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Eighteen Questions: Watergate

The following interview was conducted in March 2008.

Watergate

I hashed with Watergate just once, at InterHash 2000 in Tasmania, but we were hash friends long before that: she helped me edit the Half-Mind Catalog for a couple of years, writing editorials and browbeating other hashers into doing the same; she was also one of the first motorcycling hashers to join the motorcycle club I founded, Harriers MC. Hashers all over the world know Watergate, because she’s a veteran hash road-tripper. Watergate lives in Reston, Virginia, near Washington, DC. She’s been hashing for 16 years and has served as grandmaster of Boston HHH and White House HHH. Watergate currently hashes with Mount Vernon HHH and So Happy It’s Tuesday HHH.

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Watergate, when did you start hashing?

It was late October or early November 1991, with the Boston Hash in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

How did you find out about hashing?

A coworker had grown up in Singapore and had done something similar to the hash as a schoolgirl. She looked high and low for a hash contact in the Boston area and eventually found a phone number. She tried and tried to get directions (which weren’t updated until the last minute); one Wednesday afternoon she called in, got directions and bolted out the door. She came in the next day raving about how much fun she’d had. Eventually she dragged me out – my world hasn’t been the same since.

How did you get your hash name?

Vax Headroom named me at the beer check of my virgin trail. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

What hasher taught you the most about hashing?

Vax Headroom. He passed away the week before Christmas several years ago. I still claim it was to get out of picking me up at the airport (I was scheduled to fly from DC to San Francisco to help him set a New Years’ trail). He was one of my closest friends and there isn’t a day that goes by that the memory of him doesn’t cross my mind, followed by a smile on my lips.

Do you remember your first away hash?

I’d hashed in and around New England and New York, but my first real, grown up away hash was Interhash ’94 in Rotorua. There was a magic about that event that has never been exceeded.

Where in the world have you hashed?

A non-exhaustive list:

  • North America
    • Boston
    • New York
    • Rhode Island
    • Delaware
    • Philadelphia
    • DC (and all parts of Maryland and Virginia, including both Ft Eustis and DC H3 – BOOYAH!)
    • Indiana (along with A. Nuts am a founder of the HAH H3)
    • Minnesota
    • North Carolina
    • Georgia
    • Arkansas
    • Texas
    • Phoenix
    • San Francisco (and Bay Area hashes)
    • Seattle
    • Eugene
    • Portland
    • Puerto Vallarta
    • Toronto
  • Europe
    • London
    • Cardiff
    • Paris
    • Frankfurt
    • Athens
    • Munich
    • Copenhagen
    • Cyprus
  • Asia/Pacific
    • Singapore
    • KL
    • Chiang Mai
    • Tasmania
    • Melbourne
    • Sydney
    • Cairnes
    • Mumbai
    • Goa
    • Viet Nam
    • New Zealand

What is it about hashing you most love?

There are two things: 1) the camaraderie both on and off trail, and, 2) knowing that when I do a trail, I’ll likely see that place in a way I never would just wandering around myself.

Is there anything about hashing you don’t love?

I don’t much like that some hashers use the hash as an excuse to act irresponsibly, dismissing concerns with, “It’s the hash!”

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

There have been so many things. Amongst them are: 1) Watching the sun set over the Med. It was, bar none, the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen. 2) Dancing topless on the long bar at the Royal Selangor Club. 3) I’ve been lucky enough to meet and become friends with some of the most amazing people in the world; each is unique in their own way and I wouldn’t trade a minute of knowing (most) of them.

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

Meeting people who actually believe they know more about what hashing is because they’ve hashed longer or more places than anyone else in the pack that day.

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

Moscow (both Russia and Idaho), Vanuatu, Nepal, Antarctica.

Are there places you wouldn’t like to hash?

Alabama.

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

I try to believe that the hash can bring out the best in people: their senses of humor, desires to create community, as well as explore the sewers and tunnels of the world. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen it used as a soapbox to try to bolster needy egos, fueled by the anonymity of the Internet. As a result, the bullshit seems so have gotten deeper.

What are some of your favorite haring techniques?

Vax Headroom taught me about checks, and it still holds: when the pack is at a check, confuse them. When they’re on the trail, don’t confuse them.

Would you tell just anybody about the hash, or only people you think might become good hashers?

After returning from Rotorua, I shared photos of the skits with a couple of female friends. One became distant; the other rarely spoke with me after. After that I became hesitant to completely “share” – especially if the photos were of a Hamersley skit.

Have you founded any hashes?

Amazing Nuts and I “founded” a hash in Indiana out of necessity. He had shown up for a Hoosier hash in Bloomington with Peek a Boo Penis. I’d driven two hours from Indianapolis with a virgin. We arrived at the start a few minutes late but found very little trail, save for a few random locations. We looked and looked and then the hash gods smiled: it rained. The four of us stuck together for a couple of hours having a great time. By the time we got back to the parking lot, the cars that had On-On stickers were gone. We make our way to a bar, where we learned that a few drinkers had come in to have a beer and sing a couple of songs. Aha! There had been a pack! Not . . . so . . . fast. Days later I found out the pack had gathered at the appointed time but there had been so few hounds the collective decision was made to cancel the trail and go for a run. Oy. While the four of us were at the bar having our “circle,” I announced we were attending the inaugural trail of the Half-Assed Hoosiers Hash House Harriers. It’s still run on a yearly basis.

Are there any core fundamentals you believe all hashes and hashers should embrace?

1) It’s not a hash without a fuck up. 2) Everybody fucks up. 3) Expect that your father will find topless photos of you on-line if you let some guy from Vanuatu near you with a camera at a ‘Best Boobs’ contest.

What’s in your hashing future, Watergate?

Perth!

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