It’s Sunday morning. My head hurts. It aches, in fact. My stomach feels decidedly dickey. My throat is drier than a camel’s arse. I know that that’s not really a great analogy, and that camels’ arses might not be particularly dry, but did I mention the POUNDING JACKAHMMER PAIN IN MY HEAD?!? Jesus, this isn’t fair! I wasn’t drinking last night! I had to put myself into debt to pay for my drinking on Friday night. And so could definitely DEFINITE LY not afford more pints last night. Why then do I now feel like death warmed over?
The technical, scientific name for it is a Pavlovian Hangover. It has to do with circadian rhythms, and conditioning and all sorts of other things they teach you in psychology, that are genuine science, and in no way made up hoodoo to make psychologists sound like proper scienticians instead of bluffers. The basic idea is that your body becomes so accustomed to being abused with drink on a Saturday night acts accordingly on a Sunday morning, delivering the mingled feelings of pain and shame and general awfulness of an actual hangover.
This is not the whole story of the Pavlovian Hangover though. This is just the so called “Evil” Pavlovian Hangover. There is also the “Magical” Pavlovian Hangover. Just as sometimes one can wake up after a night of heavy boozing and being rejected by attractive women in “da club” and feel absolutely wonderful, so one can wake up after staying in, having a mug of cocoa, and getting an early night, and feel amazingly chipper. “Well duh!” you’re undoubtedly saying, “why wouldn’t you feel good after getting an early night?” The difference being, with a Magical Pavlovian Hangover, the body expects to feel like utter shite (despite the lack of booze) and so when it discovers that it feels pretty good, it over-compensates, and releases loads of “awesome endorphins”, leading to feelings of euphoria, mild mania, and general WICKED!-ness. The Magical Pavlovian Hangover is about as blissful a feeling as one can get without the actual aid of alcohol or other drugs (and even then, one can only experience it if one has a regular habit of drinking too much).
It’s interesting to note that Pavlovian Hangovers promote the exact opposite feelings towards future drinking than actual hangovers; when one wakes up feeling like shit after drinking too much, the idea of ever drinking again is usually pretty repulsive, until at least four pm. With an Evil Pavlovian Hangover however, stung by the sheer injustice of the universe, one is left with a self destructive urge to drink as much as possible as quickly as possible. If you’re going to feel like shit anyway, the general reasoning goes, you might as well do something to deserve it, like necking half a bottle of tequila, and making inappropriate advances towards your female friends. Possibly you’ll call them sexy mamacitas (whatever the hell that means), try to grab their ass, miss and fall onto the coffee table. This sort of thing, you reckon, will show the universe who’s boss around here.
Unfortunately, I can’t afford to drink myself into oblivion. Gathering up the loose change from around my room, I just about manage to make enough to buy myself a kebab. If I’m going to feel like I had a heavy night out, then the least I can do is eat a container of grease, chilli sauce and genuine animal product...