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Hanging Over

2016 Election poster with aspirin.

Well, It’s finally over. And history has been made.

Yes, it’s true. The Cubs have won the World Series.

Oh wait, that was last week. This week it was the election.

On Tuesday I anxiously stayed up way past my bedtime only to pass out and wake up the next morning surprised to learn that Donald Trump had secured the presidency and the pollsters and the endless parade of political pundits I had been subjected to for so long had got it all wrong.

I also learned unexpectedly that as a college-educated white male I had an unwitting demographic role to play in Hillary Clinton’s failed bid to the White House. Frankly, I am not sure what I learned in college that separates me from my non-college-educated white male brethren where it comes to presidential elections, but there it is.

Of course there is a strong possibility that what has been explained to us by pollsters and political analysts is completely wrong.

But at long last it’s over. And given all that the country has endured during this extremely long, drawn-out, and contentious election cycle, I believe it is time to address something far more important now that we have reached the end.

Hangovers.

Being a college educated white male I learned a thing or two about hangovers at school. I learned they are not pleasant and I learned after suffering miserably through the second one that I didn’t really learn anything from suffering through the first one.

This may be why I am considered an important demographic associated with losing presidential candidates.

Mirriam-Webster defines a hangover as
1. something (as a surviving custom) that remains from what is past; and
2. disagreeable physical effects following heavy consumption of alcohol.

The bad news here, as I learned this week, is that you don’t have to drink alcohol to experience a hangover. The really bad news is that, according to medical experts, there is also no real cure.

Of course we can always hope that medical hangover experts are right up there with pollsters in terms of credibility.

Medically a hangover is nothing more than a series of uncomfortable symptoms brought on by a night of heavy drinking or, in my case, endless election coverage. Hangover sufferers typically feel like there is a cement mixer parked inside their craniums and may feel nauseous, dizzy, or confused. Sufferers may additionally wake up the next morning with tattoos or unexplained body piercings and feel anxiety, regret, or shame.

Which would explain the ring in my nose.

Hangover experts claim the best way to avoid a hangover is to drink in moderation. That may be fine for Mirriam-Webster number 2, but does little to avoid what we are all experiencing after months of bellying up to the election bar.

Personally I have always been a big proponent of “hair of the dog” remedies for hangovers. Such remedies are strongly discouraged by experts, but a saucy Bloody Mary does wonders for softening “morning after” headaches. Unfortunately, a taste of what bit you does little for election hangovers. The last thing I want to do now is turn on CNN or Fox News.

Although it sounds counterintuitive, it is possible that the best way to stave off the effects of an over-indulgent election season hangover is to drink a lot. It may still leave you with a massive headache in the morning, but a shot of whiskey is far more enjoyable than watching more election coverage.

Many claim that exercise is another way to mitigate the aches and pains of party excess—among Republicans and Democrats alike. But this is also a myth. Sweating just continues dehydration and can make a hangover worse.

Still, on Tuesday a lot of people exercised their right to vote and felt much better for the experience.

In a democracy such as ours, this is as it should be. But a lot of people are sweating bullets right now and wishing they could jog back to their polling sites and vote one more time to make themselves feel just a little better.

Obviously, the purest way to avoid a hangover is to drink nothing at all. Excessive alcohol consumption over time poisons the body and can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, stomach, and heart. In contrast, chronic election consumption is far less corrosive to the body, but will over time severely impact your ability to socialize courteously with others at parties, particularly when the party isn’t yours.

The good news about hangovers is that they are generally short-lived, even election hangovers. In about twenty four hours, after a good night’s sleep, we will become alert and ready to unite and get on with directing our futures again.

And before we know it our discomfort will be forgotten and we will be drowned once again in midterm elections.

That’s OK. Because despite my election hangover, I would rather live in a country that banned drinking than one that banned voting.