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How I Became a Hasher

My old friend Pussy Galore is dropping by to visit this weekend. PG introduced me to hashing in 1988, in Tampa, Florida.

Actually, I heard about hashing before PG drug me to my first one. In 1988 I was an Air Force officer assigned to the US Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. My job was to evaluate and report on the readiness of Air Force, Army, and Navy snake-eater units assigned to USSOCOM, so every couple of months I’d take a two-week round robin to Hurlburt Field, Fort Bragg, and Coronado. After visiting the SEAL training facility at Coronado one trip, I went for a run in San Diego’s Balboa Park. While I was stretching after my run, some guy walked up and started telling me about these insane Aussie runners he’d met in Thailand. I thought the guy was trying to pick me up, and I was more concerned with making my exit than I was with his story.

Back in Tampa a few months later, my neighbor Pete Bond knocked on my door to tell me he was organizing a Hash House Harrier group and to invite me to the virgin run. I instantly remembered the guy in San Diego, and realized he’d been telling me about the Hash House Harriers. I also remembered how much fun he made it sound, so I said “Sure, count me in.” That weekend, I ran my virgin hash, concurrently with the Tampa HHH virgin hash.

Although I was an active runner in those days, I wasn’t a SEAL, Green Beret, or Marine, and since so many of Pete’s friends were (Pete was an Army Ranger himself), I was more than a little concerned about keeping up. I needn’t have worried . . . the trail was a great equalizer, slowing us down to the point where we all finished together, and the fellowship that developed during and after that first circle . . . well, it was instantly obvious to me that what folks did outside the hash just didn’t matter at the hash. Nor, it appeared, did athletic prowess!

That experience was so much fun I couldn’t resist coming back. My first road trip hash was less than a month later, when Pete drove a few of us to Orlando to run with the Other Orlando HHH. I left Tampa before I could get named, but not before Pete became Pussy Galore (with a last name like Bond, what else could you name him?). A few months later I was hashing in Japan, and in another few months I was GM of the Okinawa HHH and making hash road trips around Asia . . . already becoming a hash publisher, cranking out mimeographed lists of hashing contacts in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore for my friends in Okinawa.

Today, more than 15 years and over 1,000 hashes later, I vividly remember that first hash. It’ll be a real pleasure to see PG again and take him hashing in Tucson, my current home. I think it’s fair to say that Pussy Galore changed my life. And not everyone can say that!

- Flying Booger

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