Back when I was a fresh-faced, un-polluted twenty-one year old, every once in a while, I would get a hangover.
You’re familiar with hangovers.
It’s that thing that happens when you drink a bunch (or snort a bunch, or whatever you prefer to abuse a bunch) and then you wake up the next day in your bathtub, covered in vomit, with cold pizza stuck to your belly, and your eyes are just dried out grape-balls of their former selves and your head feels like a cartoon thermometer that’s about to burst and your voice sounds like Patty Bouvier on a bad day and you can feel a salty wave of nausea rising to your neck and you’re like, shit dude, I’m having a hangover.
But, it’s just a hangover. So you dust off that vomit, stumble out of that bathtub, meet your friends at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner for their Tofu Scrambler (because you’re vegan this month), top it off with a Bloody Maria, and hash out the details of your crazy-night-before antics with your likewise baby – beautiful, fresh-faced college coeds.
That’s a hangover! So simple, so sweet. And then it’s over, and you can move on to your next beautiful disaster like the doe-eyed, little Bambi you are.
But just you wait.
Smash cut to ten years later.
You’re in your early thirties now, and after you’ve had a night out of polite drinking with your other like-wise gainfully employed, Madewell wearing, adult friends, you wake up with a panicked jolt at 5am for no particular reason. You’re next to your husband of five years on your Sealy Posturepedic, and something just feels…terrifying.
You still suffer the same shit: the dry eyes, the hoarse voice, the wave of nausea. But this time…this time there is something new. This time you feel something inside.
You feel something emotional.
Congrats: you’re having a shameover.
A shameover is a hangover but for your feelings.
During a shameover, normal, easily dismissed, anxieties, regrets, and fears of your everyday existence become unforgiveable, unforgettable acts of terrorism committed by you against all of humanity.
You mispronounced the word “haphazard” in front of a group of your adult friends while telling a great story about a super, wild business trip to San Jose (you said fuck in front of a co-worker)? Don’t worry – this will strangle your brain all day under the iron fist of your shameover. You will become convinced that everyone has not only noticed your error but is still judging you for it to this very minute and will probably continue judging you until the very end of your bitter, malapropistic life.
And remember that time when you were twelve and you got your period in your algebra class, but you didn’t know it, and so you bled all over one of those yellow, metal chairs for probably the better part of an hour, and then you stood up, and it was like a totally humiliating fugue-like nightmare come to life? Go ahead and ruminate on that memory for hours, says Shameover. Go ahead and think about it until you’ve no pride left to spare. Let it wash over you like an embarrassing, crimson tide.
And it’s not just your past and your present a shameover will consume. It’s your future, too.
Shameover wants your hopes and dreams, and Shameover wants to kill them.
Hey, thirty-two-year, old single lady. It’s your shameover calling and guess what: you’re never gonna have babies.
Hey, married man in your mid-forties. Shameover here: Sorry about your erections.
I’m your shameover, and I’m here to SHAME.
When you’re twenty, you’re an untouchable force of pure and insolent chutzpah. Ain’t nobody gonna hold you down – oh no.
When you’re thirty, you’re a hard-worn, seen-it-all-before smear-bag and you don’t have time for anyone else’s shit – but mostly, it’s just your own shit causing the trouble.
Because Shameover isn’t strong enough to take down a teenager, but you, you my doughy friend, you are ripe for the shame-picking. So, make like David Spade and say buh-bye to your guilt-free drinking days.
There’s a new boss in town
It’s your shameover.
Here to shame.