Issue 19, Summer 1958
In I952 a rich and lively magazine given to moral teachings and the wonders of science published a “factual study’-’ of the hang over, sub-titling it in block letters A SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS, and sub- sub-titling it (for the immediate relief of drunks and advertisers): “The damage is not real; headache may be due to liver and shakes to remorse; a cure would be worth a fortune.”
With many quotes from reputable doctors who have been doing “alcoholic research” for years, the article stressed the following points:
1. The hangover is a major social and industrial plague, the hidden costs of which “dwarf the ones that show on paper,” and it is growing yearly, unchecked, to gigantic proportions.
2. The hangover is not a major ill. It is a disturbance (italics theirs), never resulting in an injury, “never accompanied by any structural damage, organic change or tissue alteration.”
3. Alcohol itself is perfectly harmless. It cannot be blamed for anything: not for cyrrhosis of the liver, not for delirium tremens, not even for death. What kills you is malnutrition. Drinkers forget to eat. If they ate more, they could drink more. In fact, obesity kills more people than alcohol. People should eat much less.
4. Perhaps allergy causes all the damage. Some drinkers cannot stand the smell of certain liquors.
5. Or perhaps is it talking and laughing and smoking? “The drinker uses up his recources uneconomically. His decreased control leads him to squander his store of energy in unchannelled, unbridled meaningless activities,” instead of concentrating only on drinking.
6. The great problem is not how to prevent the hangover, but how to cure it, so that people may drink more. That is the scientific question which “has preoccupied the lay drinker, to say nothing of the pharmacologist.’” Whoever discovers such a cure will become the richest man on earth. But, alas, “So far there has been no honest hint of his appearance.”
7. As a conclusion: “Abstinence is not the answer.” In fact, whiskey has been called “The Milk of Old Age.”
8. Add to this that alcohol is a “weapon against fears and frustrations.”
9. Therefore, Addicts, drink as much as you please, but remember always to use your minds! The cure can only come “in the form of intelligence.”