By Terry Sweeney
Greetings fellow Happy Winos! As a way of saying thank you for your loyalty and devotion to my column, I thought I would give y’all my annual “Happy Wino Water Festival Survival Kit.” To that end, I am providing you once again with my hangover cures and my easy to remember “Wine Bottle Warning Guide” that could save your life, or at least enable you to remember all the fun you had at this year’s Water Festival. So when people say to you, “I can’t believe you did that in front of everybody at the Sandbar!”, you don’t have to look at them blankly and ask, terrified, “I-I was at the Sandbar?!”
Every year I swear that never again will I be on that Sandbar three sails to the wind! But then the party gets started and I think, “Oh just one more can’t hurt.” And boy, am I wrong! Before I know it, the wrath of grapes is upon me!
I am personally ready to put on sneakers, shorts and a tank top, plaster a number on my chest and start a nationwide “Run for the Hangover Cure” — well, that is as soon as I can take this ice pack off my head and my hands stop shaking. Maybe instead I should start up a “Tiptoe Quietly For the Cure Wearing Very Dark Sunglasses.”
A friend of mine who is also a Happy Wino sometimes calls me the morning after we have been out Water Festival partying and all she will say is “Cheeseburger, fries, LT’s, one hour.” Click. That’s all she has to say and I am there, because no greasy burger nor oil-dripping freshly French fried potato has ever tasted better than the one you eat when you’ve got the big H. “Why is that?” you ask. I don’t know.
Apparently, Science thinks the study of how greasy junk food affects the booze-soaked brain is beneath them. Another pricey Mars Probe, that’s what we really need. The last one so improved our quality of life. Thanks, Science. (Of course if they find out Martians don’t get hangovers no matter how many Martiantinis they drink, well then it’s money well spent and I will personally apologize to Science). But in the meantime: HELP!
By the way, before I forget, it is imperative that you wash down that grease fest with a carbonated cola in the biggest cup you can find, filled to the brim with ice.
But, let’s face it. This trip to Dr. Greaseburger may be my (and several friends’) way of surviving the hellacious wrath of the grape, but everyone has their own. Of course, the worst one I ever heard came from a dour cousin of mine whom, when asked about her favorite hangover preventative, responded “Don’t drink!” It was then I remembered my mother always referred to her as “your crazy cousin.”
However, on the other end of the scale, I have a Happy Wino buddy who swears the only way he can get over his hangover is to have a beer for breakfast as soon as he wakes up. Sounds all right, except then he continues to snack on beers all morning and ends up having beer for lunch. “Hair of the dog,” he’ll drunkenly inform me if I run into him. “Of course” I say, then quietly mumble under my breath, “I think that dog had puppies.”
Nevertheless, he is right about one thing: Beer with hops (a natural sedative) as its main ingredient is the favorite daytime, “day after” drink of many vintners. When I was in Napa, the sight of a beer mug in the hand of any well-known winemaker was a sure sign he’d stomped down too many grapes the night before. So maybe a cold beer with lunch might just be what the doctor ordered.
Speaking of doctors, one of my Happy Wino friend’s wife is one. What does his medical mate recommend for a hangover? “Oh she usually hooks us up to water-drip IVs the next morning ‘till we’re re-hydrated.” “Oh that’s a good one,” I chuckle, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” Tee Hee. One look at his somber, puzzled expression tells me, “Oh my Lord, he’s serious.”
I make a mental note not to ask my undertaker friend what he and his wife do the day after (“We sleep in the empty coffins in the walk in freezer!”)
Still, I do understand where these hung and hurtin’ folks are coming from. Who among us has not prayed for relief from the “Morning After Monster” and plea-bargained with the Grape Gods to spare us further agony. “Never again!” we cry. “One glass with dinner from now on,” we swear. Yeah right.
Sooner or later, of course, forgetting all of our heartfelt promises and melodramatic repentance, we’re back whooping it up with the best of ‘em. I’ve even gone so far as to make false claims that the reason I got so sick last time was due to a “tainted cork” or my other old standby: “That last bottle must have turned. I oughta sue!”
Still, of all the cures I’ve heard, my favorite was that of a friend who described opening a can of Diet Pepsi at 6 p.m. on the night he’s going out, dropping two aspirin in it and letting it sit on his bedside table so he can chug it down before he goes to sleep.
“Does that really work?” I asked, impressed. “I don’t know,” he shrugged. “I always pass out and forget to drink it.”
Here is my Wine Bottle Warning Guide: Cut it out and tape it to your fridge:
One is fun.
Two, I can do.
Three, look out for me!
Four, I’m on the floor.
Five, thank God I’m alive!
Six, I’m pickin’ up tricks.
Seven, I’m probably in Heaven.
By Terry Sweeney