Jogging While Intoxicated

Just in time for the worst storm in recorded history, Unreal catches up to Hash House Harriers, the drinking club with a running problem

Chalk Talk dispensed with, everyone in the circle shouts out their Hash Name and Postage Tramp gives the Sacred Blessing: The Hares kneel before him, and Postage sprinkles flour on their heads and wishes them Safe Trail. "Tonight that means not getting hit by lightning," says Shiggy.

The Big Hump has never canceled a hash — not for an emergency, and certainly not for weather. "Like the postal service," says Postage Tramp, who ought to know.

Fifteen minutes later Postage blows his whistle and the pack takes off around the corner of Menard and Shenandoah, just as the rain begins pelting down.

Any port in a storm: Big Hump neophyte Just Jerry leads 
the pack
Jennifer Silverberg
Any port in a storm: Big Hump neophyte Just Jerry leads the pack
Suck My Bag shares an intimate moment with Just Susan 
(to be known henceforth as Do My Butt).
Jennifer Silverberg
Suck My Bag shares an intimate moment with Just Susan (to be known henceforth as Do My Butt).

The first marker, an arrow, is a cinch to spot just one block west. We hang a right and head up Eleventh Street, straight into the north wind, which is growing stronger by the second.

Two blocks ahead someone spots a fading Check — translation: Trail splits off in any one of four directions. Four of the sprinters — probably marathon runners — dart ahead looking for Trail, as they call it, but the flour and chalk have disappeared in the rain.

We circle several blocks and jog in place beside Soulard Market as the rain torpedoes down. We exchange sighs and grunts. "Man," moans a Hasher. This pack is lost.

Eventually a Hasher who knows the Beer Stop location rejoins the pack and yells: "To the Cat's Meow!"

It's every Hasher for himself now, racing past swaying stop signs and out of the path of falling tree limbs.

"See, Hashing is perfect for situations like this, because there are no rules," yells Meta Arsehole as we round a corner and close in on the tavern. Two steps before Unreal arrives, a wind gust blows us into a newspaper stand, then sideways onto the bar's stoop.

Twenty Hashers make it into the bar before the rain begins rushing past in horizontal sheets. "Ooooh!" they purr gleefully when, moments later, the power goes out.

Pitchers of Budweiser are flowing. A round of "Meet the Hashers" draws laughs from the bartenders. Every few minutes a Hasher or two step outside to shoot pictures of themselves surviving the storm.

Next door a tree has fallen on a truck, and downed branches have made a maze of the street. Whiney Bi+ch (232 Hashes) cracks about the array of erect nipples showing through soaked Hasher shirts. "Ah, the ambiance," Postage revels.

Just before the rain lets up, a police car races west on Sidney Street. "That could be Hashers up there!" Shiggy yells with alarm. It is finally becoming apparent that maybe not every Big Hump member has made it safely to the Beer Stop.

Before long, however, PMS and Dapper Sapper arrive, reporting that they saw street signs blow over. Bama Mate, Famous Anus and Meathead straggle in, having taken shelter on a stoop not far from the bar. Lazy Ass and Just Frank show up unfazed; they'd stayed behind at Meta's. And here comes Duzzy Cum, who witnessed a building façade collapse on a car and ended up all the way over on Gravois Avenue at Hodak's.

"At one point I did, like, a Gilligan's Island move around a lamppost," he'll later relate. "And then I saw this tree — its limbs were gone. There were no branches on it anywhere. I'm like: 'What the fuck?'"

There's little chance of restarting Trail now, the weather having moved everyone several steps closer to shitfaced. On the short trot back to the On In party at Meta's, Just Anthony steps on a power line and singes his shoelace, just as a TV antenna plunges from a rooftop onto the sidewalk in front of him.

"Hot damn!" he shouts. And keeps running.

The Big Hump convenes back on Menard in one last circle for the weekly awards and naming rites. Postage Tramp, the RA, whistles and yells in an attempt to keep the Hump's attention focused. (Think back to the eighth grade. Now think back to the last hour of the last day of school.)

Awards for the FRBs (Front-Running Bastards) go to Hopeless, Anthrax Tampax and Lazy Ass. Follow the Urine Trail and Duzzy Cum get DFLs (Dead Fucking Last). "Awards," in this case, amount to a song that ends with "Drink it down, down, down, down," as the recipient chugs a beer.

The Hump moves along to the most revolting ritual of the evening, in which Hashers receive headbands to commemorate their anniversary runs. Anthrax Tampax and Puss 'n' Boobs, celebrating their 71st and 10th runs, respectively, kneel in front of Queen of the Pussies and Viper Snatch, who stick headbands down their pants, gyrate grotesquely, then rub the headbands over the honorees' noses and, finally, tie the headbands onto their heads. All the while, the Circle sings (to a remastered tune of the U.S. Field Artillery March, "The Caissons Go Rolling Along;" as with so many things Hash, it helps to think Girl Scout campout gone horribly wrong):

You can tell by the smell

that she isn't feeling well

When the end of the month comes around.

You can bet it ain't sweat

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