of nasty substances last night and earlier this morning. So yeah, I’m not doing any proper work, but that’s not what you want anyway though, is it, any of that serious shite? Brexwhen? Climate who? Universal what-now?
Fucking hell, I’m sorry. Let’s just get to the hangovers.
One hour and 15 minutes, now.
The Christmas miracle
♫ Hark now hear, the angels sing, somehow you’re not rough ♫
What kind of fucking magic is this? I mean, there’s absolutely no way on Earth that you should feel this human following that absolute slew of pints you necked. Is it witchcraft? Did you actually just die, and now you’re stuck in purgatory?
You were definitely pissed. No doubt. You kept calling people “mandem” despite spirited protest from your friends. What gives?
You wander around timidly for a few hours, not committing to any movement or action too strenuous, lest the hangover gods decide to belatedly punish you for your arrogance. By midday, though, it’s clear that you aren’t just still pissed; this is not one of those long-fuse hangovers that kicks in when you’re just about to tuck into the carvery you opted into 10 minutes after waking up ostensibly un-hungover.
You are laughing, my good friend. Look at you: big, proud, totally not hungover. You looked the devil in the eyes and came off best, didn’t you? Now make the most of it by getting straight back on it; you owe it to all your fellow travellers who’re, right now, closely inspecting the inside of the toilet bowl and wretching. For all those fallen brothers and sisters, you and you alone must soldier on.
Be careful of this one, though. The hangover gods are very much like Death in the Final Destination movies — you might well cheat them on this occasion, but they’ll come for you. In the most ludicrously over-the-top and seemingly-unlikely way, they will claim your soul (and your stomach lining).
Verdict: 0 out of 5, not even a hangover
As your eyes slowly flutter open, prompted by the alarm you set — ambitiously, some might say — for 7.30am, you realise something truly awful. Despite the fact that you’ve agreed to get up early to go last-minute Christmas shopping with Mum — “We’ll make a day of it,” you said, you fool — you are, in fact, pants-shittingly hungover.
How could this have happened?
Oh. Oh, honey. You poor thing. You thought the three glasses of red wine you knocked back watching Love Actually weren’t going to matter, didn’t you? Well, newsflash, pal: if the splitting headache and perpetual motion-machine inside your stomach are anything to go by, they abso-fucking-lutely did matter.
At this point, you’ve two choices. You can:
- Throw your phone across the room, watch it shatter into many tiny pieces, bury your head in the pillow once again and sleep. Text mum three hours later saying you had a really bad night’s sleep — didn’t get off until the early hours, probably something you ate — and slept through your alarm, sorry! Plus side, you’ve avoided having to move and, therefore, prevented your mind from imploding. Down side, you’ve just dropped below your arsehole brother in the family rankings.
- Snooze the alarm eight times, then begrudging roll out of bed 11 minutes before you’re supposed to meet mum, stumble around the room and throw on whatever clothes are within reach but without stains/smells, and endure the day’s shopping. There’s a chance that the fresh air and the sheer Christmas-y-ness will bring you back to life, but in all likelihood, you’re fucked.
Ultimately, this one is not as soul-destroying or as vomit-inducing as many other hangover-archetypes, but the sheer injustice of it means it’s still a real fucker.
Verdict: 2 how did this happens out of 5
The post-Office Party
The most damaging contributor to this little doozy is not so much the Jagerbombs that Darren from accounts somehow coerced you into “seeing-off” but the anxiety-inducing gap in your memory that has engulfed the entire six-hour period between said Jagerbombs and falling out of an Uber outside your place of residence.
As the day goes on, little sections of the timeline are filled in, either by memories that flood back like a That’s So Raven flash-forward but with more hot, shameful embarrassment, or by texts from colleagues and friends. By the time darkness falls, you’ll likely be in the throes of a full-on existential crisis and trying to work out whether, as has been claimed, you really did do a shit in a urinal and offer your line manager a very different kind of line in Revolution toilets. Spoiler: guilty on both counts.
This might not be the worst hangover in terms of feeling ill, but that’s only because you’re far too worried about whether you’ll have a job to return to in the New Year to think about whether you’ve got a sore head or not.
Verdict: 4 oh please, fuck no, tell me I didn’ts out of 5
Christmas Eve is not a night out-night, you utter fucking heathen. Christmas Eve is not — repeat, absolutely NOT — about going out locally and getting trashed on cheap bottles until the lights come on in your local small-town nightclub. It is not about waking up Christmas morning, bleary-eyed and belligerent, then trying to keep the contents of your stomach in place while younger siblings tear through present after present. I’ll tell you what, you thoughtless little prick, Christmas Eve is a pure, hallowed and sacred night. It is NOT for you to roll in at 4am, start tucking into the Christmas day food (Sacrilege! Treason! War crimes!) and wake everyone up.
Oh I know, your intentions were good. Just a few jolly, Christmas-y pints with the lads. Christmas Eve! The most magical night of the year! How could you not share a few jars with your mates, on this, the eve of our lord’s birthday? But one became two, became seven, didn’t it?
And now, here we are. Here you are, being angrily nudged into consciousness at 10.45am by a mother who has almost found the limits to a love she once thought boundless.
“We’ve already done presents,” she says, defeated. To her, you were once the literal embodiment of all that was good and just in the world, and now you’re laid on top of the covers in last night’s clothes telling her to fuck off out of your childhood room on Christmas morning.
You’ve really done it this time haven’t you, you selfish little wank?
This hangover is comprised thusly:
- three parts nausea
- two parts aching
- five parts crippling guilt
Verdict: 5 mums sobbing quietly into uneaten Christmas dinner plates out of 5
You awaken, unable to open your eyes, in what at first seems like a war zone or the scene of a major natural disaster. Screaming, wailing sirens and flashing lights. Shocked and confused, you try to ascertain where you are and do a full-body diagnostic in your head. You’re badly hurt, your ears ring as though Quasimodo has set up shop in your ear canal and all your limbs ache like flux.
Earthquake while you slept? Plane crash that wiped your memories of both booking and boarding the flight?
No, unfortunately for you, this is merely a natural disaster of your own making; your very own internal Pompeii. Turns out the commotion was just your severely addled brain reacting to a phone alarm and the telly. You’re in a bed, but how did you get here? Is it your bed? Not clear. Is that… piss? Again, not clear. What is happening?
You are hungover. Very hungover. You are someone-bring-me-a-Maccies-and-I’ll-love-you-forever hungover. Googling “can hangovers kill” hungover. Crying at mildly emotional adverts and telling your partner to just fuck right off when they laugh at you, hungover.
Batten down the hatches, lads. This is going to be a rough ride.
Verdict: 6 aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh make it stops out of 5
Ethan Shone 22nd December 2018