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A fellow Forest Parker referred to our upcoming Summerfest celebration as “Get Drunk on Madison Day.” Let’s hope that’s not the case. We don’t want our streets overrun with reckless, uninhibited behavior. Plus, the next day Forest Park would be Hangover City.

I just finished reading an exhaustive study of hangovers written by Joan Acocella in her article “A Few to Many.” Hangovers are completely preventable but have been plaguing mankind since the first sip.

Early humans manufactured beer even before they invented agriculture. In fact, Egyptians brewed a selection of 17 different beers-enough to make a sports bar envious.

Some of the Egyptians chugged too many brews and described their condition the next day as “still drunk.” Every country developed a pet term for hangovers: the French call it “hair ache,” Salvadorans feel like they’re “made of rubber” and Danes are tormented by “carpenters in the forehead.”

There are many ways to prevent a hangover-abstinence seems to work pretty well. For those who insist on imbibing though, eating a heavy meal beforehand and drinking water before each drink lessens the pain. If the hangover does take hold, there are many pharmaceutical products on the market that promise relief.

The most extreme cure for a hangover is drinking the next morning. Acocella explains that the “hair of the dog” returns the body to the light work of processing ethanol, instead of the heavy lifting of breaking down methanol. Methanol gives us those flu-like symptoms that include overall body ache.

Hangovers are not just the result of too much alcohol, but drinking the wrong kind. Some drinks contain more toxins than others, with vodka being the lowest in impurities. So far, there haven’t been any scientific breakthroughs in hangover cures, because it’s difficult to get grant money for getting a group of people drunk. Yet, hangovers are a serious public health issue. It’s estimated that they cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars in poor, or non-existent, job performance.

I would not volunteer to be a subject of a hangover experiment. Especially if it meant joining the control group that stops at Denny’s at 3 a.m. The Grand Slam cure works, by the way, because it gets the body off methanol processing and focuses it on hash browns.

I think the best way to avoid a hangover is not to get caught up in the fatal thinking that, “I feel so good, another one will make me feel even better.” We must always look ahead to the next day because we don’t want to wake up on June 7, or any morning, with carpenters in the forehead.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.