Last updated: 9 May 1995
The following was lifted from Mustang Sally of Pike’s Peak H3. Minor editing has rendered it applicable to New York.
A “hash” is a sporting event based on the old English game of “hare and hounds.” The hare sets the trail using hash marks and the hounds attempt to follow.
Attempt is the key word, as the hare tries their best to confuse, confound and bamboozle the hounds. Anything goes in a hash, but the one constant is beer: before, during and after the hash, in copious quantities.
The trail is usually indicated by a series of hash “marks” layed down in flour, chalk, kool-aid, lime or whatever is handiest. There are some fairly standard marks but each hash “club” is free to interpret or embellish on these at will.
A blob of flour or an arrow This mark indicates that you are on trail (maybe). It depends, in some clubs on how many you see (3 and you are definitely “on”)–other clubs ignore that custom early and often. It also depends on what marks you see following this one. For example,
False (F or three lines) This marks indicates you are on a false trail. You must have been using your brain: don’t! Go back to the last time you saw a check mark or just run around aimlessly hoping to pick up trail at random–your choice.
“What’s a check mark?”, you ask?
Check (Cross or X or Circle with X or Circle by itself) The check mark indicates that the trail has come to an abrupt halt. Where does it go? To find out you must run around at random looking for trail marks and hoping they don’t end in false marks.
Pack Arrow This arrow with a line beyond the arrowhead was left by some hound who thinks that they are on trail. They may be. They may not be. Do you really trust someone with a disgusting name and an unending tolerance for beer?
Double-headed Arrow Well, some harriets declare that two heads are better than one, but if you see this mark it means they trail goes in either direction pointed to. Pick one. Give it a shot. Be sure and yell “On-On!” really loudly if you think you have found the true trail.
This mark, or lack thereof, indicates that you are not on trail. You may be lost or you may be short-cutting or you just may be long-cutting. Just don’t yell “On-On!”, cuz you ain’t. Of course, when hashing in Manhattan, there are those who argue that you can never be lost, you just don’t know where you are. This doesn’t apply to the other boroughs.
You lucky SOB! This mark indicates that beer is near! You are either near the end (although some hashers are notoriously unable to understand the concept “near”) or you are near the beer check. In any case, soon you will have access to beer.
ON-IN or ON-HOME or HHH (Home Home Home) You have found the end of the trail and will be rewarded by being allowed to drink beer.