The Hangover to End All

February is an annoying month for those who hate Valentine’s Day and could use days 29-31 to come up with something to blog about. Up against the shot clock with no ideas, I woke up Saturday thinking maybe I should instigate a disagreement with my wife or drink really hard to aid in some content creation.

I ended up deep in the latter route and blacked out. Bro so hard, which is a risky proposition when you’re not with your bros but with coworkers. Some lines were blurred when I aggressively recruited two new bros across professional boundaries and suggested we get a sweet hotel room in Oxnard one weekend and “just love on each other.”

Thus my day devolved into the familiar progression of hitting on a lot of people, interrupting a friend of a friend’s date at a nice sushi restaurant ad nauseam, dropping noodles into my mouth with my hand like an arcade claw machine at said nice sushi restaurant, and lying in bed at 3 in the morning thinking about suicide.

That last part is worth examination because it’s been happening more often when I come down from the insane high of binge drinking. I suffer from spectacularly intense emotional hangovers. I don’t know if it’s a manifestation of hating myself underneath a lot of false bravado, or life randomly toggling between being really beautiful and really meaningless, or dealing with the uncertainty of an incomplete memory, or what.

My thoughts in the predawn hours today focused on the act of killing myself rather than weighing the merits. Sometimes I sense this imagined pressure between my temples, and putting a bullet through that space seems like it would somehow release it and feel good. I kept thinking about this and visualizing while periodically rolling over to cuddle my wife.

Is that weird? Am I the only one? Am I over-sharing? It makes me feel better. Dave Eggers dropped this extraordinary line in his book when trying to explain why he talks about deeply personal things. I think it was in italics: Sharing dilutes the suffering.

I was getting these acute emotional pangs that would build to a crescendo. At the peak, just when I couldn’t take it anymore, a 1-second urge to cry blitzed my mind, then thoughts of a bullet entering to relieve. Then I would abruptly snap out of it and down to a lower level of angst, as if I actually did take a bullet. Then it would start building up again. This went on until the sun came up, although I later fell back asleep.

My imagination grazed some other suicide methods, namely hanging myself and having my head crushed with a baseball bat. These were not as thought out as the gun, but assumed to produce the same pressure-releasing tranquility. I wasn’t sure what would serve as the noose or who would be swinging the bat. It might just be the byproduct of watching six and a half seasons of The Walking Dead in three months.

I’m intrigued how this would play out if I owned a gun. I couldn’t possibly hold one while in this bizarre state, right? That would be dangerous because everybody gets tired of deliberating sometimes and just impulsively makes the decision, if only to stop having to think about it.

I wonder if this is why people take prescription drugs, which certainly would be overkill in my case. Unsalted chicken, unseasoned broccoli and unrelenting exercise gradually bring me back to equilibrium. Plus this is very avoidable. Just don’t drink too much.

Perhaps the problem is not the absolute level of depression that alcohol might leave me at, but rather the delta between start and finish. When I drink I feel on top of the world, so even a return to normalcy is a steep drop.

Earlier this month at a destination wedding trip in Mexico, I was boozing moderately at a huge packed nightclub called Coco Bongo. Pretty girls were ushered up a staircase behind the stage to dance on an elevated perch, front and center to thousands of partiers.

The stage manager asked if I would go up to dance to “Gangnam Style.” That was probably slightly racist, but if someone rings my bell, I am generally going to answer it. I didn’t know the signature dance except the lasso part, so I just started gyrating sexily and stripping. People were cheering and wanted it, although my wife later told me she was the one voice screaming NO. The last time I did this on a rock at a pool party in Vegas, I was escorted out by security.

This time the brilliant production staff somehow shut off the lights each time I pulled down my underwear. It turned into this beautifully executed sort of choreography, and they even provided me a wardrobe change with a flashy jacket and glasses after I lost my shirt, or rather, decided it would be best used as a pony and sawing front to back underneath my crotch.

I was a rock star. Women wanted to sleep with me, and men wanted to be me, or maybe vice versa because of the manner in which I was dancing. That is how I feel when I drink, as if Leo himself were holding up my arms on the bow of the Titanic. And then I sink to these incredible depths that I never could have touched during sobriety. I literally want to die.

Overall the manic is not worth the depressive, which is why you usually will find me in the midst of an extended period of zero-sip abstinence. Moderation, of course, is always that elusive silver bullet.



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