NYCH3 # 1088 – Polar Bear Hash

NYCH3 #1088

ANNUAL POLAR BEAR HASH

Date: January 16, 2005

Start:  Peggy O’Neil’s, Coney Island

Hares:  Fluffy

On-in:  Peggy O’Neil’s, Coney Island

Scribe:  Mean Jean

 

 

Usually, it is the rides in and out to the Polar Bear Hash that tend to tell the tale and the 2005 event was no exception. My own auspicious start this year began with meeting oink-hatted Cockstar outside the subway. She was laden with Fosters Oil Cans (bitter is better) and after meeting Jumping Jack Gash at the F train, we boarded, bagged the bitter, and began the bad behavior as we bywayed out to Brooklyn.  Mid-journey, probably somewhere around the 15th stop, we noticed Steamer Baldwin at the other end of our car. Steamer proceeded to completely dis our calls to join us (could it be that we were acting like idiot drunks on the subway? Naaaahhhhh!). Instead he buried himself back into his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.  About 3/4 of the way there, we noticed that Cockstar was wearing two different sneakers (more on this later) and the childish giggling that thereafter ensued made us believe that indeed drinking beer from straws made you drunker faster. (Or is it drinking an oil can at 1:30 in the afternoon after only eating a bowl of cheerios just plain makes you drunk…I dunno; you tell me.)

polar bears

 

Once we landed at Peggy O’Neils we found a few pre-lubers well into the Brooklyn Lager. Andrew and Sarah Downunder (who was also tugging from her hipflask full of hot toddy), Dave from Long Island, Fireman Bob (where the hell have you been?), among others, and so we tucked in too. The polar hashers continued to arrive…Wet Connection, Sideshow, Yello Smello, Drew and Chad, Ed Lunch, Head Up Ass, Lizzzzzzz, Meatballs, Maria and Shaina, and so on…

 

Time was finally called and we were instructed that there was a chicken/eagle split and that was about it for instrux. Off we went into the bitter wind, away from the ocean, across a big-ass highway, and to the right (the extent of my Brookie geographic knowledge! That’s what you get for taking me away from my Manhattan grids!). We chickens found ourselves circling back the way we came and off we trundled back to the bar after a brief 20 minute or so r*n.  Sarah and I ran into two late arrivals, Joyce and Nona, on our way back and were impressed with their dedication to the trail as we both agreed we’d have just turned around when we saw us coming. The eagles, I understand, were treated to a housing project (oh my!) before their return just a few minutes later.

 

The true porpoise of the hash kicked in quite quickly after the trail and everyone gathered up their warm and snugglies and made their way out to the beach. Meatballs headed out in his shorts along with a newbie chick (maybe Ann?) who had actually run the trail in shorts, claiming her legs never get cold which hardly explained their purplish hue but never mind. At the beach the madness ensued as one after another of the best and brightest of New York City and Brooklyn H3 dashed into the ocean. Ed and Andrew were early adopters. Fireman Bob, the Hermiller Brothers followed.  Ever prepared Cockstar (was she a boy scout? Or did she just do a boy scout at some point?), went wearing Tevas after being buttressed by a shot of Chivas.  Meatballs, JJG, Maria and Shaina holding hands, Dave Too Long was a bit late to the party but a polar bear none the less. Aw hell, just about everybody went in. Easier to mention the sane, warm ones among us: myself, HUA, hare Fluffy, Yello Smello… Double dunkers included Andrew and I think Fireman Bob, who gladly escorted skeptical ladies. Highlight however was when Nona needed convincing to take a dip and after JJG and HUA worked on her for a while, she proceeded to strip and when I say strip, I mean, full frontal and rearal. Talk about exposure!

 

The 500 yard retreat back to the bar began and soon we were all back in the bosom of warmth, some us less testicled than before but ready to drink just the same. Unfortunately the bar wasn’t ready for us as just about every beer on tap was dry or just plain skanky! (Webster’s defines skanky as “tastes like ass” in case you were wondering.) The Guinness seemed okay and bottles of Bud filled in the rest of the gap enough to get the party started.  And in a show of cross-borough solidarity, NYC JM Dave Too Long and Brookie JM Wet Connection took charge of the circle.  Hare Fluffy was off on a mission of mercy picking up food so we started with the virgins: Dave, Ann, Kristy and Dave (um, haven’t I told you we have too many Daves already!). Next everyone who went into the water was called but when that seemed untenable (especially given the beer sitch), those who failed to dive were called instead. The annual best shrinkage award was doled out. A tie to Andrew, Fireman Bob and perennial favorite in this horse race (or should it be pony race?), Ed Lunch. Nona’s on-beach nakedness was rewarded with a hash name of Beach Beaver Bingo. And now onto poor Cockstar. Remember those mixed pair of Reeboks? Well, as the two different old shoes was a direct result of trying to avoid a new shoe down down  by digging back into her closet for old shoes, she was made to drink out of them. Ah well. A lesson to us all: it’s not nice to fool your JM. AOTW was awarded to Steamer, not for his mean-spirited dissing on the subway, but for the other egregious act of taking advantage of a wet, cold hash pack by selling NAWW sweatshirts at an NYC/Brookie event. Finally our hare arrived and before we could tuck into the deepfried chicken parts, he had to do his haring down down plus another for failing to ever take a dip in the Atlantic at his own hash!

 

Yours truly took early train home but I do understand the usual Polar Bear what-the-fuck-I’m-stuck-out-in-Brooklyn-so-I-might-as-well-get-hammered-anyway shenanigans occurred (despite the lack of Karaoke this year) including but not limited to cartwheels from Shaina, Maria, and JJG, complete slurry Cockstar drunkenness, on-knee slides across the length of the bar, and subway ride pole dancing.

 

And now some helpful tips and inspiration from an official Polar Bear Website (with a little Mean Jean-isms thrown in for good measure):

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Cold Water Swimming

Q:  What Happens When You Jump Into Cold Water?

Sudden immersion in ice cold water can result in an involuntary gasp followed by 1 – 3 minutes of involuntary hyperventilation. Specific data are: 2.0 liter gasp in 82o water and 3.0 liter gasp in 50o water (i.e. nearly your entire lung volume), and in 50o water a 600 – 1,000 percent increase in ventilation (air in and out) in the first minute. This hyperventilation results in a profound lowering of blood carbon dioxide levels and a raising of blood pH levels.

Q:  What Happens When You Attend Fluffy’s Polar Bear On In?

Sudden immersion in a bar with no tap beer can result in an involuntary gasp followed by 1 – 3 minutes of involuntary hyperventilation. Specific data are: 2.0 liter gasp when the Brooklyn lager runs out and 3.0 liter gasp when bottles of Bud are replaced by Bud Light (i.e. nearly your entire lung volume), and when the Guinness is depleted a 600 – 1,000 percent increase in ventilation (air in and out) in the first minute. This hyperventilation results in a profound lowering of blood alcohol levels and a raising of tempers and anger.

Q:  Is Winter Swimming Dangerous?

The strain placed on the heart are not likely to be a problem for a healthy, fit person but may be dangerous for those with underlying heart disease or hypertension. Professor William R. Keating from the University of London indicates that there is little health risk in cold-water swimming unless a person starts suddenly at an old age.

Q:  Is Winter Hashing Dangerous?

The strain placed on the liver is not likely to be a problem for a healthy, fit alcoholic runner but may be dangerous for those with underlying intelligence or whininess. Professor William R. Keating from the University of London indicates that there is little health risk in cold-weather hashing unless a person starts suddenly at an old age.   Ed?

Benefits of becoming a Polar Bear Member

1)      Shocking the circulatory system can produce a warm afterglow and a transcendental state that one literally needs to experience to fully understand.

2)      It is a spiritually uplifting ritual which can surpass any normal level of comprehension.

3)        It can reduce wrinkles.    Drastic temperature changes and shivering skin actually exercise shallow sub-cutaneous muscles that firm the skin.

4)      You become part of history rooted in the European tradition of saunas and cold-water bathing.

5)      Jumping in near-freezing water wearing little more than a pair of shorts takes a brave soul.

6)      Participants build a sense of camaraderie and valued friendships that can last a lifetime.

7)      It helps mentally by shortening the winter season and lifts bouts of depression. 

8)      It’s a heck of lot cheaper and safer than walking on coals.

Benefits of becoming a Polar Bear Hasher

1)      Feeding the liver can produce a warm afterglow and a transcendental state that one literally needs to experience to fully understand.

2)      It is a spiritually uplifting ritual which can surpass any normal level of comprehension. And, in fact, if you hash long enough, you will no longer be capable of comprehension of any kind.

3)      It can reduce wrinkles.  Drastic temperature changes and shivering skin actually exercise shallow sub-cutaneous muscles that firm the skin.  Um, again I ask, Ed?

4)      You become part of history rooted in the British tradition of acting like a drunken idiot.

5)      Jumping in near-freezing water wearing little more than a pair of shorts takes a brave set of frank and beans.

6)      Participants build a sense of camaraderie and valued friendships that can last a lifetime. That is until someone else starts sleeping with your ex and you become bitter and angry.

7)      It helps mentally by shortening the winter season and lifts bouts of depression. Until you sink into a depressive alcoholic binge. But, um, that hardly ever happens.

8)      It’s a heck of lot cheaper and safer than walking on coals. That is unless you’re JJG (tragic hashing trampoline injury), Booty Call (tragic post-hash ass slicing), Cockstar (tragic on trail fall resulting in shoulder injury and tragic post-hash cheese-slicing accident), HUA (tragic post-hash fall on ice), WC (not enough room for all those injuries), Mean Jean (tragic on in bar dancing ankle sprain)…Shall I go on?

On out.

 


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