Last night at Erin Smith and David Leftwich’s birthday party, I was lecturing John Letoto about the virtues of getting completely wasted, every once in a while. The minimum number I threw out was once a year. John wouldn’t have it, and it makes sense. John, who pours latte art with the intensity and precision of a brain surgeon, would never want to compromise his killer instinct. He would never allow himself to overindulge, and wield his thermo-pen with a shaky hand the next day. But I continue to make the case and spit in the face of karma:
It’s a fun challenge to warp your perception with alcohol and keep your cool. I suppose that’s the same mentality that people use with hallucinogens, but you know what I mean. Let’s be adults and admit it: we like the way alcohol makes us feel. It’s a fun thing to remind people of when I find myself locked into a wine monologue:
“So this is like fino sherry but its French, specifically from the Jura. Vin Jaune is 100% savagnin that ages in cask for 6 years under a ‘voile’ of yeasts. The production process is similar, but it’s important to note that Vin Jaune is unfortified. Where fino is meant to be consumed as fresh as possible, Vin Jaune can age almost indefinitely. It’s really complex and elegant, pairs wonderfully with umami-driven food, oh and I almost forgot! It contains alcohol! So as you drink it, you will notice that everything will get exponentially more awesome. Your chances of doing something thrilling, newsworthy, or dangerous will increase markedly. Please enjoy several bottles of it with a wedge of briny Comte cheese, then get arrested for having sex in an aquarium that you broke into.”
Even hangovers are wonderful so long as they’re infrequent. You experience all sensory input as if it was your first time feeling sunlight, or smelling cut grass. It’s jarring, like if you could actually remember the first time you drew breath. You stumble through the day seeing normal things, but you hear the roar of a leaf blower or a car commercial on the radio, and there is something fantastical about it. So while your senses feel realer than ever, the things you actually see seem absurd. Maybe I like being hungover because it simultaneously affirms and negates reality.
Wouldn’t it be clever of the universe if I got super drunk immediately after going into this sermon? Well, that’s what happened. I drank about 2/3rds of a bottle of Redbreast 12, for classified reasons. I live around the corner, so I just stumbled back home, quickly realizing I overdid it, and I was about to get my ass handed to me.
In my romantic defense of drinking too much and being hungover, I forgot how unpleasant vomiting is (I’ve now puked 5 times in the past hour). At every point in life, I am trying to dig deeper and find something interesting. I’ve long since given up everything in my stomach except bile. Which leads me to the question: Why couldn’t bile taste good? Why does it have to be so foul? Then I realize making bile delicious would create a biological imperative for bulimia. Animals in the wild would be finding creative ways to trigger their gag reflexes to taste the ambrosia of their own bile.
Can you picture the forest? With all the adorable animals sticking their paws down their throats so they can puke their guts out and taste their yummy bile? Can you see it? CAN. YOU. SEE. IT.
Even worse, now I’m asking myself, isn’t there a beverage that actually tastes like this? Then I remember: gueuze. “Gastric acid” is a common tasting note on the funkier stuff. Then I remember: I need to go puke again. I’m way past the point where I can defend vomiting as some kind of catharsis: I drank way too much, too fast, and now I am weeping hydrochloric acid into a dirty toilet, for the 6th time.
I will tell you this though, I still love gueuze, and I will not give up on it because it has a slightly barfy flavor. People who stop drinking something because they “had a bad experience with it” are the jerks who put a dog up for adoption because it craps on the carpet once. Did you burn out on Tequila shotz in college? Think of tequila as a sad puppy being put in a cage because you don’t love it any more. Look at those sad eyes- you are an asshole.
I’m wiping puke off my cellphone, which is telling me I have a chateau Musar lecture to be at tomorrow. Rad.
Now that I’ve reached the point where I can retain liquids, I am reminded of another thing I enjoy about being brutally hungover: nursing myself back to health.
Enter the Mexican coke. Apply one 500ml bottle to the affected area. Drink it slowly, and as cold as humanly possible. Coke will never look more pornographically cold and refreshing than when you just poisoned yourself with whiskey. Protip: put it in the freezer when you start puking, so when you’re done its perfectly cold, glistening with condensation. I am a hard skeptic when it comes to the superiority of Mexican (sugar cane) coke over normal (corn syrup) coke. I have seen many experts fail that pepsi challenge. But when I’m super hungover, I’m not above tricking myself with placebos.
More than anything, the act of getting drunk, having fun, and being hungover the next day is evidence of causality in the universe. I had too much fun, and now that the sun has risen, I must suffer. A hangover is an exhilarating and punishing mathematical constant. It is a helpful reminder that the universe is still governed by some form of rules.
Thank goodness. Going to try eating food. I love you, gang.