Saturday, March 20, 2004

Oh, the agony...

I once read somewhere that women don't remember the pain of childbirth. Supposedly, this is nature's way of ensuring that they will go through the whole process again and our dominant species will continue to pillage and plunder its way across the face of this great blue marble. Nifty little trick, don't you think?

Well, just the other day, as I sat at my tiny little desk in my tiny little office, suffering the effects of the previous night's alcohol-induced escapades and wondering why I put myself through this torture, it hit me. Maybe Mother Nature doesn't reserve this "Now you remember it, now you don't" routine for our life-givers, our childbearers... Perhaps she also smiles upon this hapless imbiber of spirits, allowing me to revel in my stupidity, free of the fear of what the morning will bring. Blocked from my mind are the hours spent in head-pounding agony as my body shivers uncontrollably from what must be my insides attempting to become my outsides... Gone, too, are the memories of the waves of nausea that banish all thoughts of food, bring me to my knees, and leave me as weak as a kitten. Most of all, completely forgotten are my countless past pledges to "never drink again".

Not that I don't remember ever having a hangover, mind you. But even as I write about the terrible trials and tribulations brought on by a night of excess, I feel a certain detachment. I know I suffered these things, but I don't remember the actual suffering to be all that bad. Interesting... Perhaps there is more to this connection with bringing a child into the world...

Most certainly, hangovers and childbirth share similar origins as both begin with very pleasurable and exciting events. These events tend to make the participants lose themselves in the moment with much giggling, funny faces, and proclamations of, "I love you". Quite often, people will even achieve new levels of boldness, saying or doing things they would normally be too embarrassed to consider. And, ultimately, the end arrives with an uncontrollable and undeniable urge to sleep. It should be noted, however, that one of these events is traditionally shared between two people, while the other can involve as many people as the venue will support. Which is which would depend upon your lifestyle, I suppose...

Now, here is where the differences begin to surface. Although both will spend some time huddled over a toilet bowl, an expecting mother has the better part of nine months to prepare for her big day, while the drunk has mere hours... hours which are typically spent sleeping instead of preparing. The mom-to-be is out taking Lamaze classes, eating healthy, and arranging which hospital to use. The drunk, on the other hand, is drooling away his last few ounces of moisture in a bed that tips and spins like some evil carnival ride, without a single thought for how to deal with what awaits him. She enters childbirth with excitement and anticipation, surrounded by loved ones. He awakens to find himself already in the midst of his personal hell, with no one there to make it better.

And, when all is said and done, Mom will be pampered and loved. She will be told to rest. Gifts and flowers will be lavished upon her, as will words of congratulations. As for our other guy, well... He'll have to drag his dying body out of bed and off to work. There, he'll not only have to endure the longest hours of his life, but also all the ridicule and mocking his co-workers can throw at him. Still, just as the memory of childbirth will fade, so will the memory of his pain. And they are both likely to go through the whole thing again...

So, in the end, is there a "bigger connection" between childbirth and hangovers as this blog would seem to suggest? Have I stumbled across some greater truth that will bridge the gap between the sexes? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, if this blog proves anything, it's this: Drinking kills brain cells.

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