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Interview with a Jedi Master: Yoda

It’s been a while since I’ve interviewed a fellow hasher. Time to get back to work!

Robert “Yoda” Epstein showed up at the jHavelina HHH in Tucson, Arizona, several years ago. Naturally, he tried to force his Flour City HHH ways on us, but we quickly set him straight and he made a sincere effort to blend in. But a guy like Yoda’ll always stand out, no matter how hard he tries.

Yoda started hashing in 1988 in Rochester, New York. Now retired, he lives in Green Valley, Arizona, just south of Tucson, and hashes with several area kennels: the jHavelina HHH, the Pima Independent Sunday Social HHH, the Pedalfiles Bike HHH, and The Wandering Assholes of Tucson HHH. At one time or another he’s been beer meister, onsec, RA, and GM, and probably a few other things besides. He’s a co-founder of the Flour City HHH in Rochester, New York.

Yoda

Yoda

I asked Yoda what his hashing preferences are. His answer: “Hetero, dead hare, A-to-A, lots of singing!”

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Yoda, when & where was your first hash, and how did you find out about it?

The 23rd of July, 1988. Ace (Charlie Kellog, who’d hashed with Little Sai Wan in Hong Kong) asked Lefty and me if we’d help him and Moon get enough people together to form a hash.

How did you get your hash name?

I don’t remember the date I got it, but we were standing in the circle and Gumby was talking to another hasher about Yoda. I asked him who Yoda was. He gave me a funny look and said YOU! The subsequent ceremony was traditional.

Did you have a hashing mentor?

I’d have to say that Ace was my hashing mentor. I haven’t seen him in years, but I hope he and his wife, Deer, read this.

When & where was your first away hash?

I think my first away hash was Toronto. They’re a great kennel. At the time, their RA was Lengthy. I recall meeting Rose Eh and Sex Toy. That must have been in ’89 or ’90.

Where have you hashed?

Toronto, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Miami, Buffalo, Auburn, New York, Boston, Cleveland, Phoenix, Tucson, Sierra Vista, and Bisbee. I’m sure I’ve left some out, but I’ve got roach burns in the fabric of my memory.

Are there places you haven’t hashed but would like to?

My step-daughter Skywalker hashes in Korea. I’d love to show up at one of her hashes.

Are there places you wouldn’t consider hashing?

I don’t think I’d be welcome at the Council of Conservative Citizens Anal Hash . . . but then, I do know 2×4 and Doughboy.

Do you have any favorite haring techniques?

I like a well marked trail. I’ll use every trick I know, but I will not allow a hasher to tell me he/she couldn’t follow the trail.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you at a hash?

Um . . . well . . . I’m married now, I’d better not go into detail.

What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you at a hash?

At the Flour City Hash, they sing a song: “We almost died in a Yellow Ryder Truck.” That was pretty scary. Appendage fell in the woods and broke her ankle. I split my forehead open at Royal Flush’s pool . . . I suppose those were the worst, though I have a funny story to tell about the latter event.

What’s the most dangerous trail you’ve done?

It was probably the most memorable trail, the best trail, and the most difficult trail ever. It was in Pittsburgh. The hare was Dead Kennedy. You had to cross a river (the name of which would take up the rest of this page). It had rained for several days prior to the hash, and the river was absolutely raging. Fortunately, I’m a pretty good swimmer. Another hasher, Dick T’s, and I must have pulled 15 hashers who were unable to handle the current, and were in varying stages of trouble, out of the water. Mudman owes us his life.

If you could pick the location of a future Interhash, where would it be, and why?

I’d love to see one down here on the US/Mexico border. Sierra Vista or Bisbee would be great . . . in the winter, when the folks up north are suffering. We could do an illegal border crossing hash . . . we might get a few border patrolmen to come along.

What keeps you coming back to the hash?

I love the camaraderie. You can’t have that much fun alone. I’ve had the great honor and pleasure to meet some truly great folks while hashing.

What part of hashing could you do without, if anything?

Endless circles, especially in extreme weather. Many of us live quite some distance from the trail’s end and have a long drive home. Long circles, too many beers, can be dangerous. Furthermore, attendance at on-afters suffers. Frankly, I prefer the on-afters to long circles.

Have your attitudes toward hashing or hashers changed over the years?

Somewhat, I suppose. Appendage and I no longer like to drive 50 miles to a hash, then drive right home. We pick and chose the hashes we’ll attend. However, we still love hashing. That’s not going to change.

Has hashing affected your personal or professional life, for good or ill?

Sure. I’m a hasher who happens to be a husband, a dad, and whatever else I am . . . it used to be the other way around.

Do you tell everyone you meet about the hash, or only people you think might become good hashers?

Most often, I tell those who I think might enjoy hashing, but of course one gets put on the spot, when someone calls you by your hash name in public . . . and my e-mail address often requires explanation.

Are there certain things you think all hashers should believe in?

It doesn’t take many hashes to see that some hashers have a problem with excessiveness. We all love a good time. It doesn’t get much better than a hash, but all hashers have to understand the consequences of overdoing it.

What do you think you’ve contributed to hashing?

I’ve served in every imaginable capacity, but so has every hasher who’s hashed for as long as I have. I hope I’ve shown that it’s OK to have a good time at a hash, but he who hashes and is able to drive away, lives to hash another day.

What’s in your hashing future, Yoda?

They’ll carry me away from hashing, Nikes first.

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