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The Cars Issue

Hating Life

Before the fashion shoot we gave every model a pill known as the Hangover Prevention Formula.


“I felt horrible the next day but I only slept a few hours. It was probably just lack of sleep. Come to think of it I didn’t have a very bad headache and we drank a lot of champagne so maybe the pill took the edge off that.”


“I had the worst hangover of my entire life. I felt like shit and didn't make it to work until two in the afternoon the next day. The hangover pill makes you party harder and hate life the next day.”



“I didn’t have a hangover but I didn’t drink enough to get a bad hangover. I couldn’t really drink a lot for some reason. I don’t know if it’s because it spilt on the van or if the pill made me less able to drink. I did notice I couldn’t get my swerve on.”

Before the fashion shoot we gave every model a pill known as the Hangover Prevention Formula. Everyone proceeded to drink their asses off with reckless abandon and was contacted for comments a few days later. It should be noted that Alex was fed a Claritin in order to monitor the placebo Effect.

To be honest, it never ever occurred to me that a cure for veisalgia (or, as most people call it, the common hangover) would ever become such an aspiration, let alone that there was already a whole network of social research, medical science, business and industry working on this very problem. Recent research says 148 billion dollars are lost every year in the American workplace due to low productivity and absenteeism caused by employees that got too drunk the night before. That's an average of $2000 per working adult.

Then, by chance, an angel whispered in my ear that a “cure” had been found. Mercy me, this seemed to be some unholy tampering with divine law. Where would our retribution come from? However, in the name of scientific progress, those of this modern world must accept that when medicine intervenes especially in the form of a pill—-it is time to discard one’s arcane moralities. Here, in the form of five lovely packaged trial packets from the folks at Perfect Equation Inc., came a startling new breakthrough in post-evolutionary development called Hangover Prevention Formula™ (or HPF, for those in the know). This could be the answer to the greatest problem I never knew existed. You see, to not understand the problem is simply to be looking at it the wrong way. If you’re as foolish as this writer was, you might think the problem had to do with some sort of deep moral lacking, or at the very least an unhealthy taste for strong spirits. But that clearly could not be the problem: Drinking is fine, it’s the hangover that sucks. HPF is not a cure. It is a preventative step.


Prevention, as those in the medical community and special intelligence branches of American security alike will tell you, is the key. And much in the same that some diets will let you gorge yourself at will upon the most carnal of your appetites without the stigma of obesity, HPF promises that, with this special dietary precaution, you can drink to your damaged liver’s content without a similarly unappealing price to pay. The way HPF supposedly works is through the active ingredient of an extract from the prickly pear cactus. To our


“I didn’t sleep that night so I felt fucked up but I don’t think it was the hangover. I think it was from not sleeping. I didn’t have a headache which is weird since I drank every kind of booze the night before but I was too exhausted to be a good gauge.”


“I didn’t feel any different really. I only had three hours sleep so I didn’t have time to get hungover. Generally I don’t drink that much so getting severely hungover is not a risk.”


“I felt totally normal. Usually I’d have a little bit of a hangover but this time I felt great. I’m not a big hangover person though. If I get really, really drunk I’d just puke the night before and not be that hungover. I’ve never really had a bad hangover.”


“That was the worst hangover I ever had in my life. I started puking when I got home that night. I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom. I puked in the wastebasket next to my bed. When I woke up at 5:00 PM the next day it was full. It took three days to recover.”

experience however this is not the case. What it really must work on instead is some twisted pharmacological ideal of preventative medicine - a closing of the barn door before the horseshit starts to fly, rather than chasing after the damn steed much later with a couple of shots of patented medicinals. As such, it not only fits in with our expanded Western notions of good health (somewhere between a good feng shui and an apple a day), it manifests our dominant fantasy of a future in which we will not have any problems to cure because we will have anticipated and remedied them beforehand. The Hangover Prevention Cure, then, is a magic bullet, an invisible conqueror of our intangible enemy who shoots before we can even see the broken blood vessels in his eyes. This is not cousin to the controversial post-coital “abortion pill.” It is far closer to the original birth control pill. And like its predecessor, it promises to dispel the sin and its corollary guilt by obviating its potential effects of dire ramification. Without a baby, who’s not a virgin? Without a hangover, what’s to say I didn’t spend last night doing yoga and praying for your sins? And if the former brought about a sexual revolution, could this new marvel of medicine bring on the drinking revolution?

Alas no, there is little the HPF can do but provide one more worthless placebo for our desperate faith. I can only tell you of my own personal experience as an experienced alco-naut trying to navigate the difficult spectrum between what this said prevention promised and the hell that was delivered. It was not pretty. In fairness to this product, we must disclose that our test was, by all standards, an extremely severe, long-term trial of superhuman endurance. I cannot say that moderation might not have brought about more auspicious results, but then again, moderation was neither required nor even recommended by the manufacturer. They promised me, guaranteed in satisfaction, that inebriation would not be prevented and a hangover would. Always suspicious of snake-oil salesmen and smelly white boys with glassine envelopes, we of course decided to really put HPF to the limit. Setting up our laboratory in the familial sot’s shrine of NYC’s Max Fish, we got to work. Asking the bartenders to do their best, with the request that more than simply getting us very drunk, we wanted to make sure we were commensurately hungover the next day, my fellow subjects and I consumed: 1 glass red wine, 3 vodka tonics, 1 white russian, 1 vodka cranberry, 1 margarita, 1 Long Island iced tea, 1 zombie, 1 hard cider and 1 gin and tonic. At this point it would seem that I had somehow managed to overstay the welcome of the bar where I work, so a friend invited a number of us upstairs to continue the experiment. There I indulged in a 375-ml bottle of Night Train. Needless to say details of the rest of the night get fuzzy (and warm), but I can ascertain with a rare moment of clarity that much later I surely drank down a couple of shots of absinthe in the benevolent embrace of my own home.

What can I say? We honestly tried, in good faith, to put this miracle cure to the test. I don’t know what if anything we did to the pill, but I can tell you for certain what the pill did to me - absolutely nothing. I had some of the worst cardiovascular and psychomotor morbidity I’ve ever had. Which meant that whatever we were doing to the Hangover Prevention Formula we were doing to ourselves, an ugly truth that hurts me even now to think about it. In the name of scientific inquiry, we gladly passed the nine remaining Hangover Prevention Formula pills on to a younger, sturdier sampling of “consumers” to see if perhaps they might not have more luck. As you can see from the models used in the previous page’s fashion shoot, HPF didn’t do anything for them either. The pill promises three days of pain-free drink but all it does is make you wonder if your headache might have been a bit worse. Some of the subjects later argued that they felt the pill shrank their stomach, preventing them from drinking. All I know is I took the pill, drank a lot of booze and felt incredibly bad for a very long time.