The Delayed Hangover


If food at the supermarket doesn’t have a price, it must be free. If the bartender doesn’t ask for money, the drink must be free. If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does a bear shit in the woods? Or something like that. Does that mean if we don’t talk about the concept of the delayed hangover, it doesn’t actually exist? Well, I’ve been told that the delayed hangover didn’t exist before I gave it a name, but trust me, delayed hangovers exist and they suck worse than Jennifer Love Hewitt’s singing. You are not alone…crying face down at your desk on a Friday morning.


Although delayed hangovers can happen any day of the week, they always seem to be worse on weekdays because instead of crawling back into bed, you have to crawl into your boss’ office, pray he doesn’t look into your bloodshot eyes and that is when he says, “So, what did you do last night?”


It’s so tempting to answer with, “I got into a fight with a Spitting Cobra you fucking idiot. What do you think I was doing? Why don’t you get your head out of your ass – it makes your lunch taste like shit.”


What makes the delayed hangover so dreadful is the deception of feeling good when you first wake up, followed by the plummet to Hangoverville, USA.  Also known as the “Show Me (your lunch) State”. The first few minutes of being awake are suppose to tell us how we are going to feel for the day, but sometimes life pulls a Houdini – Watch as I turn this tired, dehydrated man into a perfectly healthy, happy person with a simple wave of my wand. And then 30 minutes later, I’ll turn him back into a worthless pile of crap during his presentation to the Board of Directors.


The new day starts so wonderfully with no worries or regrets, except the realization that you ordered 4 copies of “70s Disco Hits” on cassette at 3am. Damn cable modem; it’s just so easy to order shit. There should be a Breathalyzer on that thing. As you hop in the shower, only running a few minutes late for Friday at work, you think about how good those Lunchboxes tasted (Southern Comfort & Vodka shot dropped into pint of beer and Orange Juice). And as you clean the dirt off your hands from tripping facedown into a puddle on the way home, you don’t lament about doing 3 Chocolate Cake shots (Frangelica, Vodka and something else). And how after 8 beers you really needed that Mind Eraser to take the edge off (glass of Vodka, Kahlua & Club soda sucked through a straw all at once). I am invincible! I must have the highest tolerance ever! Life is good. What a great time with friends last night and now I am ready to take on the day!


Then as you are blissfully skipping down the street like a dog that just had his neutering appointment canceled, a small headache starts to creep in. But you disregard it and think that you deserve a little payback for all that boozing you did. After all, you did ruin that girl’s pants last night, it’s only fair. And then as you get in the train, bus or car to head to work, your stomach gets a little queasy…and your headache gets worse, and you begin to sweat even though it’s 65 degrees outside. And you realize that you fell victim to the delayed hangover Gods again, and they are very angry…and spiteful. I should have called in sick today.


You start to tell yourself excuses why you feel so shitty. As your stomach turns faster than bad fruit, every possible reason you feel like ass comes to mind: It was the lack of dinner, the fact that I didn’t have Tylenol before going to bed, didn’t drink any water, my friends are unemployed alcoholics, it was my friend’s birthday, my boss was there, I knew the bartender, they don’t normally have shot specials, there wasn’t a cover charge, the band was too good to leave early, and I thought that chick was digging me. Yeh, there’s no way this hangover is because I DRANK TOO MUCH! What an irrational explanation. No, it couldn’t have been that I was drinking Clamato Vodka while watching My Blue Heaven on DVD at 4am. You moron. (And no, I didn’t make up that disgusting clam/tomato/vodka drink. I’m not that sick. Thank you Richard Jeni. -


As you leave the train to walk 4 blocks to the office, you consider going back home, but somehow your feet keep leading you towards work even though you are repeatedly telling them to head for the nearest bus…and step in front of it. Walking down the street you get the strange sensation of a burp, that isn’t really a burp. Are burps supposed to be solid? The new flavor combination in your mouth of stomach acid, tobacco and Johnny Walker Black leaves you wondering at what point last night you were making-out with Jackie Gleason. Eventually you force it back down like an apprehensive Catholic girl. You dream of Gatorade, greasy egg & cheese sandwiches, your couch and time machines that could take you back to yesterday at 6pm when Happy Hour sounded like a good idea. But who we kidding, you’d do it all over again.


Once at work you take the long walk to your desk, avoiding as many people as possible since you are wobbling side-to-side, your eyes are closed, you’re drenched in sweat, your shirt has come un-tucked (you used it to wipe the sweat off your forehead), and you’re 75 minutes late because you stood at the corner for 25 minutes trying to remember where you work. You sit at your desk (or at least you hope it’s your desk because the vomit in the top drawer could cause some office tension), you consider lying on the floor and just wish that damn song you were singing in the shower would go away. That song is burrowing into your head like a steroid-enhanced tick and it just won’t stop. And it’s never Tom Petty or Pearl Jam; it’s always some trendy song that’s been so overplayed your Mom knows the lyrics. Seriously Avril, give it a rest.


So to get the song out of your head you play your MP3 Playlist entitled “Hangover Mix” in hopes that “Sweet Child O’Mine” will make it all better. The next 8 hours is spent staring into space and emailing friends with messages like, “Dude, I’m so hungover.” They reply with, “Yeh, me too. What the hell were you doing with that taco in your pants last night? I thought it was funny but the guy who paid for the taco didn’t seem to think so.” You spend the day questioning yourself, “Why do I do this to myself?” “Why did I come to work today?” “Why didn’t I take that job at the Advil factory? That would come in so handy right now.”


But next week we’ll do the same thing, or in most cases that same night. After all, Thursday is just the start of the weekend. At some point I think Thursday will become a night that I watch Friends and drink a glass of wine, but as long as I’m living in Hoboken twenties purgatory, Thursday nights will still be the leading cause of unproductive Fridays. And sometimes I may drink more Fosters than an alcoholic kangaroo, but I’ll wake up ready to take on the world. Just don’t email me the words “Delayed Hangover” and it can’t really exist.