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My First Hash

Hash House Harriers. This is the group of “drinkers with a running problem” which I’ve only now found out about. Apparently it’s a worldwide fraternity of folks who love to drink and just need an excuse to organize. Their excuse is to chase a couple wankers, hares, all around town, trying to track them down and occasionally stopping for beer. I’ve only now found out about this group.

It’s a bit overwhelming at first. They have their own language and everyone has their own, often phallic or vulvic, name. I think I observed mild disappointment in their eyes when I told them my name was Chad, which they quickly changed to eagerness as they realized I was still a virgin.

Everyone in the group was given a piece of chalk with which to write secret markings on the pavement, except for me whom they didn’t yet trust. I only got a courtesy elementary description of what the chalk lines mean, and to be honest, I still don’t have a fucking clue. This group has a language unto itself, and half the time I can’t understand if they’re talking about a person, a body part, or one of those damnable sidewalk drawings.

Instead, I stuck with a few folks on the trail, running ahead or behind so I could somehow glean just what the hell was going on. Apparently, the two hares get a fifteen minute head start and only they know the trail. They mark their trail with occasional handfuls of flour and often try to lead you off-path. After the designated time, the rest of the hashers start chasing after the hares. The faster ones attempt to find out where the real trail leads, and will leave chalk markings on the ground either to help, or to fuck with you. I love this concept.

The best part about this whole game is the plethora of beer scattered throughout the course. Before you start running, you drink. You run for a while, you stop and drink. Sometimes, you stop to drink again. This course was three and a half miles and we took a second stop at a bar for more beer before finishing the course.

I made sure to stick with the pack, because I didn’t have any idea where we were or where we were going. I met some pretty cool people along the way, all of whom seemed wholly devoted to this way of life, which I find utterly fantastic. One girl even had their wedding themed around the H3 and all its members, and I heard a good share of stories from that event. I won’t regale them here, but, wow.

At the end, the group typically drinks more beer. Go figure. And then, they gather around in a semicircle to poke fun at everyone else. Included in this event was me, having been my first time at a Hash. They took me up front and asked me a few questions, of which I had been warned. The women of the group gathered up front, and the final question revolved around me either telling a joke, singing a song, or showing a private body part. All that came to mind, amidst cat calls and girls yelling to see my junk, was the song, “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places,” by Garth Brooks. I don’t do country anymore, but it seemed appropriate. Having kept my pants on and belting only a few lines, I retired to my corner of the semicircle where I could observe the ongoings in my anonymity with my dignity intact.

I don’t think I’ll ever drink the Kool-Aid and become fully integrated into this group of wankers, but this thing was pretty damn fun. While I’m out here, I’ll have to hit up a few more of these things. What better way to meet people than to get liquored up and go chasing through the streets of northern California with a bunch of whacked out hashers.

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