Half-Mind Weblog

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Time for Another PSA?



A hasher named Chef Boy R Dum from Southern Pines H3 in North Carolina wrote up a public service announcement for new hashers, explaining the spirit and “rules” of hashing. Rules in quotes, of course, because Rule One is There Are No Rules. And yet here’s a PSA full of them.

Another hasher, Black Snake Chicken Chugger from the Oklahoma City Wild Wild West H3, made this nice poster out of Chef’s PSA. Don’t worry that it’s too small to read … click on it and you’ll see the large version, easy on the eyes and suitable for framing.

You probably think I’m poking fun, but I’m not. I agree with most everything on the list. Don’t fuck your buddies. Hare once every ten hashes. Treat the opposite sex with respect. Expand your hashing horizon with road trips. Don’t drink and drive.

But really, it’s stuff we all know, even newbies. None of it’s rocket science. So why a PSA?

My informant tells me Chef Boy R Dum wrote it after the American hashing community was rocked by two recent rape attempts. Well, that’s not new either. Last year, after a red dress run, some DC harriettes said someone at the hash put roofies in their beer. Over the past 20 years we’ve heard multiple stories of attempted rapes at hash campouts and on-after parties. Word always spreads throughout the hash community … back in the day on hash-l, today on Facebook and Reddit … and every time it happens we earnestly express our shock and try to explain to newbies that the hash is not a sex club. This PSA isn’t the first: DCH3 mismanagement put out a similar one after the roofie incident.

Here’s another line from the new PSA: “Promiscuity is the rule not the exception.” The author doesn’t just say it once, he says it twice, kind of implying that hashing actually is a sex club, so deal with it. You can argue, and some have, that the attitude toward sex conveyed by this statement testifies to American hashing’s descent into frat boy culture, subject of many a rant I’ve written over the years.

I’m not going to beat that horse again, but here are some additional thoughts:

I still think it’s important to educate outsiders before bringing them to a hash. The first time I heard about hashing, it was presented to me as a healthy activity, a hare & hounds cross-country run with beer and camaraderie afterward. That sounded like fun, so I went. Almost 30 years down the road, that’s how I still think of hashing. That’s how I tried to portray hashing on my original website, the Half-Mind Catalog. That’s how I try to portray it today on this little blog. That’s how I describe it to outsiders, on the rare occasions I try to bring in new blood. I firmly believe that if you give outsiders the message that the hash is a drinking and sex club, you’re going to recruit an element you may later decide is more trouble than it’s worth.

Having said that, I think misbehaving newbies are less of a problem than long-time hashers. The attempted rapes I know of? All committed by experienced hashers, and I suspect the roofie incident at the DC RDR (if it actually happened … it was never proven, I’m told) was too. The Tucson jHavelina hasher I helped kick out of the kennel for habitually feeling up and forcing himself on harriettes at on-afters? He wasn’t just a senior hasher, he was the fucking founder of the kennel. The Okinawa hasher who tried to rape a passed out hasher at a drunken off-base post-trail party the week I left Japan for Hawaii? I knew him well. I’d hashed with him for two years. The adulterous couple from the Osan Bulgogi Hash … he a married officer, she a married NCO … who damn near got hashing outlawed by the military in Korea? Seasoned hashers. And not just sex: hashers have been exiled for starting fights at the circle (one of them, right here in my own town, punched a harriette in the face and knocked her down), others for waving pistols around and making threats. Every one of them a named hasher.

And every one of them was drunk at the time. Sex and fighting and all that other shit is a symptom. The underlying problem is drinking too much. So here’s a PSA for you: quit drinking so fucking much and doing stupid things. Quit trying to turn hashing into a frat party.

I realize that as a non-drinker, I’ve lost some hashing cred with you all. But I did drink, and once I started hashing I gradually came to drink even more. Many hashers my age have been down the same path. Some, like me, have stopped drinking entirely. Many others have cut back. They’ve seen how too much drinking, and too much emphasis on drinking, hurts the hash, and they don’t like it any more than I do.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not anti-drinking. Hashing and beer are the two legs we stand on. When I was recruited beer was part of the sales pitch, but what sold me was the idea that hashing is a healthy outdoor activity. So long as the drinking that goes with hashing is seen as a social activity, something you do to unwind after a tough trail, great. That’s how it mostly was at the first hashes I went to. That’s mostly how it still is. But there are an increasing number of exceptions: hashes where circles get more emphasis than trails, hash events where drinking and drinking-related shenanigans are the primary draw, hashers who turn out primarily to drink. I don’t know how to put that cork back in the bottle. I don’t think anyone does.

If your hash is tipping over into frat party territory, what can you do? Simple things, really. Do more A to A trails (so hashers aren’t stuck at the circle, miles from their cars, with nothing to do but drink until the B-van starts giving rides back to the start). Have more food and snacks on hand at the end. Keep the circle short and get the pack moving to on-afters rather than hanging around trying to float the keg. Don’t let the frat boy wannabes … and there are a few in every kennel … take over.

More and more, when I mention I’m a hasher, people give me side-eye. They’ve heard of hashing and they don’t like what they’ve heard. I look around and see beer running clubs popping up everywhere. What’s the pitch? You get together for a nice run with friends (or people who soon will become friends), a good healthy way to unwind after work, and then you visit a pub for a couple of beers and some camaraderie. Hey, I like the sound of that! So, probably, do you. It sounds like hashing, at least how hashing was when I first heard of it. And really, it sounds like what hashing still is to many of us, in spite of the reputation we’ve given ourselves.

© 2016, Flying Booger. All rights reserved.

About Flying Booger  Hash House Harrier, man about town.


7 comments to Time for Another PSA?

  • BURT

    Those beer running clubs will degenerate over time as more and more people go to them. To me the real problem is when hashes just get too big. The idea that everyone is welcome is a mistake. You’ve just pointed out several types of people who shouldn’t be welcome. Assholes are assholes before they drink and the drink can just make them BIGGER assholes. For the people you’re talking about the hash is just an enabler. They’d behave the same way in any group that encouraged their behavior.

  • Thanks for the mention and link!

    I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said. We’ve had to ask a hasher or two to reconsider hashing because they couldn’t have a few beers and be a decent human being at the same time. And we’ve had a few leave us because they couldn’t keep their hands, or their cocks, to themselves and knew that we, as a kennel, would not put up with that.

    A permissive hasher doesn’t mean YOU get PERMISSION. It means he/she gives permission to those she/he gives permission. If you don’t have explicit permission, get your hands off.

    Just because she got tits out on that trail doesn’t mean you can grab them in circle.

    Just because he got balls out on trail that doesn’t mean you can grab them in circle.

    If a hasher is completely naked next to you that doesn’t mean you can touch them anywhere without permission. At all.

    And, most importantly, if a hasher is so drunk they cant say “yes” or “no”, you even attempting sex with them is rape. Period.

  • Chef boy r dum

    I’m really excited that the PSA is getting passed around. Thanks for sharing it and expressing your unique take on it. I do, however, disagree with some of your opinions. It started as a satirical joke directed at a Harriet throwing a hissy fit about lost property. It evolved.

    I’m writing this reply as my better half and I drive back from the Larrikans fairy trails event (fantastic as always). When I was a wee baby hasher first starting out at the Trash in ’05 I had a lot of establishment hashers establishing that hashing was a certain way. Then I traveled. I realized that most hashers are full of shit and bits of ego. What cracks me up is when people get very serious and talk of hashing in a concrete sense. Hashing is fluid and different everywhere you go.

    Luckily, this big dumb animal has met some amazing hashers along the way (thanks Hermie and TOM, Chestnuts and the traveling bitches, Earshot, PBJ, PP [you are missed], Hershey, Hilfrigger, Stump, the love of my life Milkshake, et all). These hashers have defined me as a person more than my own family. They ARE my family. So understand that when I say I am a hasher, it means something. Hashing literally saved my life. It was a support group when I got out of the military, after my divorce, and when my dad died. Hashing is what you make if it and what you put into it.

    The real problem with hashing is the judging. If someone is a dick, or really obnoxious, or makes a hilarious mistake, they’re going to get messed with. But judging because they’re not what you want them to be, or they don’t conform to your ideals is just dumb. I have this conversation with so many old school hashers and hashers that have become old school since I started. It’s never going to be the same as back in 1982, and you won’t throw that football over the mountain. Get the fuck over it. Relevance is fleeting, so sayeth Caeser.

    As far as the PSA goes, I am in no way condoning frat culture. Your issue with said culture and the negative way it teaches young men to treat women is sound, but misplaced in this instance. Swampy and I had a very lively discussion about this very thing (check out her blog Unladylike), rape culture is a global issue. It is not a hashing issue. It is a way you raise your kids issue, and a what you let scumbags get away with issue. Too many predatory hashers are given a pass because they’re ‘cool’. This is unacceptable. That is a point in the PSA. People, hashers or otherwise, should be able to do whatever the fuck they want without fear of predators. Someday soon hopefully. Until then, women and men need to be vigilant and avoid situations where they become victims.

    As far as promiscuity goes, it is the rule everywhere. Hashers tend to define worldwide problems as ‘hashing’ problems. They then go on to define hashing by said problems. Hashing is not the problem, individuals are the problem. I don’t see hashing devolving into a ‘frat’ I see a new generation being just as wild and reckless as we used to be. I see individuals trying to make trails like campouts and events. I see individuals getting away with shit like they do in muggle land. I see muggles cheating and fucking like rabbits in EVERY social group. Hashers usually skip the pretense. These are not hashing issues, these are people issues. Also note, the ‘second’ time I mention promiscuity as a rule, it’s in reference to consent.

    As far as defining hashing, good luck. I’ve noticed there are generally three types of hashes. The drinking, running, and shiggy hashes. Any hash can be a mix of all three or predominantly one. Either way, the constant is camaraderie. You don’t have to drink to hash. Drinking, much like in Tolkien, is ceremonial, a lubricant, a dash of tiger’s entrails in the mix. It is not essential and I usually limit my libations to events and campout. Drinking on school nights isn’t as fun as it once was. But you do you. As long as you’re not an alcoholic, driving drunk, or hurting people, it’s your life.

    And no one has the right to judge you for how you live it.

    As for inferring things from the PSA. We should always be trying to better ourselves. What i wanted to create was literal, nondenominational suggestions for new hashers. Points that were simple and true. Not defining any way hashing should be, but what we should all keep in mind as hashers or just in our day to day. I didn’t create them to be read into, or used to push a certain agenda. They’re just suggestions from my own experiences. Strive every day to be a good person.

    Love you mean it,

  • BBD...

    I’ve been a hasher for four years now and I work in the field of preventing and responding to sexual violence. I agree with portraying the groups differently (running with a side of drinking over getting wasted as you run around) but please don’t equate binge drinking culture (or frat boy mentality) with what causes rape. Rapes happen in the hash because there are people who choose to commit those crimes, not because people are getting wasted. It happens because someone chooses to ignore another persons right autonomy, not because someone is passed out drunk. I know from my hashing experiences that promiscuity isn’t the rule in hashing, and I appreciate challenging the stereotype but please don’t say that’s why hashers are experiencing the trauma of sexual violence.

  • It’s always great to get comments, and in this case there are comments from both of the hashers mentioned in the post, Chef Boy R Dum, who wrote the PSA, and Black Snake Chicken Chugger, who did the art and posterized it. I heard the background behind the PSA differently from what Cheffy says it really is. My info came from a hashing friend and from posts on reddit, where the PSA has been much discussed. Nevertheless, rape attempts have happened and continue to happen. As for the commenter who says alcohol and rape are disconnected, I of course agree that not all drinkers are rapists, but stand by my statements. Yes, rape is a universal crime, nothing to do with hashing. But rape culture on college campuses and rape culture in the hash (thankfully extremely rare) have excessive drinking in common, and the two are twined.

  • Chef boy r dum

    Sorry, drinking is not the common denominator. Bad people are the common denominator. I know quite a few people who can drink their face off and never rape someone. Yes, alcohol lowers inhibition. It does not make you a terrible person.

  • I gotta side with Chef on that one. I know people make some bad decisions while drunk but they don’t usually pull a Jekyll & Hyde… the “creepy drunks” I know, have a pretty strong creepy vibe while sober.

    I believe people need to be aware of their surroundings. My wife makes a point to not do the occasional “get really drunk” unless she has trusted company around her. It’s just smart. I like to think that at any given camp out, I’m with all my friends and something bad won’t happen. But the buddy system works when lost in the woods, it also works when sobriety is lost.

    Either way… I know we might not agree. But I do appreciate the discussion.

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