Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Becky Reports from the Field: Hashing

Last Friday, your author, who enjoys both running and drinking to the point of pain, set out on a grand adventure: her first hash run.

Modern day hashing looks exactly like this.
Hashing, you see, is this thing where people who are grownups take bags of flour and write symbols on the street. And then other people who are grownups run where the symbols tell them to go, but sometimes the markings are deceptive and they get lost. And everyone’s really drunk and sings shockingly crude sexual songs at infrequent intervals. And then afterward, everyone gets even drunker while standing in a circle and flogging their fellow runners for things that sometimes don’t make sense. And all the regulars have special hasher names, which are bawdy and outrageous, and everyone acts like it’s normal to never call anyone by their real names. This is something that people do for fun.

I had only a rough inkling of the protocol described above when I bundled up on Friday night for the “Jingle Balls” Hash (gentlemen, attach your bells appropriately). I expected drinking, low to moderate weirdness, and a run that in and of itself would not be taxing in any way.

“It will be so short!” I was told, repeatedly. “Like, a walk around the block!”

WELL, WELL, WELL. What did I actually encounter whilst hashing?

Not all that much drinking (on my part, because I felt oddly sick for no apparent reason…ugh, lame), EXTREMELY HIGH levels of weirdness, and a run that was, no lie, probably FIVE MILES in the freezing cold, with me wearing a winter coat the entire time because I had subscribed to the whole “walk around the block” myth and was fearful of hypothermia. (Prior to the run. During the run I quite quickly discovered why it is that people don’t normally do five-mile runs in their winter coats.)

Here are my observations about hashing:

1. WOW, THESE SONGS YOU PEOPLE SING. Because I’m actually twelve, I spent a lot of time wondering if you’re allowed to say such things in public places. I also spent a lot of time wondering who came up with these songs, because they’re really quite clever…in a grossly perverted and over-the-top sort of way.

2. PUBLIC NUDITY. It’s this whole thing.

3. After the run, I sat around and watched people make genitalia out of Play-Doh.

TO SUM UP, hashing was pretty damn weird, and also the run made me tired.

Several people have suggested I try a Saturday afternoon hash, as those occur during the daytime and are a somewhat different experience. When the weather gets warmer, I might…but I have to keep careful tabs on how many times I go. If I make it through five hashes, I’ll be “named” in a ritual that promises to be humiliating in the most awful way possible. As someone who develops Tourette’s while intoxicated and will tell any embarrassing story that comes to mind about either herself OR anyone in the immediate vicinity, it would SEEM like the naming process would be something I could handle. But honestly, I’m not sure I’m up for it. I’m not sure I’m up for any of it.

I’m not sure I’m up for hashing, period. I’ll try just about anything once (even if it takes me six months to talk myself into it), but I need to sit on this one for a while and figure out if once was enough…

(We stopped mid-run to drink beer from the back of a car parked in a cul-de-sac and small children huddled at the door of a house down the street to watch us drunkenly flail around in unison as we sang a song about a tiny dick. Dear Youth of the World, this is what awaits you in adulthood.)

Etching from HERE, Play-Doh HERE.


  1. Who comes up with this stuff?? I hope you are enjoying yourself...although the light hazing quality to it all makes me a little worried...

  2. When I was filling my mom in on all of this, I described it as being what I would imagine joining a fraternity would be like...hazing, an initiation, lots of raucous behavior, and a semi-secret code of conduct that applies only when you're "safe" within the confines of the group. There's also this crazy role-playing aspect because no one's going by their real names (and those of us who aren't named are "Justs," as in, I was called "Just Becky" all night.)

    I knew five of the hashers there that night and everyone was incredibly nice to me. (Even though I was something of a wet blanket and I overheard a conversation pretty late in the evening along the lines of, "I don't think Becky will be back." "Yeah, hashing's not for everyone.") I guess I was just expecting it to be a little more of a celebration of drinking, weird sexual songs! :) And now I have to wonder what my reputation is around Breakaway, because I CAN'T TELL YOU how many people told me beforehand that this would *totally* be my type of thing... (Huh.)

  3. LOL about the post

    and a double LOL about your comment PG - expecially the bit about your reputation.

    You know what they say: When your reputation is ruined you can live freely (which sounds way better in german but I have no clue about the english equal to this saying...and I'm soooooooooooo tired.

    I wish you a merry x-mas my dear :)


  4. Ha!! That sounds pretty good in English. :) I like that! (Not that I've ever been one to shy away from honesty, but in the event that the real me isn't quite interesting enough for people, why not let them have a little fun making things up? :))

    Merry Christmas, Sasha!! Thanks so much for all your comments and for your friendship this year. If we don't talk again for a few days, HAPPY 2012!!!

  5. Oh Becky I have to thank YOU for making me laugh and not feeling so alone with some things - may it be weirdo-wise or this little things in life that just don't mix with what you want ..... and all that.

    And thank you for your friendship and for even reading my blog-long comments... Have the best of all in 2012 :)


  6. oh, and of course: Thank you for reminding every time I come here that I wanted to get back on the sporting track .....


    guess we just agree to push it to 2012 when I become the beautiful, intelligent and funny (in no particular order) person I sh/w/c-ould be.

    And if - again - I fail ... we just push it to 2013 ... after the world has ended *ggg*


  7. Ok, the hashing thing is a bit . . . odd. And that's coming from someone who is completely uninhibited. ;)

    You've inspired me to join the running group at the locally owned shop here a few miles away. My first meeting is January 9th, although I think it's more family-oriented. I wish a place like Breakaway was near me!!

  8. Sasha, YOU CAN DO IT! At the rate I'm going, 2012 will be a year FILLED with running-related posts, so you'll get many reminders from me. :D (And I really, really hope that next year treats you well in all aspects of your life!!)

    Leslie, YAY, you'll have to let me know how it goes with the running group!! Though you'd never know it by what I write about, there are a couple of little kids and a couple of babies that are regulars at our Thursday runs, and we still manage to get in as much trouble as we do... :)

    And who knows, you may even have some hashers in your group! There are apparently hash runs pretty much everywhere on Earth, and while they're all loosely similar, it seems like there's a lot of variation in how, er, scandalous the groups are depending on where you live. If you ever chanced across some first-hand info from your part of the country, it'd be fun to compare notes!

  9. Well, I mentioned the hashing thing to the guy who owns the running shop that I'll be running and he got really into a long-winded explanation and then said . . . "well, it's basically runners that like to drink . . a LOT." I was left here going, "uhh . . tee hee!" blushing the entire time because there were two families in there buying running shoes for their teenagers. It could have been a sitcom moment with me trying to insist that I'm really NOT ("NO WAY!!") into drinking *cough* and especially with running. You would have been rolling!!! Anyways, said guy says the Tampa area is not really like a smaller knit community like where you are from . . so alas, our running group is more formal and just for getting started than having a ton of raucous fun. *sigh* But I'm still gonna do it. :)

  10. HA!! I can totally envision that scenario... Hashing's definitely not the most family-friendly conversation topic! But at least there are hashers around you so if you're ever feeling, er, extra adventurous (or looking to get extra drunk), now you know you have options. :)

    And I'll be really interested to hear how your first run goes with this group. Who knows? Maybe you'll find a group within the group that likes to party a little more than the rest!!