A couple of years ago I was in a Moroccan restaurant in Atlanta. There were fourteen in our group and the Moroccan manager seated us at a table barely big enough for eight. This, he explained, was the Moroccan way - something to do with the old Moroccan saying "shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart". I don't know if the manager of the Blind Tiger Ale House hails from North Africa, or whether our hares once spent an unforgettable vacation there but there was certainly enough shoulder to shoulder at the On-In to satisfy even the most touchy feely hasher.
A recent write up included advice on how to set trails. Perhaps some advice is needed for future hares on how to select a good On-In location, so here goes.
1) Knowing that the summer hash attracts megapacks, choose a bar where, even if we are the only customers, late arrivals won't fit in and will have to spend the evening on the sidewalk.
2) Choose a bar where there is some other function taking place, a beer tasting contest for example.
3) Make sure the bar has no more than three pitchers.
4) Make sure the music is played at a level where normal conversation is all but impossible.
5) Make sure the bar tender is a right asshole, the type who will turn the music up when we start the down downs.
6) Make sure the only liquid refreshment is Bud Lite or some similar swill.
Our hares scored high marks on the first five but failed miserably on the last. They provided us with as fine a selection of choice ales as I recall seeing on a hash. The dark stout like one with a touch of hazelnut was particularly pleasant. At least I think it was hazelnut. I started on this one somewhat late in the proceedings and the old taste buds had already taken a bit of a beating by then.
The run started at Lex and 51st and headed West, then South, then East, then South again and West again or something like this. We sure turned a lot of corners. We thought the hares had done a good job informing the local media that we would be coming through as the Radio City vicinity was awash with red carpets and photographers. Turned out they were waiting for some guy called Emmy - probably one of those young MTV stars I've never heard of. For the second time since we switched to Wednesday runs we ended up running through Broadway at theater time. This time not only did we have to contend with the usual crowd of theatergoers but, being fleet week, we had the added pleasure of trying not to bump into groups of sailors. At least the sailors, in their radiant white uniforms, stood out, making it less likely that they would be mowed down by Barry. The trail progressed inevitably towards Madison Square and inevitably to a check in the middle thereof and from there, inevitably to Union Square and, surprise, surprise, guess what we found in the middle of there? By now I had cottoned on to the fact that the hares were going for the most original run of the year award and I considered simply running over to the inevitable check in the middle of inevitable Washington Square. Just as well I didn't as they managed to bypass this completely and finish the trail over on Hudson St.
We hashers are a critical lot. What a lot of whining at the On-In about the length of the trail. I hadn't started my hashing career when Basil set his famous 19 mile run but this week's run must have been a light stroll in comparison. As trail master I feel it my duty to offer a solution to the 'long run problem'. Most weeks at the On-In you will see a lady with a little black book cornering hashers and feverishly writing things in the book. Her name is Lisa and she is our hare raiser. She is also very approachable. Just go up to her and say "Hallo. My name is ....... I would like to set a trail. I will make it nice and short, have easy checks and choose an On-In with good beer". Another solution is come to the Brooklyn Hash, famous world wide as the better beer hash with shorter runs. Yet another solution is the good old chicken and eagle, guaranteed to please everyone. The marathoners and health freaks can run to their hearts' content and the wimps and "I'm only here for the beer" types can get a head start on the beer. Let's hear it for the chicken and eagle!
The beer flowed copiously before hash cash was exhausted. This was down to the pitchers being only $8 each, a first class example of the art of negotiating with bar owners. It was also helped by one group deciding that, since they couldn't fit into the bar and there was a beady eyed cop outside examining the contents of every glass that emerged from the bar, they would move on to some other location. This meant they missed the arrival of a group of jolly Jack Tars who explained that they do something very similar to hashing every time they arrive in port. Apparently it consists of running round the streets, stopping every now and then for a beer or three. What an odd way to behave. They were duly invited to Monday's Queens hash but whether they will remember this once they sober up is another thing. As a final note it was good to see former JM Laird back running again. Since Christmas we have only seen him a few times, hobbling around with a miserable look on his face. Most people in rehab start with a few minutes and slowly build up to their former superfit state. Not our Laird. First time out and it's a mini marathon. Sorry, I mean an excellent trail that was arguably a tad on the long side.
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