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Demographics & Hashing

A few months ago, my Aussie friend Ms Cheeky wrote an interesting rant for the Half-Mind Catalog. You owe it to yourself to read the whole thing, but to summarize, she notes the average age of hashers signed up for InterHash 2006 in Chiang Mai (old), compares it to the average age of her hashing mates in Canberra (old), and comes to a dire conclusion: not enough young people are coming into the hash to keep it alive once the oldsters start dying off.  More recently, British hasher Urine wrote another Half-Mind Catalog rant on the same subject, with a slightly different twist.

 To both rants, I offer this counter-rant:

When it comes to InterHash, money skews the average age of attendees. Hashers who can afford to travel half-way round the world for a weekend of hashing in an exotic locale tend to be older, at the mid-point (or nearing the end) of successful careers. Very young hashers generally can’t afford the trip; ancient hashers generally can’t either, living, as they do, on fixed incomes.

What initially caught my attention was Ms Cheeky’s comment on the increasing average age of Canberra hashers; ditto Urine’s concerns on the aging of the hash. Where, indeed, are the new hashers? Here in the USA, there’s no lack of fresh meat: new people come into the hash all the time. Given the popularity of hashing overseas, I’m surprised to hear Ms Cheeky and Urine aren’t seeing the same influx of new hashers.

Here in Tucson, Pick’n’Flick and I are almost the only older hashers left in the main kennel, the jHavelina HHH. In the nine years we’ve hashed with the jHavelinas, we’ve seen a complete generational change. Actually, as I blogged here, the older hashers are still around – they set up a breakaway hash to escape the influx of new hashers into the old hash, and all the changes that came with the new hashers. Is that small-minded? Well, hashers are just human, after all, and frankly, if the breakaway hash met later in the day, Pick’n’Flick and I would join them more often!

No, I don’t think the hash is aging, but it’s certainly true that there are now many more older hashers than before. And I think the increasing presence of older hashers is having an influence on hashing. For a slightly tongue-in-cheek take on that, click here.

Urine and Ms Cheeky, if it would make you feel any better, I’d hash with you any day, and if I could afford it, lift a mug with you at every InterHash, Eurohash, and Nash Hash . . . but come to think of it, if I were to show up, the average age of attendees would go up, not down!

- Flying Booger

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