‘Twas the day after New Year’s, when all through the house,

Not a neuron was stirring, not even a spouse.

The bottles were lined along the shelf with care,

In hopes that Bayer as’prin would have two to spare.

The feet were still nestled all snug in their Keds,

While visions of shouldas were replaced with insteads.

And hubby in his T-shirt, and my hair in a wrap,

Oh, please settle brains for a much-needed nap.

So what is happening to cause all this clatter?

Too much acetaldehyde in the gray matter.

Nothing was happening in a flash,

Because rapid neuron firing took a crash.

The nausea, dry mouth, and point one oh blow,

Gave signs and symptoms to time zero.

At what point do those hangovers appear?

When blood alcohol reaches levels pre-beer.

With water and vitamins given right quick,

It still won’t matter: you’re gonna be sick.

Those rapid waves of peristalsis they came,

And Mr. Beam and Mr. Daniels you knew them by name.

Now Jim, now Jack, now Crown Royal mixin’,

On whiskey, on brandy, on good ole bourbon.

To the top of the gullet, to the pharynx wall,

Now rash away, gush away, flush away all!

As dry heaves before Pat O’Brien’s hurricanes fly,

When Alka-Seltzer meets acid and makes lye.

So up to the porcelain bowl the night’s evidence flew,

With tacos, and cheese, and some mystery goo.

And then in an inkling, I remembered the proof,

Twenty? Fifty? The number’s aloof.

As I drew in my head, calculating alcohol found,

Proof: two times alcohol by volume.  How profound.

Now drenched all in sweat, from the head to the foot,

The sympathetic nervous system is nearly caput.

It feels something like a heart attack,

But dealing with congeners is the hangover yack.

These fermentation chemicals make drinks so merry,

They also make cocktails taste like a sherry.

Liver enzymes erase what the mouth can sow,

With tincture of time, no one will know.

What is this malaise lying beneath?

Just give me a blankie to use as a sheath.

Sweet dreams of cures from the markets of Delhi,

Alas, nothing works, not even grape jelly.

Thinking “hair of the dog” might cure myself,

But drinking again? Take advice from the elf.

There may be something to it for clearing the head,

As GABA receptors react with alcohol, it is said.

Carbohydrates are needed to get back to work,

So give me some sugar, ’cause it’s a brain quirk.

Take some thiamine for that red nose,

No acetaminophen – or it’s rest and repose.

Perhaps a little help with some milk thistle,

Just for nerve growth factor, not bodies of Nissl.

Yes, never again. An avoidable plight.

Feeling better today.  Oh, what’s another night!

Cheers to 2021!

Signing Off for Science

*Veisalgia is the medical term for a hangover.  It is derived from the Norwegian kveis meaning “uneasiness following excessive indulgence” and the Greek -algia meaning “pain.”

[Photo credit: Mike Nath]