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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Don't Forget the Metaphysical Hangover

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 2:27 PM


I've been reading Kingsley Amis, the famously drunk famous British author, now famously dead. Amongst his essays about booze, liquor, drinking, mixing drinks, drinking while writing, and drinking while making more drinks, there is a fine essay about the care and handling of hangovers.

The advice for the physical hangover is the usual stuff: Hair of the dog, vigorous sex, water (and lots of it). However, he also addresses the metaphysical hangover—the portion of the hangover which I have always neglected. What is it?

"...That ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future..."

You know the drill. So when the "morning" dim creeps through your curtains tomorrow, you must first look towards curing your physical hangover, but don't forget the metaphysical hangover.

According to Amis, the first step is to remind yourself that what you are experiencing is a hangover. You are not, in fact, a bad person. It will all be alright. You're not dying, and no-one really hates you.

Now in order to truly tackle the metaphysical hangover, says Amis, " must feel worse emotionally before you start to feel better. A good cry is the initial aim."

Amis recommends a course of reading or listening to help matters, but aside from Paradise Lost it's unlikely you'll have his recommendations handy. The same goes for music. But the basic gist is to start out with something really depressing, then switch to something "that suggests there may be some point to living after all,"—like war poems, according to Amis. Then, to distract yourself from yourself move on to action, and finally, comedy.

I personally think this can be done with just about anything. I'd recommend doing it with film. Why not try something like "Requiem for a Dream," followed by "Rudy," then "Star Wars," and finally "The Big Lebowski." Done and done. Hell, I'm feeling better just reading that list.

Check out this article and give me your suggestions for curing that metaphysical hangover.

Thanks to Sarah, Ned, Erik and Ezra for the assist.

On Topic...


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