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The Greatest Hangover Machine Never Built

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Oof, my head. The trouble with being a weekend warrior is the day after. This morning I have a troupe of miniature MC Hammers inside my head, stomping in perfect time to the pile-driver thump, and chanting: "STOP! Hangover time!" Kingsley Amis best put the feeling into words in his novel Lucky Jim. "His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum." Oral hygiene aside, my brain has shrunk to the size of a frozen pea, and I can feel it rattling around inside my head like *ponders myopically* God, I don't know what. I'm HUNGOVER for God's sake. Is there a gadget that can help me? Or am I going to have to build one myself?


So, consider if you will, my preeeties, the current options I have open to me.

• A canister of pure oxygen. Well, shoot, I didn't make it to our local oxygen shop before I crawled into bed this morning.

• A gadget that "staves off" wine headaches. That's a bit disingenuous, because it doesn't cure your hangover, it just reads the chemicals in the wine inside your glass and tells you if you shouldn't drink it.

• A chilled hangover mask that's so cold I think my eyes need a de-icer.


Some people might have popped a bunch of RU21 pills before they went out. The drug was developed by the KGB so that their spies could drink all they could and stay sober while they loosened up their contacts with a vodka or seven. It sounds a bit creepy—and as for the name. "Are you 21?" Nope, that's why I get hangovers. So no storebought gear, no creepy Soviet pharmaceuticals. I think I'm gonna have to invent a hangover buster of my own.

If I were good with my hands, I'd pull an A-Team on you all and build a flotation tank complete with butler 'bot using a saucepan, plastic guttering, the drum from the washing machine and a lawnmower. But I'm not—and I HAVE A HANGOVER. So I'm just going to have to imagine my way out of it. As a nipper, my point of reference was illustrator W. Heath Robinson, the British equivalent to Rube Goldberg. So, let me channel my inner Rube.

Balanced on top of the sofa at the end of our bed is a cushion. I reach out a toe and push it onto the seat, which dislodges a tennis ball. The ball rolls down a ramp, bounces once on a mini trampoline, ricochets against the bedroom door and boings its way down the corridor. It hits a plank of wood which has been propping up the strut on a home-made trebuchet. With a flick of the knicker elastic I used to secure it, the spoon of the trebuchet catapults a dart with a homing device on it. The dart buzzes into the kitchen, veering towards the electric kettle, and lands smack in the center of the kettle's On button (where I will have placed a homing beacon). As the kettle boils, shaking violently with the hot, hot heat bubbling away (I hacked it, okay?) a one-directional pulley yanks farther and farther, until a rope tied to the kettle's handle tips it towards a Velcro-covered mug containing a squeeze of lime juice. You still with me?

The mug, now three-quarters full of hot water and lime juice, is sitting on a USB beverage heater (why, thank you, Thanko) modified with wheels, and a rocket firework. The firework's fuse is fired up with my prototype RC piezoelectric lighter, controlled via a handheld unit dangling conveniently above my bed. The firework fizzes away and shoots the USB heater (mug and all) towards the edge of the counter, where it scoots onto a wire cradle, suspended from the ceiling on wires that slope gently downwards—think "ski lift," only small and in my apartment. The cradle trundles slowly downward, turning the corner back into the corridor, until it comes to rest just outside the bedroom door.


So how does it get from the bedroom door into my clammy palms? Well, this is the bit that I'm having trouble figuring out. At the moment, I've got a monkey, dressed in Evel Knievel leathers with Velcro stripes down the arms and a helmet, riding a tricycle down the corridor at full tilt. Monkey draws level with the mug—which you'll recall is covered with Velcro. Velcro meets Velcro, it's love at first feel, and the mug hitches a ride on the leather sleeve. The monkey trundles up the ramp that the tennis ball rolled down not five minutes earlier, stands on the sofa, takes off his helmet, smiles and passes me the mug. But here's where the system breaks down: the sodding monkey drinks the brew down in one, burps, tosses the mug behind him and then just jumps up and down, pointing and laughing at me.


Anyone know how to hack a monkey?