Making the Best of an Existential Hangover


Friday night was so much fun that my Saturday hangover made me question life. Drinking too much makes me sick in all sorts of ways. It's not just in my head or in my gut, it's in my mind. I'm left with trying to find a silver lining in ruining my weekend.

I was searching for signs and the first thing I came across was a tweet from a fan account for Banksy (@therealbanksy) that said "This might be the best thing you'll ever read on the Internet":

"Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course? Each of us has such a bank. Its name is time. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against 'tomorrow.' You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success. The clock is running. Make the most of today."

Tough advice to take when my head was pounding and all my guts craved was greasy food. The thrill of imagining money was exhilarating, though, until halfway through the paragraph, the switch is made. Money is something that can always be made. Time, on the other hand, is not. I had to swallow my pride, I had spent several thousand seconds already trying to gather my wits.

I went looking for the author of the quote and instead found a Facebook post. And then below that, someone commented with this gem: "Drinking is like borrowing happiness from tomorrow."

Ouch. No escape.

Of course, life isn't all sanitary, sober fun. Sometimes, you need to make mistakes. Sometimes, you get hurt. But that's a justification my throbbing brain has trouble understanding. I kick myself for making the decision to ruin a perfectly good day. Somehow the vision of this being my last day on Earth creeps into my head and I'm even sicker with remorse, expecting if I survive, I'll rapidly deteriorate into a fat, drunken slob that amounts to nothing. My obituary would put readers to sleep.

Harsh? Maybe.

What I really want for my life is to live like Jack London's "Credo":

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

I ended up filling my stomach with greasy food, hoping rushes of dopamine could combat the hangover pains. A sausage omelet, home fries and coffee from Doral's Donut Shop for breakfast. A slice of pizza and fountain root beer for lunch. And pineapple fried rice from 3E Thai for dinner.

Beyond the Banksy tweet and the London credo, I needed to find a lesson, so I searched for someone more modern to guide me. It was only a short leap to social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk. I like his ferocious enthusiasm. He has a take-no-prisoners attitude to getting shit done and if he hasn't heard about the 86,400 seconds in his day, I'd be surprised. Vaynerchuk's "Credo" would be The Most Important Word. I hate to spoil it but Vayner's most important word is "hustle". Vaynerchuk is all about achievement. He is striving to top himself. And he warns at the end of the video that while some people are partying, he is hustling. And there is no other way.

But I don't buy it.

Was Friday night worth it? It's hard to say, I don't remember everything. I blacked out. It happens.

Was Friday night a blessing in disguise? Could be. There is some truth to both sides. Vaynerchuk's Hustle and Friday night Fun can coexist as long as you make everything count. Make it worth it. I believe you can learn something from everything. 

Glued to the couch, I continued to try. I flipped on YouTube and found gold. Ali Siddiq left me captivated after he told a hilarious story about going to prison on the Comedy Central series This is Not Happening. "Prison is an odd place because you do not know the rules," Siddiq starts, slowly taking us through his confusing quest to find the mysterious C.C., buy a knife, and survive a prison riot. 

I like it because it's a microcosm of life at large. You're working to figure your way out. You need to define the slang along the way, like Siddiq did with the phrase, "The Mexican got on boots." You need to find friends, that's clear enough. And you need to learn some lessons, even if it comes at the cost of being cut.

And as if by serendipity to cap off the weekend, I stumbled on a new blog entry from psychedelic explorer, entrepreneur, and writer Aubrey Marcus entitled "Leave a bite for the gods". Marcus' idea is that practicing restrain from gorging on all the pleasures of life could make for a more healthy and conscious world. There is no medal or reward for finishing a full meal, despite what some television shows will make you think. And if there is more than enough on your metaphorical plate, you should be able to appreciate your limits. 

When it came down to it, there was nothing left for the gods on Saturday, food or thought. But if I'm lucky enough to have it, there will be tomorrow. And I shall use my time, one experience stronger.