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January 12, 2013

As Time Goes By: It's a New Year and why am I still hung over?

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The Daily Star

---- — Here we are. New Year’s revelry has passed and now for those who imbibed too much the “price” must be paid.

The “price” might include a pounding headache that gives the impression that it will never go away regardless of what one will take.

There are those who claim that a little bit from the hair-of-the-dog-that bit you will put you back into the land of the functioning. This might be true but you must always ask yourself: 1. How big was the dog? 2. How sharp are the teeth?

 It is inevitable that they always come back to bite you in the backside.

My father, Fred, was born in Germany and we all know that German and beer are almost synonymous. When Pop was finished with closing the meat market he would take his shoes off and sit down for supper and his quart of “Utica Club.”

He could hold his quart quite well but as soon as you added a pint more he would become maudlin and start “nesting.” This means he would settle in for the night wherever he was, standing up, sitting or lying down.

On auction days my dad would leave with the cattle truck to buy beef. After buying a number of steers he would head home in the truck. The cattle truck had an odd quirk — it could never pass a bar, or saloon, so Pop would lock the truck up (lest the cattle escape) and have a “few with the boys.”

About two in the morning our home phone would ring and some kindly barkeep would inform us that Fred had reached a point of petrification where he was either afraid to move or realized he couldn’t move in his current state.

My brother Fred (Jr.) and I would drive to the saloon in question and pour Pop into the car, and I would drive the cattle truck home.

The cattle in the rear of the truck were either getting really hungry or wanted to be milked or if it was a mix of cows and steers wanting to prove their non-existent masculinity. This meant that the truck was in constant motion and noise. It was a hoot! Looking back I think that this was the birth of “rock and roll.”

Years later I found that I had an aversion to beer and I think that it was because of what I saw it do to my dad.

It was many years later, after baling hay on a hot summer’s day along with a very dusty throat, I realized just how good a cold glass of beer could be. I was hooked!

As I got older I never abused the privilege to drink. However, when I did I was always careful not to be the driver.

I can count on my fingers (all 20 of them) the number of times I got “smashed.” Typically what happened was that we’d be celebrating something and in the course of an evening would cross the line from “I’m so happy,” to “Oh, my God, what have I done.” You say this to yourself groaning, because your body will start to rebel. It will undergo a series of phases.

Now a body’s rebellion can either be mild — as in a bad headache to a full grown episode of vomiting, hurling, heaving, ralphing, puking, barfing, and throwing-up. An episode by any other name still smells bad and sounds worse.

As you can see, this does not paint a pretty picture. The punishment phase comes when you run out of “juice” to add to the porcelain goddess. (It is a good idea to get to the porcelain goddess as fast as you can — nothing makes a wife madder than if you start prematurely and hit everything else in sight.)

Welcome to the “dry heaves” phase of a hangover. This is the time when everything below your rib-cage tries to come up through your esophagus.

Your esophagus is smart — it knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no way that your “innards” are going to find relief this way.

The next phase is when you get the idea that prayer might help. When you are in this phase you “get God” and beg for help intoning over and over a promise, “Honest God I’ll never be this stupid again.” (God smiles because he knows you are lying.)

There will come a point where you will swear that you just threw up one or more of your toenails. Under no circumstances will you ask your wife to verify this.

While you rest your head on the cool soothing rim of the porcelain goddess you will probably ask God to let you die. It will go something like this, “Oh, God, please let me die.” The next thing you will probably hear will be a voice from your ceiling saying, “Sorry, you really smell bad.”

The best time is when you look at yourself in the morning and see a bloodshot-eyed, unshaven bristling face that is a comic parody of YOU! All you can do is groan because the headache phase is about to begin. Ouch!

Happy New Year!

Henry Geerken is a three-time NYSUT award-winner writing humorous articles addressing retiree and senior citizen concerns. Geerken also writes for Sail-World, World Cruising Newsletter, regarding his many humorous sailing episodes through the years. He can be reached by email at hgeerken@stny.rr.com. ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/seniorscene.