The first hangover I ever had was on June 9, 1976, 44 years ago. Why do I remember? It must be the numerical flow: 6/9/76.
I never drank any alcohol before I was legal, which was 18. Then and now, I thought it was appropriate. Best I can remember, I had my first drink in a bar called Amps on Clinton Street in Binghamton, NY. In my recollection, my sister Leslie’s band Crystal Ship was performing. This took place a few months after my 19th birthday. It was a Tom Collins. Tasty, so I believed.
I went to college that fall, and I had the occasional drink. It was usually a simple concoction, rum and Coke, rye and ginger ale. I’d have a screwdriver, though when I started boycotting orange juice c 1977 because of Anita Byrant, I switched to a greyhound.
My choice of wine was white, or later, rose, because the tannins in red wine gave me a raging headache after one glass. I never acquired a taste for beer, which was a drag. Everyone else at the table in a bar was sharing a pitcher or two, but I’m drinking Something Else. It was also more expensive.
Mike Royko would have been proud
The Okie and I split in late 1974. Soon after I returned to college, I got involved with a student newsletter called the Wind Sun News. It was daily for a short time, then weekly, before it finally reached a thrice-weekly schedule in the spring of 1976. The newsletter came out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, so we worked on it the nights before. Then my friend Bernadette and I would drink every MWF night like I heard real, hard-drinking journalists operated.
Without question, she could outdrink me. One evening I had four mixed drinks – tequila sunrise or maybe daiquiri or white Russian – and she had four double shots of vermouth. I never developed a taste for vermouth or Scotch.
On June 8, we were out drinking again, and I thought I had consumed more than enough. So I switched to ginger ale or maybe 7-Up, and I’m CONVINCED that was the culprit. And the next morning… Oh. My. Goodness.
It was overcast, yet it felt as though there were two suns up at once. For some reason, I had to go to both my savings bank and the place with my checking account. They were at either end of the village, not terribly far apart on most of the time, but the Bataan death march that day.
The worst part was that we had agreed to go horseback riding. There are very few things less pleasant when hung over. Anyway, I remember the only time I took horseback riding lessons, because of that painful convergence.