Houston Hash gets a Humpty Dumbass

My buddy broke his leg. I broke a vow. He considered this an even trade.

I have been running with this group called the Hash Hound Harriers. If you are not in the know, their concept is simple: follow the rabbit and drink along the way. They are a multinational organization with independently operated cells across the globe, like terrorists except for the drinking part. I mentioned that. Drinking. It almost needs to be mentioned again. And I am sure it will be.

The “hare” lays flour along his tracks. The rest of the group chases him. Every once in a while (1.5 miles give or take) they “beer check” you. That means you drink. At the end of the route is a keg and a circle and songs and dancing and shit talking and cuttin up. That means you drink more. It’s fun.

Right before that, the more drinking and singing and circle stuff, is when my buddy took a dive off a 12 foot wall.

This was not the normal hash run. It was actually a bike ride. They have all of these different variations in the 40 plus years the Houston Chapter has been active. They call the bike version the “Cychohash.” We rode 12 miles (really 15 because we lost trail for a bit and wandered in circles) ending at these abandoned grain silos along the bayou. You could climb up inside of them through this hole and a rope on the back side. I won’t say it takes too much of an adventurer to explore this, but evidently it does take enough of one since most of these hashers chose to stay on the ground.

And these people chase other people through the woods and back alleys of the city and the more “shiggy” a trail means more water and weeds and mud and forest obstacles. When a 12 year looked up the pipe, grabbed the rope and started his ascent with nobody following behind, I had a sudden revelation: There is a difference between an athlete and an adventurer.

I joined H4 because I thought it would be adventurous. Sometimes it is, but for the most part these guys are all athlete. I am not an athlete. Athletes were the guys who kicked my ass in highschool. I had a rude reminder of this at their New Years party. I felt like the social outcast nerd that crashed the jock frat party except they had grown up a little. They served better beer, they played terrible music on a soundsystem that could not handle it and instead of pushing me around they just ignored me and forgot that they knew who I was. Happy twenty twelve!

A few Hashers cross over into the adventurer athlete realm of the Vann Diagram. So, what’s the difference? An athlete is trying to win. An adventurer does it because it is there. Athletes avoid danger. Adventure seekers dive headlong into it. Athletes want speed. They want to hurry and get there. Adventurers crave the journey.

This pipe and silo was not at all the leg breaker of my buddy. Humpy Dumpty climbed a wall. He did not so much as fall as he did drop a couple feet from a hanging position and land awkward. He heard it snap. He saw it dangling. He shouted the only name he knew. Some of the crew heard him. It was a couple of women I met earlier. We had shaken hands and introduced ourselves. I remembered both of their crazy nicknames given to veteran Hashers who have done stupid things in the past to get those names. As my friend shouted my name they asked him, “Whose that?” Go figure. Nerd in the frat house.

Oh, they know my name now. They yelled for a medic. Nobody officially stepped up while everyone wanted to do their part in helping, which mostly included snapping pics of him on the ground with their cell phone cameras. I observed for a second to see if anyone was more qualified than my meager Eagle Scout wilderness survival skills. They weren’t.

“Step back,” I said. “Don’t move him. I need two sticks and some rope.”

Nobody moved. I was still not important enough. I found the sticks myself and used my scarf belt to stabilize the wood on either side of his leg. I normally wear a faerie scarf belt. This time was no different. You never know when you may need to tie something up. I used the scarf to brace the wood on either side of the fracture. This ex-navy dude whips out a cord of manilla from the trunk of his car. Together we bound him up with bowlines and half hitches and a square knot for good measure.

“No ambulance,” my buddy cried, “No insurance.” It looked like we were doing this ourselves.

Once his leg was immobilized so as not to exacerbate the break, three tough guys fireman carried him to the back of the hare’s car while I called his girlfriend. She followed us to the Methodist Hospital. We checked him into the emergency room.

Nurses and Doctors from other floors gathered round to look at my handiwork. I was proud. They even left the splint on to take the x rays. As proud as I was showing everyone pictures and retelling the story, that pride was missing one persons validation. I called my dad. Part of me did it to tell him about the experience (read: adventure). The other part, the part I did not realize until I was actually talking to him, was that I wanted to thank him for providing me with the skills to take control of a situation like this with adequate knowledge and calmness to handle it correctly.

How did I break a vow? I said I was not going to go to Ruddyards, a dive bar my broken ankles friend frequents, the biggest reason he is always broke, and just as big a reason he has enough weight sensitivity issues to not want to be called Humpty

Dumbass. Of course he went there that night. He needed some comfort food in the vein of 151 and coke. Yeah, I went inside to clink glasses with his stupid ass and break my vow.

He told me, “Alright. We’re even now, but I guess that ski trip is off, huh?”

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