It's A Dirty Job But...
To continue what seems to be today's theme about dedication to scientific pursuits I offer up this experiment by Stephen Pollard (courtesy of NRO's The Corner) to test the effectiveness of a purported "miracle" hangover cure:
It may not have been intended as a hangover pill, but then Viagra wasn’t originally an impotence pill. It was developed to improve the blood supply to the heart of angina sufferers, and its rather useful side-effect was discovered accidentally. But the number of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction is minuscule compared with the number who get a hangover after drinking — let alone after drinking the copious quantities that I intended to sink.
And indeed he did pursue his quest with gusto. After consuming fourteen glasses of various wines during dinner he decided to "take it to another level" as a friend of mine likes to say:
Years of experience have taught me that nothing guarantees an epic hangover better than port and cigars, so time for a Cuban Cohiba Esplendidos and Taylors 1977. This port is as good as it gets, and I made sure — on your behalf, remember, to push forward the frontiers of knowledge — to have as much as I could. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry; but by this stage I had lost track of the exact amount. I might not get a hangover in the morning, but I am only human. And drunk. Let’s say three glasses for the sake of argument.
Just to be certain of a hangover I retired to the bar, and did the ultimate no-no: mixed wine and spirits, with a welcoming succession of single malts: Glenmorangie, Laphroaig and Bruichladdich.
That's quite a bit of imbibing by anyone's standards. And it wasn't as if he drinking a case Milwaukee's Best either. He was hitting it hard but he was hitting the good stuff. His initial results were very positive:
I woke on Saturday with a clear head and a sense of triumph. It had worked! Never again need days be lost to the after-effects of the night before. The pill was a work of genius, a wonder drug. The world was a better place.
But alas, as so often happens in life his joy was fleeting:
As if. Euripides knew what he was talking about: those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. The worst hangovers are the slow burners — the ones that creep up on you when you think you’ve left the danger behind. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the worst hangover suffered by mankind. The sweating, writhing, barely-conscious lump in coach 9, seat 25, on the 09:56 from Brussels to Waterloo was me. I was barely alive, as one could only reasonably expect after 11 glasses of wine and three each of dessert wine, port and whisky.
Nootropil might work for some people — indeed, my drinking companions all reported excellent results — but it didn’t work for me. Benjamin Franklin wasn’t quite right when he said that “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. He forgot hangovers.
And so ends yet another quest by man to conquer the damnedable hangover. It wasn't the first and most certainly will not be the last. The only sure cure that I've discovered over the years is the old age advice to simply:
"Sleep It Off"