Tock-sick aclockalypse: When a hangover meets daylight savings
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I woke up wanting a word. Truth is, I needed an aspirin, and maybe a packet of Twisties. Anything to ease the low-watt headache, the nausea, the vertigo. Okay, if you must know, I had a hangover, my post-party blues direr for every household clock jumping forward, stealing the day I’d already lost to excess.
Was there a word for such a combo: the grog blahs plus daylight savings? Asking for a friend, of course. Online responses flowed like my orange Gatorade at 10, which was now 11. Try tock-sick, said one respondent, or unhappy hour, AM nauseam, deliberate stupidity. German got a run with Zeitspite. Puns too, from aclockalypse to Eastern Bummer Time. Though Carl Sparre won the brainstorm with chronsequences.
For his first 35 years, PG Wodehouse was spared the dreaded clock-leap of spring. The author however did grasp the head-pecking hierarchy of hangovers, devising Bertie Wooster’s impact scale in The Mating Season. As reader Greg Oehm reminded me, the six hangovers in worsening order were the Broken Compass, the Sewing Machine, the Comet, the Atomic, the Cement Mixer and finally the Gremlin Boogie. Last week’s chronsequences lay in the gremlin neighbourhood.
Hangovers are that much worse when you’re already losing an hour of sleep.Credit: Istock
Long term, perhaps my cure lay in NOLO, booze’s new subgenre. Immersed in pubs and parties, most of us heed the FOMO creed, joining the merry band with a few glasses to the good. Yet a growing tribe, in tandem with the non-alcoholic wares, have seen the NOLO movement surge, as well as its slang.
Andy Miller, the Australian co-founder of Heaps Normal, one such low-wallop brew on the shelf, cited a few new phrases in our recent radio chat. “The ghost tinnie is a non-alcohol beer that won’t inspire you to drunk-text your ex, or doesn’t taste like a soapy bucket of carwash water.” Couple that with the camo schooner, a standard glass to smoke-screen the fact you’re not boozing, if peer pressure remains a presence.
As for the non-hangover hangover, a question I posed on air, suggestions ranged from hangunder to soberover, or the NOLO glow to sprangover. Nowadays, thanks to yeast hacks and fermenting techniques, most global brewers are trying their hand at liter litres, allowing for such retooled labels as Guinless, Neineken, Coronah and Budwasser. Or keep watch for James Boagus and Victoria Quitter.
Still, even on a crook day, I’d hate to ditch the legacy of barmy beer words. Even pilsner (or nilsner in this new regime) murmurs its Bohemian origins. The elixir arose in Pilsen, once part of the Austrian empire. Compare that epic yarn to lager, German for warehouse, alluding to early garage experiments to find the ideal potion.
Barmy itself is all about beer, where barm is the curdish froth atop fermenting liquor. As for ale, try Denmark, where øl means beer, tied to the Indo-European root for bitterness. The same source yields alum and aluminium, as well as bridal – or bride-ale, the brew reserved for wedding days, where the nuptial spree to toast the recent union aligned with the revellers’ beer itself.
See what I mean? We can’t afford to throw out the pint with the self-pity. Why lose wassail (echoing the Old Norse toast, ves heill, or “be healthy!“) in the name of a cleaner liver? For all the low-cal, non-alc brews in reach, I’m still game to carouse (a tipsy mumble of gar aus in dialectic German, meaning “quite out”, to mark a drained cup) with the real stuff now and then, so long as those bloody clocks don’t budge.
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