(Courtesy of Brownfinger)
So then, from beer and bar girls to chocolate milk and early nights. This is how some view the sad progressive demise of the Chiang Mai male hashing community. Indeed, with the ever increasing average age of the proverbial male hasher, it has been said that the wearing of incontenance pants after the run will soon become mandatory to avoid any unpleasant urinary accidents during the circle or on the way home in the songthaew.
While I will quickly add that the above concerns are merely what I have heard others say and are not my own, I will confess to feeling a little worried about quite what to do when setting a male hash run. In fact I have of late somewhat dumbed them down, not in the sense that I think male hashers are dumb sons-of-bitches, although that certainly is true in a number of cases, but in the sense that I have tried to make them easier, taking into account more obvious infirmities and the general dibilitating effects of the ageing process on physical abilities: a wimp/rambo split for a run over 5k, nice trails with no bushwhacking, no nasty hills or shitty shiggy.
So, have I become a little too gentile in my run setting? Is my natural inclination to protect myself and my ageing brothers from the ravages of a traditional male run warranted. Do male hashers want to be mollicoddled in their declining years. I was about to find out! Pro Byte and his evil alter ego, Dr Moriarty, were about to teach me a lesson or two I will do well not to forget!
Lesson number one. Always tell the slowest and most reluctant hashers that the run is a very tough one, that they might not be man enough to complete it, that if they want to have a go then they should arrive and start early. Ahhh, I get it, it plays to their vanity, makes them feel special and more determined than ever not to show any weakness, to complete the run and to demonstrate they can still cope with anything that any stupid hare can lay before them. A masterstoke! No need for a time-consuming wimp/rambo split, and if they collapse on trail then it would be their own stupid fault. After all, they had been warned!
With Frozen Dick and Tiptoe already pumped up and out on the run when we arrived, the hare herded us back into the songthaew and we set off down the road to the B site – an unusual B to A run, then. With a brief hare brief devoid of any instructions about what to do with false trails and the promise of a sub 7k run, we set off happily down the road, with Mr Poo and me running down hill ahead of a typically slow-starting pack. And it was here that Forest-Gump-Poo, for some reason unknown to anyone other than himself, decided to keep on running . . . and running . . . and running . . . seemingly taking no notice whatsover of any checks (or absence of) or calls (or absence of), and that was the last I saw of him until he arrived sweating profusley back at the A having run about 3k further than anyone else. Strange . . .
And then we were off into the forest and trails that Dr Byte had used for his ballbreaker a few years ago. I remembered some of them but certainly not all. Nice trails, until that is we came to the second (I think) false trail which happened not to have been on any discernable trail. Snowballs found it and he wasn’t quite sure what to do, because of course he hadn’t been briefed. I politely advised Snowballs to pick up some paper and reset the trail but because we weren’t on a trail it would have been difficult to reset even for an experienced Chiang Mai hasher, and as Snowballs hadn’t been briefed on how to reset a false trail . . . It was here that I began to feel a tad sorry for those who were behind in the pack. Would they be able to find trail, I wondered?
And then there was the hill of death, almost verticle with a slippery surface, only a few thin trees to steady the pace of descent. Snowballs had already tumbled beautifuly just ahead of the slide, but now it was the turn of that downhill headcase Angry Inch, who descended so fast that he actually took off into space half way down and only just manged to grasp hold of a tree, his momentum swinging his tiny Ewok physique almost 360 degrees before he was forced to let go. He sailed majestically upwards into the atmoshere and then fell hard, straight down into the gully by the side of the trail. OMG, the sickening, appalling noise of the crash, which I was absolutely convinced would result in a smashed skull or at the very least a broken limb. I was concerned. But I needn’t have been. Up popped the little Ewok from the undergrowth, bushing off the stckers from his stumpy legs, and with a shrill war cry on his lips, he ran off like nothing had happened at all. Amazing? Dumb?
Turkey, Turkey, Turkey. The hare had obviously briefed him before the run on how to fuck up every other hasher and “win”, and this the Turk did and almost did with the evil precision and mastery of Dr Moriarty himself. Turkey had somehow managed to worm his way to the front of the pack – way out in front . . . suspicious, I really think so. Off of a circle check, Turkey had taken the only trail available. By the time the rest of us arrived at the check, he had obviously been following paper for about three hundred metres or so without calling. So when he did eventaully call, the obvious line to take was directly towards the call which took us through nasty, waist-high shiggy and on to a water crossing that really couldn’t be made. Piggy correctly kicked out the check and laid paper in the direction of the call, in the direction to that shitty, shitty shiggy. Some of us circled through the deepest part of the shit and eventually found a safe water crossing point and others went back and tried to find Turkey’s trail that headed over a rickey old bridge. Safe to say that we lost a lot of time there while Turkey dissappeared into the distance, and the trail was completely fucked up for all those who followed. It was almost dark. Nice job Turkey.
And then we were heading towars the A site, but with a series of excellent false trails and checks we didn’t seem to be getting any closer to home. I will admit to a sneaky look at the GPS to verify this. I guesstimate that we stayed at a distance of 600m from the A for about 2k of running. What the fuck?
Finally, with an excellent false trail and a clever true trail (sorry Gravy) that brought us out just ahead of the false trail, there was the welome sight of the On In. There was concern that others would struggle to find there way back, particularly as I had not seen Poo since his early eccentricity, and had not seen Frozen Dick and Tiptoe at all. Where the fuck were they? It was very dark! But the hare was not concerned. All would be well in the end. After all, he had warned them. And there was a well-stocked BBQ, and cold beers. We had in fact run about 9k (Poo 11k) and so we sort of tucked into the BBQ and beers with increasing relish and forgot about those left out on the trail . . .
It was very, very dark, but then the stragglers appeared out of the gloom, and I waited for a reaction. But surprise, surprise there were only fist-pumps and smiles, no angry voices. We demolished the rest of the meat and crisps and swilled the cool beer that always tastes its best after a long, hard run. Piggy conducted the circle in a fun and participative manner that has become his wlcome trademark style – good job GM!
So what lessons did I learn from Pro Byte’s run, appart from the excellent way in which to engage those who may not otherwise wish to partake in a tough, long hash that I have already referred to. Well, it is clear that handled correctly you can get away with just about anything. Us old guys might moan a bit but when the chips are down we can still cope with and thoroughly enjoy a traditional, long, tough male run and still be physically able to eat like pigs and drink beer like thirsty camels. You can almost maim a male hasher (Angry Inch), get someone to fuck it all up (Turkey), wear hashers down to the bone physically (9+k – excleent job Frozen/Tippy), and use all forms of dangerous terraine (death slides – waiste-high shiggy) and still we will come back to the A ready for some beers and fun in the circle. Thanks for the lessons hare, I’ll be sure to use them well on my next male hash trail
Great job all round, Pro Byte, or does Dr Moriarty now hold permanent sway over the mind of the most intelligent Chiang Mai hasher . . . mooo-ha-ha-ha!
Long live the male hash! We don’t need no stinking incontence pants – well not quite yet, anyhow!