Raymond's Secret Hang-Over Cure
If the Truth be Told,
this personal commentary is the truth—everything and everyone is in this piece is the truth. This happened to me in 1979 during one of my Drinking Nights and a night that I wish that I had an eraser to do away with it. Hangovers, I learned, are God’s ways to stop, seriously do some deep, soul-searching about why I find myself aching all over and sick as a dog every Sunday morning from abusing alcohol which makes fools out of people such as myself. (Kenneth).
In Hard Drinking Circles
there are two divisions: The Social Sippers of choice suds or spirits. Then you have the Guzzlers, who, like me in the years of 1979 through 1990, abused every brand of brew—American, German, and Dutch; Tennessee whiskey; Home brew that I bought from a moonshiner who was going to prison; Boot-legged beer and liquor and a few crystal glasses of wine when I was forced to attend a company get-together, which in my Days of Drinking, was nothing more than an excuse to get a shower, dress-up in Sunday clothes and drink your limit of whatever alcohol was available. I loved drinking so much that my gang of friends would refer to me as “Funnel.”
Such company-based events (where alcohol flowed like free alcohol) like this were staged in my area who were about to prove how much their employees meant to them. The event was nick-named, “Fancy Balls” which was a nice way of saying, shower-off, dress-up, and fall down drunk for FREE. But these sharp-minded companies seldom gave their employees a hand shake and raise when a case of beer a several bottles of whiskey would do the trick.
Then there were the Good Ol’Boy Parties with lively entertainment: watching important College and NFL Play-off Games; Listening to a buddy’s newly-formed Country Rock band and just getting together to drink until you met the floor. Enough of these things got old quickly. When you suffer enough death-like hangover’s, it’s in those lonesome Sunday mornings between the time you come to yourself—head splitting like an angry man has used a sharp axe to cut your insides that hurt so much, that you begin to face a number of cold realities. These realities are wise. And know how to get your attention. The wiser people will stop, think, and give way to change. Remember those “Stop, Drop, and Roll” films that the Federal Defense Dept. and Civil Defense used to put a nation-wide scare into citizens to beware of the A-Bomb—which did serve to sell a lot of Homemade Bomb Shelters? A person who abuses alcohol every night, weekend, and every opportunity that arises is a lot more dangerous than these classic Public Service Announcements.
I would bet that “the” most-feared, heard, and powerful of the Cold Realities is: Abusing Alcohol will lead to Painful Consequences. To a Green Hand Drinker, this reality will take from one to three really hard drunks until the person opens their eyes, makes necessary apologies, pays for damages done by their car, buying these people a new pet for you running over their pet hog, and telling the man whom you and your family are renting his house, how sorry you are, and why you had to go to the doctor last Saturday night with a mysterious Case of Chinese Flu.
The Green Hand Drunk will try to do better when they find wisdom. The stubborn Green Hand Drunk will live through several Degrees of Drunkenness—and live through several hangover’s, divorce papers being filed and given to this type of drunk and continue to booze it up. The following is an unspoken Rule of Drinking: If you get drunk, you can sing, dance, tell jokes to friends, and then eat a good meal and hit the bed. You will feel better the next morning and wake up in your own bed, but the Stubborn Green Hand Drunk will get drunk and with every beer or stiff drink, elevate the Degree of Drunkenness to such a level that he/she may black out leaving friends and family to carry them home to sleep it off—and many times, this Green Hand Stubborn Drunk who will not hear a wise person try to help them, will get Drunk over all of the Danger Levels, pass out and wake up in some stranger’s front yard with their dog, “Johnny” licking him in the face.
Another sign that the Green Hand Stubborn Drunk can tell when he/she has had enough booze . .... .is if this person tries and tries to talk and fails miserably, it is time for this person to go home in a cab.
I have said all of this aforementioned for One Person: The Young People who are Thinking About Getting Drunk. No one else. Just these Young People. If you, by yourself, have imagined how “cool” it would be for you to drink, DON’T. Somehow, this old tool by old Peer Pressure Jockeys have adapted to see how many young Americans can start sipping a beer at an Adolescent Party, (but with NO kissing), so listen carefully . . .Leave the Cigarettes, Suds, and Liquor BE. Wait until you are a full-grown adult—and that means “grown” mentally as well as physically, able to discern wisdom and stupidity. Smoking tobacco and “weed” is NEVER going to be cool or wise. I do not care what or whom has tried to poison your thinking about these dangerous substances in our lives.
If you abuse alcohol and abuse it frequently, guess what? You are setting yourself up to be a card-carrying Alcoholic, which means you have to drink to get through one day. Your body, if you abuse booze enough, will be conditioned for that Alcoholic Craving made there by alcohol given to you by a gang of jerks. Some adults can be counted as jerks for being so sensitive that they do not want you to be angry for them telling you to leave Booze alone. Be mad, youngsters. Angry as a wild bull. You will grow out of it.
And no matter how wise you grow, three things remain Stupid and always will be Stupid: Nicotine, Marijuana and Heroine. Leave these three ALONE. I know. You don’t want to say, “just say no,” like Nancy Reagan, in the 80s, but that had a good spin on it. Do you really think you can abuse These Stupid Three Poisons? NO. Let me be bold enough to tell you the truth . . .abusing These Three Poisons as well as Alcohol will lead to YOUR death.
Now for a quick story about my late Uncle Raymond.
One Saturday night in a summer of drinking cold Budweiser and listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s last live album recorded in the old Fox Theater in Atlanta, Ga.., I got severely drunk that Saturday night but I did not drive my car because I was at home and I made a wise decision to just turn off my turntable and hit the sack. I did this due to my wife spending time with her cousin, Linda, who was visiting from Louisiana and they wanted to have some “Girl Talk,” so I waved at them, smiled, and crashed into our bed.
I thought as I was passing out to sleep, what a wise man I was for not trying to drive in this condition. That was my last thought until the next thing that I knew: Sunday at 10 am., and the sun was up, hot, and I was beginning to be sick at my stomach. Funny. I thought that a severe hangover was only about a headache. Shows just how stupid I was in the Getting Buzzed Dept.
Now granted, this was in 1978, and my friends all drank and drank heavy. Not for job stress or other problems, it was just the thing to do. Even most of my classmates in high school drank after school, during the night, the next day at school and most of them ended up being alcoholics. There’s that word again, young people, if you are reading this.
Before I got my first cup of black coffee . . .I had “that” urge of hugging my commode, which I had been told is what someone with a hangover does the next day . . .so there I sat—hugging the commode until . . .my body became entangled in many ways; my insides felt as if they were on the top of my feet I cramped and cramped. I had become a hung-over Contortionist--and I knew that I was going to die. You’ve been there, adults who abused alcohol and wised up.
I gathered myself and tried to stand. Okay. So far, so good. Then I washed my face with cold water and if you have ever been in this condition, this will not sober you up, but make you hurt inside and out. But I did not let my sickness be known for I knew ahead of time what my wife would say, you did this to yourself, now live with it. I wobbled down our hallway and there I found my wife and Linda laughing and having a joyous Sunday morning—I smiled the best I could and got a cup of black coffee and sat down with them. My wife asked if I was okay, and I quickly said yes. I feel okay. That was the shortest conversation that she and I had ever had.
She and Linda were going to my wife’s parents’ home and they invited me to go with them. Why not, I thought. I am out of beer, so getting out of the house might be a great way to kill a Sunday and give me time for my insides to heal. Fact: any severe drinker will tell you that in the next morning after you have drank more than you should, it will take most of one day for you to feel better.
On the way to my wife’s parents’ home, I felt sick again due to something called Dry Heaves, a very painful condition of the body trying to get alcohol poisons from the body and with nothing in the stomach, a severe drinker will heave and heave and eventually pass out. I didn’t pass out, but I was really praying to myself that I could pass out to get from this sickness.
When we arrived at my wife’s parents’ home, there was the usual genuflecting and my wife’s parents both knew from how I looked—pale and sick looking that I was about to die, so her dad, who was very familiar with drinking whiskey with his brothers when they were boys and drank on a Saturday night from working in the fields of corn and cotton like a dog. He had been there.
I laid down on someone’s bed, I didn’t ask whose it belonged to, but thank God, no one was sleeping in the bed, for as soon as I relaxed and ready to get a nap, I heard my name being called from the bedroom door . . .
“Kennnnnny, you here?” a man’s voice said.
“Uhhh, Kennny! I said, you in here?” the man’s voice said again.
“Yes, I am here. Ohhhh, hi, Raymond. How are you?” I asked barely conscious.
I want to tell you a little background about uncle Raymond. The man’s voice was that of (one of) my wife’s uncles, Raymond Winsett, who lived alone since his wife had passed away and you would have had to know Raymond to understand him. Raymond was humble hearted, would help anyone, and loved to pick his guitar. But prior to his guitar-picking, his wife would always scold him and chastise him for picking his guitar for it got on her nerves, so Raymond, the obedient husband, would not pick up the guitar when she was at home.
Raymond liked money, but hated the idea of spending money foolishly. Even some of the things that he confided me in me when I first met him, told me to watch my wallet and do not buy your wife everything she wants or otherwise, you will get deep in debt and then you will work like a dog to catch up and if you fail, you face starving to death. Those, Raymond said, are the Real Rules of Life.
Raymond had two other “loves”: growing tobacco and playing his guitar. I can testify to you that yeas ago, he shared some of his home-grown tobacco with me at one Thanksgiving dinner and the tobacco was so strong that my head swam. But I never told Raymond. He would have given a ten-dollar bill to laugh at me as I chewed his tobacco. It wasn’t bad. Just strong. But Raymond had his own way of doing things and I learned that about him and loved him for being a real man.
His late wife was in charge of everything—their Social Security checks; household budget; foods that she let him eat and so forth. I witnessed him being told off by her and his family at a reunion and this man who never knew anything, but work, only hung his head and kept his tongue in place. I did not care for how she treated him and the day that she passed away, I did not shed one tear. In fact, even Raymond was happy about being alone.
I asked him one time,”since you are a bachelor now, are you going to look for another woman?”
“NO!,” he almost shouted. “cost too much to feed another one,” he added and grinned.
But he did not wake me up on that painful, sick Sunday afternoon, he told me that a man had told him about some night club in Florence, Alabama, that Raymond was supposed to go there and take over as the manager.
News like this took my mind off of my head and stomach. I had to ask, “Raymond, buddy. Who was the man who told you about this nightclub and being the manager?”
“Randy Owen,” Raymond said very sternly.
“Randy Owen? The lead singer for Alabama?” I said almost laughing.
“Raymond?! Uhhh, now you aren’t pulling my leg are you? Randy Owen, here in Hamilton?” I continued to ask.
“Nooo, not in Hamilton, “Raymond said. “up there in Florence last week.”
I didn’t let on at his obvious bragging. I didn’t use lie since I found out later that he was not driving in Florence or any of the bigger towns outside of Hamilton where he lived. Someone in my wife’s family had told him how dangerous it was to drive in big cities and he took it to heart and just drove inside of Hamilton.
For the next hour or so, Raymond told me and kept repeating the Randy Owen nightclub tale so much so that I almost cried, not for the hangover sickness, but for being made mad from hearing the same thing over and over with him sitting on the edge of the bed smiling and showing his nicotine-colored teeth and when he finished the one tale, he would start it all over again and without missing one word.
By the time that three hours had went by, the hangover sick stomach was gone, headache had vanished and my eyes were bright. Raymond somehow knew that I was suffering from Alcohol Abuse the night before and went on about being the manager of a nightclub in Florence.
I was not raised to call anyone a liar, especially if the person talking to you has a story that causes you to grow suspicious. Raymond did not have a track record of telling lies. But Randy Owen, I kept asking myself. What was I to do or say at this point?
I smiled, shook hands with Raymond and with my hangover over with, said, “Raymond, my friend, you be sure to get someone to take you to your nightclub and back when you close up—but you are not to drive way up there in Florence. Okay?”
“I won’t, Kenny. I’ve already got someone to take care of that,” he said.
“Oh really. Who might it be, Raymond? George Jones?” I said just having fun with him.
“No Kenny. That would be very foolish. I got Randy Owen,” Raymond replied with his face straight.
How could I challenge him about Owen, and his Secret Hangover Cure?
© 2018 Kenneth Avery