World’s worst hangovers

Macbeth (Act 2 scene 3):

Macduff: What three things does drink especially promote?
Porter: Marry sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine.

The three most terrible hangovers of all time all happened to me. It’s not like they just happened of course, I had something to do with causing them. I find it odd that having had one, I ever had another. My suspicion is that when I’m feeling down (Ulster protestants don’t get depressed) the memory of how bad the ‘morning after’ feels is subordinate to how bad the present moment feels. I either have a small amount to drink (and no hangover) or, as in these three instances, a catastrophic amount too much. There was a guy in Finland who claimed to have had a hangover that could make it onto my leaderboard, but he’s not even in the running (to test this, try a cocktail of 1 part vodka, 1 part creme de meths. Oblivons sets in after about a litre).

My first hangovers were a surprise. I had no idea that it was possible to feel so sick (despite being naturally subject to carsickness, this was a whole undiscovered ocean of nausea). No-one else I knew had hangovers like I did. All the other sixteen year-olds seemed to able to drink all night, eat several botulism burgers, travel three hours in a foetid, airless coach and then play rugby successfully before heading for their next pint. Me, I always felt seriously – I mean clinically ill. Maybe it was that I drank a lot more than they did, or maybe it was my slow metabolism (the same one that caused me to become fat, despite eating only 15,000 calories per day).

The top three events in increasing order of severity are:

3rd Place Conway Square Newtownards, 1982
It was dawning on me that I had to do stuff for which I was ill-prepared, like growing up. I had failed at school and had to go to college in London. For lots of other young folk, this was a fantastic adventure. For me it was a prison sentence. At the time, I had begun to realise, after only about 4 years, that the young woman who was, I thought, my best friend was never going to be anything more. So naturally, to improve the situation I drank the best part of a bottle of Teachers, got comprehensively ‘blocked’, fell asleep in her Mother’s bathroom and threw up in Conway Square. Good job I did throw or I’d definitely be dead.

2nd Place Godmanchester Old England, 1999
I apparently bawled raucous songs and told ‘jokes’ into a microphone for about an hour dressed in an improvised orange toga. Let me assure you, I don’t know any jokes. No-one pulled me offstage so I must have been good or surrounded by people who didn’t give a shit. The reason I was drinking so hard was that I knew which of these two it was.

1st Place St John’s College, New Mexico, 1991
The global, all-time overall prizewinner. Halfway around the world from my family I had begun to realise that something terribly wrong was going on domestically. Without much of a model about how things should have been, I decided that a little alcohol would provide some valuable therapy. Two new academic friends of mine went with me to the local supermarket, and we bought two cases of cheap beer, six limes, a box of table salt and three bottles of tequila for that genuine New Mexico weekend getaway experience.

I woke up in a cm-deep pink slick that newly carpeted the floor of my room -wall-to-wall.

Even now just the T-word can make me feel queasy. I missed a full 36 hours of my life and instead there was a strange hallucination in which pink elephants actually did play a prominent role.

If you are squinting at this through a hangover to challenge the league table entries above, here is a suggested remedy:

1) Eat breakfast. A meal consisting of eggs, a banana, burnt toast and fruit juice or a sports drink should help limit the damage.

2) Sort out what ever is really bothering you.

Me? Never again.