Half-Mind Weblog

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The Xenophobic Hasher

Dear Hashers,

My favorite traveling hash correspondent, Hash Potato, recently shared a letter from an Australian hasher visiting the Southwestern USA. I’ve done a bit of editing to make it shorter. Here it is:

Dear ____________,
Not impressed with L.A. I know there are worse places in the world, but here you are led to expect more . . . there are hundreds of houses all looking the same, in the same colours etc. The shopping strip malls are all in the Spanish Mission style, so they all look the same too. And the trees are all eucalypts and at the same age, so the same height, appearance, colour, all very bland. There are 71 channels on the TV, and most aren’t worth looking at. The number of Oprah/Jerry Springer shows is astounding. They really show the worst of American culture. Whoever said L.A. was the home of the body beautiful is lying. I’ve never seen so many faaatt people. And they make no attempt to minimise it. . . .
Been to San Diego a couple of times . . . it’s a much more attractive place than L.A. An excellent harbour with yachts everywhere. Also went to the zoo and the Gaslight area (like a small New Orleans). If San Diego zoo is the “best in the world”, we’re not far behind with Melbourne or Sydney. . . .
The next weekend went to Las Vegas (aka Lost Wages). I thought it was gross when I visited 20 years ago. It’s like the Melbourne Casino a thousand times over. The newer casinos are actually not too bad. They’ve gone less into the gilt/bordello/flashing light style and more to a village atmosphere. They are catering more for families than gamblers. I’m not a gambler, so I didn’t lose much. . . .
I was a little daunted about going to Central L.A. There are some pretty bad areas around, and I’m wary about getting lost. This place is such a maze of freeways, it’s like Snakes and Ladders. It’s so easy to get on or off them at the wrong place. I’d probably end up in a gang war in South Central. But decided to check out the town anyway, so took the train in. . . .
In all I was a bit disappointed. . . .
The following weekend flew to San Francisco. Now that’s a city I do like . . . having been there before, and having seen much of it in movies and TV shows, I felt almost at home. But of course you do see it in a new light. The bay is much bigger than I remember. I recall the immediate area adjacent to the city, but not the great extent north and south of there. On Sunday hired a car and drove north through Sausalito, Sanoma and Napa valleys. The area reminded me very much of Australian country areas. This is made even more so with the eucalypts everywhere. . . .
On On,

Considering that a hasher wrote this letter, what strikes me most is what’s missing . . . specifically, any mention of hashing. So I wrote to Hash Potato, asking him if his friend GB managed to work in any hashing while he was in the Southwestern USA. Hash Potato replied: “I recommended several CA hashes to GB but he is a shy hasher, probably did not hash in CA.” Nor did he hash in Nevada or Arizona, it seems.

I don’t know about you, but I’d be a lot more willing to read put-downs of my country if the foreigner who wrote them took the trouble to go hashing once or twice in his host country and wrote about that as well. So GB is shy? Just how shy could this guy be? He traveled halfway across the world to brave South Central LA, and in parts of the letter I edited out, he described surfing and going to a Hallowe’en party with total strangers. So why didn’t he go hashing? It’s not like there weren’t twenty or more hash groups in the areas he visited, any one of which would have welcomed him as a fellow hasher and shown him the time of his life.

Maybe it’s like those Harley-Davidson T-shirts that say “If I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.” To those of us who do it, hashing around the world is the most exciting, worthwhile, and memorable part of our hashing experience. Personally, hashing in other countries (most emphatically including Australia) has been a high point in my life, right up there with flying the F-15. To those who do not and will not make the effort, apparently hashing at home is the only way to hash. What a sad and lonely life these homebodies must live.

GB, you’re a loser, mate . . . in more ways than one.

- Flying Booger

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