Jim McLennan is hungover...

Uuuuuurrrgggghhhh... That's the sound made by a very "tired and emotional" man, struggling gamely to get up this morning. Was taking part in the office quiz night, and somehow we managed to win: in celebration, we were on the Pink Lady cocktails - the ingredients of which being one question we failed to answer - and they did not sit well with the pints of Director's Bitter consumed over the previous four hours. Managed to get home okay, somehow, but soon found myself calling Ralph and Hughie on the big white telephone before crashing out, almost fully clad, on the bed.

I woke to the sound of thumping techno music coming from the street. Then I realised that was actually the sound of my pulse, and rapidly came to the conclusion that this was not going to be the most pleasant of mornings. I toyed with idea of pulling a sicky but couldn't really do that. The altruistic reason was because I was playing football at lunchtime and didn't want to let the team down. The more prosaic (and, let's be honest, more important one) was that no-one would believe me, since everyone in the office knew exactly where I'd been, and what I was doing i.e. drinking heavily.

However, you can use such things to your future advantage. By being entirely up-front and open about having a hangover, it helps to establish your credibility, and people will be less likely to think it's the case when you do phone in "sick". However, you don't want to come in every morning clutching a packet of Resolve in one hand, and your forehead in the other, as you'll get a reputation for it, which thus pushes it towards the front of people's mind. You're going for "Jim doesn't let a hangover stop him", rather than "Jim is a borderline alcoholic."

But there was no physical way I was going to make it to work on time. So I bit the bullet and phoned my boss - the smug bastard was already at his desk, sounding far more chipper than anyone ought to at that time in the morning - then sat back to ride it out, pausing only to barf up something green and bilious. The worst thing about a hangover is there's nothing much you can do about it except wait. The best thing is knowing that, no matter how bad you feel, it will eventually go away. The trickiest thing is knowing when you can start putting fluids in your stomach without them bouncing back faster than a...than a...very bouncy thing. [I'm sorry, my brain is diverting power away from all non-essential functions at the moment, leaving my artistic faculties on life-support]

I think the low point was the journey to work, though it wasn't quite as bad as the time I managed to black out -- and the train was so crowded I couldn't even fall over. At least I had a seat, though it was very tempting to stick my head out the window, despite a previous bad experience doing just that in similarly demonic-drink circumstances (I'll spare you the details, but it involves the Forth Rail Bridge and my glasses). Do you know how hard it is not to think about vomiting? God, even typing that sentence makes me feel wobbly, so we'll move on...

Somehow, I survived to London Bridge, and it has been a gradual recovery process since then. My stomach has now settled down a bit, though I doubt I'll be enjoying any bacon sandwiches in the near future, or indeed anything much thicker than water. I am, as I speak, staring into the frothy top of a large coffee, and suspect Nietzsche was right when he said, "If you gaze for long into the latte, the latte also gazes into you". Well, he would have, if they'd had Starbucks in his day...

Groan. I'll never drink again...


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