'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THIS YOUTH WAS WASTED (ON THE YOUNG)
The other day I woke up with a wicked hangover. No, donít be alarmed. I didnít fall of the wagon and start drinking again after being clean and sober for 25 years. The hangover I experiencedócomplete with pounding headache, cotton-mouth, and a queasy stomachówas caused by a lack of sleep.
For the first time in ages I stayed up well past midnight, and when I woke up at about 6 a.m. the next morning, I thought for a minute I was back in college. But then I realized I wasnít back in college because my head was laying on a pillow and not welded to the tile floor of a fraternity house basement by a sticky film of stale beer. Also, I knew I wasnít back in college because my head was pounding much more painfully than it ever did back then. (To be fair, the face-welded-to-the-floor adventures didnít happen all that frequently. Just every Saturday and Sunday morning from September 1975 thru May 1979.)
Another reason I knew I wasnít back in college was the fact it was 6 a.m. In college, 6 a.m. was my bedtimeóor floor time, depending upon which day of the week it was.
Back when I was in my early 20s, I could recover rather quickly from a night of indulging in all kinds of substances, those which were legal, such as beer; those which were illegal, such as, um, let me check the statute of limitations and Iíll get back to you; and those which were simply insane, such as a large bowl of five-alarm jalapeno chili topped with Tabasco sauce, tequila, and a dash of napalm.
Yes, back in those days when I finally woke up at the crack of noon, after carefully peeling my cheek away from the tile floor so as not to leave any skin behind, I admit my head was hurting a bit. But after a couple of breakfast beers I usually felt fine again. Within a hour or so I would be off playing pick-up basketball games or playing five sets of tennis. The effects of any hangover were long gone.
Now, if I miss my usual bedtime by a couple of hours, for the next three days I feel like I have the flu. To coin a phrase which Iím sure has never been used before: Whatís up with that?
Itís amazing what a healthy young body can endure. Back then, I didnít think it was a big deal. This is how I thought about the situation: OK, I poisoned myself to the brink of death last night, then jumped up off the floor and went out and played hoops for three hours. So what are we going to do for fun tonight?
Too bad I wasnít able to set aside some of my excess energy from those days. It would come in real handy right about now. To coin a phrase which Iím sure has never been used before: Youth is wasted on the young.
I doubt the answer to my present day lack-of-sleep hangovers is to start partying again. Even if drinking heavily again today did not produce much pain, I suspect Iíd still experience major discomfort, in the form of a ball-peen hammer applied with gusto to the back of my head by my darling wife.
So maybe the next time I stay up too late, instead of sleeping in my bed, I should sleep on the tile floor in my basement. Maybe Iíll feel better the next morning. With my 53-year-old back and hips, what could possibly go wrong?
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