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Interview with Jock Trader

Jock Trader, a hash veteran of 30 years’ standing, founded some of today’s most well-known hash kennels and influenced generations of hashers. I first heard of Jock in 1989 when I started hashing with the Okinawa HHH in Japan. Jock founded that hash and was well remembered by the old-timers there. A few years later I had the privilege of hashing with him at the Long Beach HHH in California, another hash he founded. I’m delighted to hear that he’s still actively hashing, and even more delighted that he agreed to share some stories and thoughts with us.

Jock Trader

Jock Trader

Jock, like Mr. Jackson before him, basically shredded my little list of questions and wrote his own interview. And I’m glad he did, because he has a lot to say and answering a set list of questions would not have been the best way to say it. Here’s Jock, in his own words:

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I first hashed in Taipei, Taiwan with the Taipei HHH. The THHH was an all-male hash. In March 1978, a co-worker, Air Force Major Chet Smith, watched me run around the streets of Taipei; running through the street debris and trash and inhaling vehicle exhaust fumes, at lunchtime. Chet mentioned the hash to me several times before I relented to show up for a run, but I specified that I didn’t like running races. My first run was a three-hour/eight-mile ball buster set in the streets and highways of Taipei under a blazing sun with the temperature over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I was hot, tired and pissed. The final straw was having to ford waist high a snake-infested stream behind the rugby/soccer/football field at the Taipei American School. The drainage ditch was more like an open sewer. I vowed to never go on a hash run again. For some unfathomable reason, I changed my mind the next week. Perhaps it was the beer. I ran with the THHH again the next week; maybe because it was because that week’s run went through the red light district of Pei Tou and finished in a scenic fish restaurant on Cherry Hill. The on-in was on a hill looking up to the striking white Taipei Cultural College which is built on the west side on Yang Ming Shan (Sun/Moon Mountain; i.e., “Bright/Beautiful” Mountain). And there was female entertainment.

My hash name: in Taipei, I participated in all of the THHH athletic events . . . the runs, soccer, softball, rugby, flag football, cricket, marathons and darts. I was willing to go from one venue to the next without even changing clothes. Hence, I wore a dirty jock and was eventually was so named. In addition, I am half Scot.

I have run with hashes in Taiwan, Okinawa, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Bali, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, the U.S., and Mexico.

In response to the question “Have my attitudes toward hashers and hashing changed over the years?” Yes. The Taipei HHH was a male-only hash. I founded three hashes and encouraged women to hash. Because of that I was excoriated by some THHH hashers. I have found that women hashers encourage men to hash and vice versa. That basic sexual connection is the reason that “mixed” hashes are so successful, long lasting, irreverent and fun.

I prefer a hash with live hares and the blowing of whistles when on trail.

When scouting a trail, I try to walk/run it five or six times, and run it once in reverse to check trail visibility, hare exposure and get a different perspective, which often necessitates one or two modifications of the trail.

I founded the Naha (Okinawa) HHH in February 1979. The Naha HHH died after 7 runs, probably because the Navy closed its air station at Naha. I started the Okinawa HHH a few months later, primarily to provide some sort of running training for the rugby players on the “Wild West Show” on a weekend day when no rugby game was scheduled. After I retired from the Navy and returned to U.S., because I was bored and missed hashing, with the help of Mary Poppins (Peggy Trader) and a few friends, we got the San Diego Hash House Harriers started on 14 February 1981.

I would like to mention how helpful Mary Poppins was in the founding of the Okinawa HHH and the San Diego HHH. Even though she did not run with the hash until 1982 or thereabouts, Mary Poppins was the Hash Cash, the Scribe, the Statistician and the News Letter writer, typist and publisher of these two fledgling hashes.

On 25 January 1985, I founded the Long Beach HHH with Jerry (Eject) Templeman and Andy (Zapata) Limon. Mary Poppins helped out our new hash again by bringing 20 San Diego hashers up for the LBH3 inaugural run.

My contribution to hashing has been steadfastly resisting the impulse to commercialize hashing and to make personal profit from hashing. In 1980, Mary Poppins and I realized that hashing was going to explode in the U.S. We discussed the possibility of copyrighting several variations of national hash names; United States Hash House Harriers, Hash House Harriers of America, etc. It was obvious that money could have made on hashing T-shirts, hashing gear, “How To Start a Hash” books, travel arrangements, etc. We felt then, and I feel now, that hashing belongs in the public domain.

Core fundamentals:hashing and rugby are similar, except in hashing you don’t have to endure the physical punishment and bleeding to be able to drink beer and sing dirty songs afterward.

Hashing is not a foot race. It must be a team effort, with front runners breaking check marks, returning to the check and marking the true trail, blowing whistles to help the pack solve the trail and keep close to the front runners. There are too many front running bastards/racers in the hash who don’t give a damn about the rest of the pack and who refuse to give up their first-place position to help another hasher.

Another thing that I have noticed in the past is that some hashers use hashing to enable their power trips. Some hashers want to be the grand master and control the hash. They come to feel that they “own” a hash. I have personally heard such conversations between GMs and potential GMs while sittng on the toilet in the mens’ room during a formal hash function.

I am the father of ten children; seven of mine and three step-children. I have discovered that a hash is like a child. You cannot control a hash. It is going to do what it wants. The Okinawa HHH is a physical kick-ass, lewd and crude tricks, in-your-face hash. The San Diego HHH is more laid back, with the GM on his feet, smoothly controlling the down-down events while most the hashers are on the ground sitting on their lawn chairs. The Orange County HHH is a lot like Okinawa; more combative with the GM’s. The Long Beach HHH is a hyper hash. LBHHH likes to go places and do things and not always in Long Beach: river rafting, desert forays, campouts, weekends on Catalina Island, etc. LBHHH has been “computerized” since its inception; primarily the result of Asynch’s GM-ship. The circle stands and surrounds the GM while he tries to control the down-down’s with jokes, gimmicks and sex.

A hash is going to develop by itself and do what it (the group) wants to do. One founder, one grand master, one person cannot dictate where the hash is going and what it is going to do, just like your children. I enjoy all of the hashes which I have founded or have been involved with, just as I am proud of all of my children.

No one “owns” a hash.

Kegs or cans? Makes no difference. It depends on the size of the hash, its organization and its affluence.

My hashing future? One thousand runs and one hundred harings with the Long Beach Hash House Harriers, and three more annual Jock BBQ runs until I have hosted twenty-five.

Yours for better hashing,
Dal (Jock) Trader

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