"Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink." (Isaiah 5:11).

OK, we'll be frank. This hangover idea came after we put out our Election issue and were stuck in that purgatory between then and Election Day. We decided every last one of us would be hungover, literally or figuratively, by the time we survived the campaign, the election, the inevitable polling problems and then the big party afterward. So we decided to do a little advance preparation, figuring that we weren't the only ones who needed hangover help.

Hangover Facts & Fiction

• Women, you might think you can drink any guy under the table, but it's probably best to let them win that competition. Statistically, women do not have the tolerance for alcohol that men do, even when they are the same size. When they grab that sixth beer, it's best to abstain if you don't want to wake up with a headache the next morning. Watching too much Fox News has a similar effect.

• Although still under debate, the cause and mechanism of a hangover seem to involve several factors. Hangover has been suggested to be an early stage of alcohol withdrawal. Acetaldehyde, a breakdown product of alcohol metabolism, plays a role in producing hangover symptoms. Chemicals formed during alcohol processing and maturation known as congeners increase the frequency and severity of hangover. We also believe that lots of campaign ads filled with ex-ag-ge-ra-tions and distortions can do the same thing.

• Liquors such as brandy, wine, tequila, whiskey and other dark liquors containing congeners tend to produce severe hangovers, whereas clear liquors (such as white rum, vodka, and gin) cause hangovers less frequently. As a rule of thumb, the darker a liquor's color, the more congeners it contains. And the more money a campaign collects, the more painful the headache is going to be.

• Eat something before and during alcohol consumption. This slows the absorption of alcohol. Fats and carbohydrates are best for slowing absorption. Sugar intake prevents hangovers. Cakes and pastries are the party food that has lots of all three. Just ask Bill Clinton.

• Don't drink coffee! You might feel like you're helping yourself, but coffee only dehydrates you more. The dehydration of getting drunk actually stimulates the body to absorb water from the brain, which then shrinks a bit. This causes the headaches and a host of other unpleasant morning after effects. Drink water instead, especially before you pass out ... errr go to sleep.

• Don't take Tylenol, either. Acetominophen can cause liver damage and should be avoided if you are a regular, heavy drinker. Aspirin can also contribute to stomach bleeding. So does Dick Cheney.

• Surprisingly, sugar actually helps. Alcohol breaks down sugar stores in the liver that need to be replaced. Without these sugar stores, we often feel lightheaded and weak, so treat yourself to a brownie in the midst of your woe. Or if you're just plain healthier than that, drink some orange juice. It also helps to stay far, far away from neo-cons.

• Moaning in bed won't stop your hangover. Neither will throwing your Mississippi State cowbell at the television, should some DNC attorney show up to tell you why your vote didn't count.

Surefire Remedies

According to the folks at Rainbow Whole Foods, these things will ease your pain:

Milk Thistle
This can be taken every day, especially if you're a smoker or a persistent drinker, to clean toxins out of your system. This "healthy liver" supplement comes in a variety of brands.

Rainbow recommends:
Solarax – 60 tablets for 22.89
Jarrow Formulas, Silymarin 80% - 200 150 mg. Tablets for 18.39
Nature's Way – Thisilyn – Maximum Absorption Formula, Vegetarian Caplets – 100 tablets for 31.39

Emer'gen-C Fizzing Drink Mix
For only 49 cents, you can get 1,000 mg of Vitamin C as seven mineral ascorbates. This re-energizes you the morning after, but you can also mix the packets with water for an energy boost at any time. They come in several flavors: cranberry, orange, tangerine, tropical and lemon-lime. You can also buy a box of 36 packets for $14.99.

This liquid herb should be taken "right before you pass out," Rainbow employee Nicola Luna insists. $9.19

Charcoal Tablets
These will eat away all of the nasty toxins left over from alcohol, but watch out—it will also eat away any prescription drugs in your system. If you're on medication that you actually need, don't take these, too. $8.29

We also suggest lots of yoga, relaxing music, taking time to smell the roses, doing lots of nice things for other people, smoothies from Shakes, trying to find common ground with others and going down to Bay St. Louis as often as possible to stare at the ocean, civic participation, listening to eZra play the sax and doing everything possible to help make Jackson reach her creative potential. Altogether, that's the best cure we can think of to relieve the Big Hangover of 2004. Add your ideas to the JFP blog at jacksonfreepress.com.


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