Tuesday, December 25, 2018


Our word for today is "hangover." It might be more appropriate to write this for New Year's Day, when celebrants have had too much alcohol to drink the night before. Of course, some have hangovers everyday. So today would be just like any other.

Fortunately, it's been a long time since I've suffered a hangover from drinking too much. Yes, with age comes maturity, for some. A favourite expression in the pubs in England on Sunday was "hair o' the dog?" It was a way of starting a conversation, as many nursed a hangover on Sunday, brought on by Saturday night parties.

I'd forgotten the exact meaning of the phrase, but according to wikipedia, it was considered a cure for a bite by a rabid dog. Put a few hairs of the dog on the wound to cure it - drink some booze the next day to fix your hangover. It was a popular remedy from the time of the ancient Greeks, observed in most European countries and by extension a good part of the world.

The word hangover, however, is not just limited to the negative effects of alcohol, it is also used to describe something that is now obsolete. For example:

1. When we first bought our house, we had a clothesline in the back yard -  a hangover from when people (women) hung clothing out to dry. Some still do. It saves on energy, well, maybe not human energy. :)

2. Our house still has a milk box - a hangover from when milk was delivered to your door every morning. (We obviously treat milk now, to make it last longer - what's been lost?) Today, we often find, in our milk box, mail from a postman (person) who was too lazy to climb the steps to our front door.

3. It's the rare family, in Toronto anyway, that parks a car in their garage. In fact today many people are converting their garages, especially in laneways into small flats. In fact, we still have some very large homes, in the city, with carriage houses - a hangover from a time before cars, when the wealthy owned carriages and the horses to pull them, as well as, the groomsmen, footmen, drivers etc.

Will cars soon be considered a hangover from an earlier time? What else might disappear? The landline "phone on the wall" is almost obsolete. Maps are passe´, churches are being converted to condos, retail shops to nail salons, and gas stations to restaurants. In fact, the only thing I see that has made a comeback is the bicycle. People ride now in winter, there are more and better bike lanes (we still need more and better bike lanes). There are public bike racks, and areas to rent bikes conveniently around the city.

Can I dream of other activities that I would like to see revived?

The pictures? Hangovers from an earlier time and the penny farthing, from a time when money was worth more. Now there are no pennies and I'm not sure there were ever farthings in Canada.

Have a memorable day.

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