G2FMH3 Hash # 161 – Friday, January 21st , 2005
Mis-management: JMs: “Kyle” & Mean Jean The Down Down Machine
Religious Advisor: “Scot” and “Danny”
Parliamentarian: Sarah Downunder and Pearl Necklace
On-Sec: Mickey Mouth
Sergeant-at-Arms: Crazy Bob
Stats: Hares: Scooter and Crazy Bob and Friends
Start: 86th and Central Park West
On-In: Carriage House
Punk Ass Bitch (Scribe): Mickey Mouth
Whenever people find out that I grew up in Manhattan, they inevitably ask me, “wow, what was that like?” What they don’t realize is that the glorious shiny center of the universe Manhattan of today is not the same humble animal that I romped around with as a straight and narrow wayward youth. New York was a dangerous crime ridden fleebag of a place in the 70’s and 80’s. The streets were littered with drunks and drug addicts. Hookers roamed the fringe beats like 86th street. There were more tits and ass on 42nd Street than Broadway lights. And the parks? Washington Square Park? Thompkins Square Park? Graffiti, broken benches and dog shit. Chock-full of druggies, hippies and the homeless. Central Park? Are you fucking kidding me? Going into Central Park at night? I would feel scared even walking on 5th Avenue. Life was summed up nicely in the lyrics of The Rolling Stone’s “Shattered” written in 1978:
Don’t you know the crime rate is going up, up, up, up, up
To live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough!
You got rats on the west side, Bed bugs uptown
What a mess this town’s in tatters I’ve been shattered
My brain’s been battered, splattered all over Manhattan
Uh-huh, this town’s full of money grabbers
Go ahead, bite the Big Apple, don’t mind the maggots, huh
Luckily, my grade school provided us with an assortment of weapons for defense. We were taught NEVER talk to strangers. To yell, “this is not my daddy” if being abducted. If someone asks for the time, you continue walking even if you do tell them. It’s a ploy to see the type of watch you have. NEVER go in Central Park at night. Walk in the middle of the sidewalk. DO NOT stagger, even if drunk. Never look people in the eye. Don’t trust the cops. Aim for the penis and/or eyes when throwing a punch or kick. Always carry a ‘mugger twenty’. A $20 bill handy so a mugger won’t shoot you. Keep your keys in your hand, one nice long one sticking out between your fingers, ready for a good punch.
It was these memories and warnings that broke the floodgates and awashed my thoughts as I ran through Central Park on my lonesome, straining desperately to hear a, any, please? comforting ‘on on’ in the distance. How did I get myself into this precarious situation you ask?
We started off at the corner of 86th and CPW. No comments on the West side will be forthcoming. I thought I was late but when I got there it was only the hares. Hmmm. Usually extreme weather hashes get a lot of runners. But the rather large troop eventually hobbled over finding it difficult to leave the warm booze embrace of the bar to enter the –20 below freeze outside. Scooter went a-explaining about chicken and eagles and if one was actually longer then the other. I can’t remember; I never can pay attention to his korinthenkuckeric lectures.
And they’re off! I wasn’t planning on shortcutting this trail. Being the flashlight trail, like the famous Mickey Mouth and the Mouthketeer riddle trails, it’s better to stick together. But I got lost immediately and found myself alone at a check. So there I was, running alone, in the park, after dark, by myself, in the woods, with no one around. Yikes. The Ross Pinetum began to feel like the apple orchard in Wizard of Oz! Fear not, O trees, I will not pick your apples! I started running back to the check hoping to ‘onon’ some hashers. I met up with Scooter, of all people. He likes to patrol his hashes. I, for one, was a grateful little bird looking for a worm of direction. “I am not sure where the others are, but you are on the right trail,” he advised me. So I went back to the woods west of the Great Lawn to try and find the toilet paper. Not easy when it’s dark. My toes were numb and my feet felt like boards of wood. Brief episodes from London’s To Build a Fire snowballed through my head. Surely it cannot be that cold, I assured myself. I must keep moving…Finally the pack caught up with me and we went up to Belveder Castle (did you know the castle can be visited now, up to the third floor!! Even on the weekends!). But again I lost them at a check. When I returned, Devo was gone and there was no more ‘onon’s in the distance. I ain’t running through the ramble by myself. No way, no how. Someone might mistake my bundled-up self for a man looking for a ramble rumble. There is a limit to my madness, there must be. So I ran east and skirted the ramble and the Lake. Passed the Boat House and over to Bethesda Terrace. All along I would hear distant ‘onon’s. Comforting and yet not so comforting as I ran with frozen stumps of feet thinking about lines of poems like Robert Lowell’s Central Park:
We beg delinquents for our life.
Behind each bush, perhaps a knife;
Or remembering facts like in the 70’s Central Park average at least 900 felonies a year.
When one sense goes numb, I hear, the other ones become sharper. Now whether it was my sense of touch or my common sense that went numb, up for debate. But either way, my hearing became sharp as a tack as I determined the ‘onon’s were from the west side of the ramble. I bid adieu to the Angel of the Waters and ran west. I finally saw them, moonlit outlines in the distance running in the hills near the western wall. Through Strawberry Fields and along the Bridle Path. It was a beautiful site and I thought I was overcome with emotion as my eyes began to water. I realized though it was the cold and perhaps I better get moving. I ran south with the pack and picked up the trail as it headed East to Sheep’s Meadow. Here again I found myself alone as I attempted the devious check near the Mall. But I was determined to stay with the pack and followed them now on the Eastern wall of Richard Morris Hunt going to, what else? The slide. Should be renamed Scooter’s place. And we slid right into a little drop of warm heaven. Glog, pronounced Glug. A wonderfully warming and potent alcoholic beverage from Scandinavia. Similar to Gluehwine in Germany and Mulled wine in England. Brought back cherished memories from childhood as I winded my way around swaying adults serving appetizers to my parents’ drunken friends at my mom’s Christmas glog parties. Ahhh.
But enough! We are on a mission and must not dilly dally about! Back on the trail, we ran to the zoo where we had more climbing and then finally hit the streets. I made it out alive! Another successful brush with death! Oh Hades, you old tease you! There was more running around and finally to the onin of Carriage House. An old favorite of the hash and especially to me as I could stumble home a mere three blocks away.
The hashers came in groups but all eventually got there. A rumor was spread that Mean Jean fell in the water, but this turned out to be a crock. It was hard going at first as all we could get out of our frozen mouths was “guth wun.” Lots of beer was needed to warm us up, mentally, as we shoved and prodded our way in the back. The circle was called and the hares honored, Scooter and Crazy Bob along with some helpers. Virgins of which there were three. Or four. Downdowns again to the virgins for calling the hotline right away and telling Gash. To Lunch for the running blindly into a fence. Crofty got one for continuing the freezing flashlight hash even thought he didn’t set it. And someone fell into the water as well. All in good fun. Beer flowed freely for most of the night. I was almost knocked over by the booty dancing and Crazy Bob follies. There was just enough pizza for the hungry mob. Lots of civilians, even a couple virgin civilians. The hash cash ran out and with that eventually people started leaving. I staggered home, swaying. Mr. D’Elotra would not be proud, but this city is now the new and improved New York. Go ahead, bite the Big Apple. On out.