Rate Your Hangover

By Leigh Pujado

Originally published in the Key West Citizen


Hey, you don’t feel too bad!  Looks like you cheated the alcohol gods again.  After a gallon of water and six gatorades you can’t figure out how you could possibly still be thirsty, but at least your head doesn’t ache.  Getting to work should be a piece of cake after a quick screwdriver.  What most concerns you is the explicit fantasy you are having about McDonald’s sausage biscuits.


Easy stomach….don’t turn over.  You realize that you had too much to drink last night, but hey, it was an open bar at that party!  At least you still feel competent enough to operate the coffee maker, and maybe even the child-proof caps on the Pepto and the aspirin bottles.  You definitely need some sustenance!  Now where can you get a cheeseburger and a bloody mary at 8 in the morning?


Holy cow!  A steel drum band from Bahama Village has moved into your head.  You wake up to find yourself in bed with a box of Dion’s chicken and there’s so many ink stamps on your hands, you look like a parcel that’s been around the world.  Calling in to work would be a good idea but your mouth has stopped producing saliva so talking on the phone is a daunting task.  After 2 liters of Pepsi and a handful of pain killers you show up to work 20 minutes late with your shirt on inside-out.  Your cognitive capacities have certainly been compromised, you smell like booze and are functioning on autopilot.


When I asked Pat from the Green Parrot for some insight on bad hangovers he said, “Oh, you mean like when you wake up in the office?”  Category four hangovers begin with waking up someplace other than your bed, and often, without any clothes.  Apparently, you didn’t make it home last night and the Talking Heads might as well be singing “Once in a Lifetime” directly to you!

“And you may tell yourself,

‘This isn’t my beautiful house,’

And you may tell yourself,

‘This isn’t my beautiful wife,’

And you may ask yourself,

‘How did I get here?’”

You’re about as sharp as a ball of yarn and you look like ass.  Right about now you’d pay big bucks for a toothbrush, but unfortunately, there’s no money left in your wallet.  Should you wake the stranger sleeping next to you and ask to borrow some cab fare?  Or maybe you should just stand in the middle of the street and pray that a cab will run you over.


You wake up looking UP at your toilet.  Yep, you slept on the bathroom floor.  Desperately you want to get up but your head weighs 400 pounds and has it’s own thumping heart beat.  The phone, which you obviously cannot answer, rings and the machine sounds off with your work wondering why you haven’t shown up yet.  You scream at the answering  machine, “Because I’m dying!”   As you crawl towards the bedroom, you get a whiff of your hair which apparently is now a receptacle for cigarette smoke and tequila.  Rifling through the pockets of the pants you wore last night, which, fortunately are on the floor where you can reach them, you attempt to piece the evening together by the matchbooks, coasters and phone numbers you’ve collected.  Just when you’ve formulated a plan for crawling into your bed for the next two weeks, you realize that at least for today, you’re going to have to camp out in the bathroom.

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