It’s Friday night. You’re 22 years old. You have little to no responsibilities, some money in your pocket from your paycheck, and a bunch of friends in a similar situation. You meet a few of them at the local bar for a few beers. Just a few, to take the edge off and kill some time while you decide what to do with the night.
The next thing you know, it’s 11 am, and your head is pounding with your heartbeat. Your stomach feels queasy. You’re covered in a mist of sweat, although somehow, you’re mildly chilly. The neighbor’s lawnmower is boring into your head in such a way that you begin to wonder if a hive of bees might have taken up residence in your ear sometime over the last few hours. You reach for the bottle of water next to bed, feeling the world dive around you as if it was pivoting on an axis. You feel the cool water roll down your throat, into your stomach, and come to rest in a sloshing puddle.
Before you know what’s happening, you’re running for the bathroom. That water wants out, and it refuses to wait. In a flash you find yourself on your knees, your body convulsing. That water you drank making its glorious return to the outside world. Along with it comes the rest of the contents of your stomach. You briefly ponder the lettuce and sesame seeds floating in front of you when the next wave hits. A distant memory of late-night fast food flashes across your mind.
As you sit there, your head aching, your stomach reeling, and your body sweating, you begin to recall the night before. Beer. Then shots. More beer. More shots. Ugh. You lay your head on the toilet seat and utter those familiar words.
“I’m never drinking again.”
You sleep most of Saturday away and wake up around four. You guzzle water to slake your seemingly endless thirst. You pop a few OTC pain relievers and nap again on the couch in front of the TV. By the time the Ten O’clock News comes on, you’re finally feeling better. Your phone rings. A jocular voice on the other end of the line is talking about going to the bar. You consider the day’s events. The way you woke up. The regret. The sweat and nausea and pounding headache. You grab your coat. A cold beer sounds pretty good after such a rough day.
The thing is, most Americans have experienced this. Most Americans have done this. Most Americans grew out of this cycle of self-abuse and went on to lead productive responsible lives. Most Americans.
Some still live it.
Sure, the alcohol may have given way to something less volatile. Shots were traded for a single glass of wine. Beer consumption was more strictly monitored. Healthier eating habits replaced late-night fast food runs. Some things never change though. We, humans, are creatures of habit. Our thought process is surprisingly simple. Behavior like this doesn’t go away, it merely changes form. We display the same binge behavior in other areas of our lives.
For instance, our political leanings. Some Americans do not adhere to the notion that you’re either a Republican or a Democrat. These undecided voters show up on the polls in every election cycle. They sit on the fence until the very end, and then cast their votes based on whatever criteria they deem reasonable, and have a profound impact on the elections.
Those on the fence when President Trump was seeking reelection are said to have been the deciding factor in the outcome. ( I won’t waste my breath questioning those results.) Those undecided voters cited President Trump’s handling of the Coronavirus as the deciding criteria. Again, I won’t waste my breath. It’s too late to change much now.
Now the election is over, Sleepy Joe is in office, and the dismantling of the country is in full swing. The country is digging itself into debt. The job market is a joke. A gun grab is imminent. Our rights are being eroded. The border wall is a memory. Gas prices are skyrocketing and bringing the cost of goods and services with it. Food prices are up. International affairs have the US squaring off against China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. In short, it’s a mess.
The hangover is upon us. Vague memories of the good times are just that, a memory. That pounding head, queasy stomach, and body sweat? That’s just the price you pay for bad decisions. Hopefully, Americans can grow up a bit before the next election. So drink some water, pop some aspirin, and rest up. Your buddy will be calling again soon.