There are as many kinds of hangover as there are types of spiritous beverage, each one belongs purely and wholly to itself, like Puck or Tom Bombadil.

The Ingenue
Like the female lead in a romantic comedy from the 1930s, this hangover inspires you to lead a finer and purer life. Notes of remorse and shame are undercut by a noticeable current of hope for the future. Tomorrow will be better. You will be better. This will never happen again.

The Stranger
What is inside of you there is something wrong inside of you no not like a normal hangover you know what a normal hangover feels like and this isn’t it this is wrong this is very wrong something has gone horribly and irretrievably wrong deep within your body your kidneys are wrong they are swollen and fat and pulsing with poison your veins are wrong someone has swapped out your joints for flexible knives this isn’t your real face this isn’t your face there are demons in your eyes there are demons in your throat this isn’t right this is how every hangover will feel from now on; you are thirty.

The Jilted Lover
It begins with an eerie calm: when you wake up it’s still early, not yet dawn, and you almost fool yourself into thinking that perhaps today is going to be bearable. Perhaps you drink a little water. Perhaps you take yourself on a little walk. The phrase “self-care” may flit across the transom of your bruised and reeling mind. The sunrise banishes all thoughts of escape. Every regret you have ever had will visit you today and also your internet connection will be spotty.

The Madman
Everything is screaming. You are screaming. They are screaming. The hallway to the bathroom is an endless, harrowing shriek. You are dead and have in fact been dead for ten thousand years. You are the ghost of deceased R&B singer Aaliyah, and you live in the desert, where you feast on horseflesh. You are a gorgon. Men speak your name in fear. Women invoke your name in their black midnight fertility rituals. Nothing is real. In a perverse way, this frees you to find your true self, the kind of beast who eats out of the garbage and refuses to brush its teeth. Your true self wants to sleep.

The Chimera
A bit of something from each.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]