I don’t even know his name! And I probably had private dialogue for less than four hours over fifteen years. Still, I found myself driving the hundred-mile round trip to Torrance South High School to meet about 275 fellow “Hashers”, gathering to honor a living, paraplegic, cancer victim named Fungus Amungus who decided to go out in style, with friends. It gives one pause.
The trail went past a Catholic Church, which seemed fitting enough so I paused for a prayer. “Is it all right, Father, to drink beer while I’m praying?” “No, my son, that would be most inappropriate.” “Well, Father, would it be all right if I prayed while drinking beer?” “Oh, that would be most appropriate. As a matter of fact I have heard that God receives many petitions while people are engaged in sex.”
I found myself joining the Orange County group of Hash House Harriers some 35 years ago, mostly because the group was composed of several Marines who were patients of mine at MCAS El Toro or the Helicopter Base at Tustin. We were a motley crew of about 20 who gathered somewhere in developing South OC on alternating Saturday mornings to do the ritual Fox and Hounds trail started by ex-pat Brits in Kuala Lumpur in 1936. And, like the originals, we met afterwards to drink beer, sing rowdy songs, and as the group began to attract women (not difficult when you have a bunch of Marines), loudly proclaim our desire for them to “Show us your tits.”
That, by the way, was Fungus’ only request at this, his last Hash. His tee-shirt proclaimed, “Show me your tits. I’m not dead yet.” There seemed no reluctance to grant his final wish.
Today’s group included runners (mostly walkers these days) from the OC Hash House Harriers, LA HHH, Long Beach H3, Fungus’ own Full Moon H3, and, as I found out from the shouts of proud participants, San Diego H3, Santa Clarita H3, Humping Hash and probably several more of the twenty-some Hash between Santa Barbara and San Diego. I spoke to new friend MIA (who suspects her name was bequeathed because she used to skip the On-Ons that followed the runs), and she was interested in my experience running with the Washington DC Hash Groups, which include the Great Falls Hash (mostly CIA types), the DC Harriettes (started as an all-woman group) and the DC H3, the first Hash on U.S. soil. While flattering, her attention could have gone to many in the group who have done Internation and National Inter-Hashes. My own name (a name is given on your sixth run) is DrDeeKay, fitting title for a dentist named Dee. I have met more than a dozen Dr “Somethings” in my travels, one who was in the porn industry. Expands the definition of professionalism.
I just finished listening to a book by Christopher Buckley, “Losing Mum and Pup”. A fascinating story with some good suggestions about making arrangements for your own passing. His story gives lie to the adage, “If you want a big crowd at your funeral, die young.” So many wanted to be part of the ceremony for 83 year-old William F. Buckley, Jr. that son Cristo had to refuse a eulogy offer from the then sitting Vice President, Dick Cheney at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I can only remember two funerals of OC Hashers, a young Marine called Sugartits and a Brewmeister named Yeast Infection. I hope I will have opportunity to attend Fungus’. I more hope that Hashers will be at my own.
There is a general belief that you can’t buy friendship. Witnessing the events of today, I would demure. Fungus, like many Hashers, bought friendship by giving gifts: gifts like listening, caring, and most of all sharing: experiences, travels, stories, and, in the case of the Hash, anonymity and the lack of competition it allows.
Any Hashers out there?