I made corned beef hash once from scratch. Mick went bonkers over it and declared there was none better. Yet when I make boiled Irish he refuses to leave enough corned beef for me to make hash again. He insists that the boiled dinner is simply too yummy to stop short of a groaning distended bellyful. There’s some kind of life lesson in there about the wisdom of putting off present pleasure for later joy or some such but frankly I can’t be bothered to suss it out.
‘Hash House’ is the name of Kiki Kavanaugh’s theater in Judith Krantz’s ‘Princess Daisy’. A book I’ve read at least a couple dozen times. I do not scorn ‘chick lit’ and romance novels pro forma as a feminist. In fact I loathe the pink ghetto of ‘chick lit’ and ‘chick flicks’. Why is escapist fantasy gendered anyhow? But it is. Boy howdy, it is. And if we are to adhere to the gendered tropes, why are male fantasies (suave spies, heroes of every stripe from incorruptible Old West sheriffs to loveable rogues to Terminator-esque vigilantes), why are they okay if women’s are not? Why is a Xena or Cinderella or Hermione Granger or Princess Daisy such a smirk-worthy, disrespected object of mirth? Without the steady profits from romance series and cozies most print publishing houses would be dead broke within months. That ‘laughable’ chick lit and those ‘too cute’ cozy mystery stories are what keep print companies in the black! And yet only the books about and by men get respect and the goddamn front table at B&N. Gah!
Hashish isn’t wholly unknown to me, but it’s not a beloved favorite either. In the late 70s weed was so ubiquitous that it was never necessary to hunt down a high. And truly when I smoke(d) it wasn’t about how high I could get or the so-called ‘purity’ of the high. Weed is for relaxing. It’s to feel hungry enough to eat when my self-loathing and my various eating disorders are bullying me to starve and feel virtuous about it. Weed is to prompt the creativity and the libido. So hash was never a biggie. Expensive. Complicated. Bleh. I do not care for either of those. Plus the idea of getting too high is scary to me. To be wrecked beyond my ability to control the situation is stupid. It invites all manner of insults and encroachments. Unlike Blanche DuBois, I never want to depend on the kindness of strangers. At least not when I’m vulnerable. So, hash? Nah.
Hashtags. For one thing this # is a pound sign. Its purpose is to close a series of numbers when dealing with telephone octopuses. “Please enter your 85 digit serial number followed by the pound sign.” Also I don’t tweet. I’ve signed up for Twitter twice and lost interest before the first hour both times. I don’t mind brevity, I appreciate the concise. It’s the stinking IMMEDIACY of Twitter. “Pay attention! Right now! Notify 1,598 of your closest friends about this NOW!” What? Really? I’d like to think on this, and check sources, and anyhow I’ve ‘spoken’ to everybody I’m electronically connected with already today. Can this keep until tomorrow? “NO! RETWEET THIS NOW GODDAMNIT! IT’S FUCKING IMPORTANT!” This is what Twitter feels like to me. It’s a gun pressed to my temple. I hate it.
Definition 2 for ‘hash’ in Merriam-Webster is: to talk about : review —often used with over or out hash over a problem hashing out their differences. This is my favorite. Very few things satisfy me as much as consensus. Which is not the same as capitulating or total agreement. Consensus means all the angles and all the possibilities have been looked at and extrapolated out to logical conclusions. Then a course of action is agreed upon. It might not be exactly anyone’s perfect solution but it’s the one that makes the most sense and does the most good (or least harm) for pretty much everyone involved. And to reach a consensus there must be a hashing out. Yes, there must be thrashing about. Yes, there must be odd sidebars and tangents. Yes, sharp blades and high heat are involved. But eventually everything is diced enough, enough potatoes and onions and spices and butter are put in, and then all the things are pressed down together against the heat and the end result is delicious. It’s crusty and tender and spicy and chewy and fucking satisfying. Because it’s hash. Nobody gets the whole thing but everybody gets something. And together it makes more than its disparate parts, and more than it had been before all the dicing and slicing and mixing and heat.
I like that. I like it a lot.
Much love from your hungry friend, ~LA