Before Movember started, we here at Team Tallsome/The Bro Journey discussed who would be our motivations, our North Stars amongst the stars of the night sky to guide us through this journey into dark, uncharted territory, our sherpas to help us climb this mountain of manliness, the wind beneath our mustaches if you will. And in time we came up with a whole slew of candidates: Tom Selick, Catfish Hunter, Teddy Roosevelt, The Pringles Guy, and the Walrus from Alice In Wonderland. Yet, when time came to pick our sensei for this month long vision quest, the answer was staring at us from behind a plate of bacon and eggs placed along side a goblet of whiskey on top of a mahogany desk (that he no doubt carpentered himself): Ron F*cking Swanson.
You see over the years we’ve been graced by many manly men on the small and silver screen alike – Brett Favre, Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock, Captain Kirk, Han Solo, Hansel from Zoolander (“He’s so hot right now.”) – but none of them lack the fortitude, brute ruggedness, and whiskers that Ronald Swanson possesses. Ron is prepared. Ron is no nonsense. Ron married the woman who delivered him when he was born (Tammy 1 is crazy). But these are mere traces of smoke from the fire of man that burns deep down in Ron’s soul, so join me friends as we count down the five manliest aspects of Pawnee, Indiana’s Head of Parks & Rec.
Number 5 – Ron’s Favorite (and only) Food: Animal Protein
“I am submitting this menu from a Pawnee institution, J.J.’s Diner. Home of the world’s best breakfast dish: The Four Horsemeals of the Eggporkalypse.”
Ron is a simple man and in order to keep his engine pumping, he enjoys a simple diet centered on steak and bacon, with a burger thrown in every now and then to keep things fresh. He once stepped into a natural food store and spent his time watching the “wildlife” that was shopping there by choice. When he goes to the park, he grabs himself what a particular vendor in Pawnee has dubbed “The Swanson”: a turkey leg wrapped in bacon.
When his favorite steak house in Indianapolis was shut down and the near by diner that he visited came up short with their “steak” interpretation, he subsequently asked for “all of the bacon and eggs that you have.” Ron eats so much meat that I’m guessing at this point up to a quarter of the blood flowing through his veins has come from cows, turkeys, and pigs. MAN.
Number 4 – Ron can drink more than you can bathe in.
“After I got home, I drank six more glasses of whiskey and then I finished this harp, using a band saw, a spokeshave and an oscillating spindle sander.”
Ron Swanson won’t slap the bag or take Jager bombs with you, but dear lord, can the man slam some whiskey. Like we’ve talked about before, every man should appreciate a fine glass of rye or bourbon, but Ron does it with class and fortitude. However, when he decides to go a different route, you can bet that he’s going all out. On an occasion when his coworker (and ewok to Ron’s wookie) Tom Haverford recruited his fellow Parks & Rec peeps to help spread the word on his new “product” Snake Juice, this was what Ron had to say:
“I won’t publicly endorse a product unless I use it exclusively. My only official recommendations are U.S. Army issued mustache trimmers, Morton’s salt, and the C.R. Lawrence Fein two inch axe-style scraper oscillating knife blade.”
Number 3 – Ron sweats confidence.
“My first day of college my father dropped me off at the steel mill. He didn’t think I should go to college, but I hitched a ride, enrolled, and learned a lot.”
If there’s one thing that you should be able to tell just by looking at the man behind the stache it is this: Ron knows he’s better than you and he has no problem showing you how, telling you why, and then stealing your hot green card ex-wife. Ron once got cornrows during one of his relapses into Tammy 2 and no one laughed. He turned a health-crazed super human into an average slug by making him a condimentless burger and telling him “I don’t care if you like it” – it was the best thing the man had ever tasted. And of course, the pinnacle of the Swansonian alpha complex, the one motto to rule them all: when asked by his faithful assistant April is he was ready for her to take him to the hospital to have a hernia checked out that had left Ron motionless and stuck at work until the middle of the night, he responded with this:
To rock that stache 24/7/365 and only spend $40 on clothes over the course of five years, you have to be programmed a certain way, and that way comes from years of knowing you are an exemplary specimen of evolution aka being Ron. MAN.
Number 3 – Ron is ALWAYS in his element. Always.
(On fishing) “It’s like yoga, except I still get to kill something.”
Sure, we usually find Ron behind his desk in the corner office of the Parks & Rec department, but when he’s not, he’s out enjoying the beauty of nature or crafting something with his bear hands (yes, that was purposeful). Ron once ran away to his cabin to hide from Tammy 1 and was able to grow a beard that would rival even that of Richard from everyone’s favorite childhood game of facial recognition, Guess Who?
When Ron wanted to show Mark Brandanowitz how much he appreciated Mark’s help in getting his woodshop up to code, he built him a canoe and placed it in Mark’s office. Ron once had to give the introduction at an art show and responded with this gem: “Ok, everyone, shut up and look at me. Welcome to Visions of Nature. This room has several paintings in it. Some are big and some are small. People did them and they are here now. I believe that after this is over they will be hung in government buildings. Why the government is involved in an art show is beyond me. I also think it’s pointless for a human to paint scenes of nature when they could just go outside and stand in it. Anyway, please do not misinterpret the fact that I am talking right now as genuine interest in art and attempt to discuss it with me further. End of speech.” Fearless, like a telekinetic chameleon. MAN
Number 1 – Ron is teaching the youth of tomorrow
“I have been developing the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness for years. It’s a perfectly calibrated recipe for maximum personal achievement. Categories include: Capitalism, God’s way of determining who is smart, and who is poor. Crying, acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon. Rage. Poise. Property rights. Fish, for sport only, not for meat. Fish meat is practically a vegetable.”
There is almost no way to comment on the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness without sounding like a belittled chump seeking to express the word of God through a dial up internet connection, but to say that this chart is brilliant is more of an understatement than saying that the NBAPA got royally f*cked by the team owners with the new collective bargaining “agreement,” but hey, karma’s a bitch (except for Kobe and Lebron, bad things never happen to them).
You see it might not appear this way at first, but Ron loves nurturing and molding the future leaders of tomorrow. He has his own troop of “Swansons” who seek to learn the ways of all things practical, sensible, and frivolous. Ron paid for Andy’s college education and even agreed with his Women’s Studies teacher when she said: “To this day, some feminists have even condemned marriage as a glorified form of slavery.” However, Ron’s greatest achievement of reaching today’s youth came from a chance meeting with a little girl who was visiting the Parks & Rec department while on a school field trip.
“It’s never too early to learn that the government is a greedy piglet that suckles on a taxpayer’s teet until they have sore, chapped nipples. I’m gonna need a different metaphor to give this nine year old.”
She asked Ron “Why Government Matters.” His response was short and to the point. “It doesn’t.” MAN.
Ron Swanson’s essence comes from a witch’s brew of smooth jazz, Bobby Knight, and gunpowder and casts a shadow on men everywhere, but there is someone who can match this testosterone-fueled locomotive of a man and his name is Nick Offerman. As we’ve mentioned before, Nick Offerman, in a sense, is Ron Swanson and NO I don’t just mean he plays him on TV.
You see after he got the part of Ron on Parks & Rec, the writers came to Nick and asked him for some aspects of his own personality to be thrown into the character to which Nick gladly ran with. Ron’s awe-inspiring wood craftsmanship? Well, take a look here and then we’ll talk. Go ahead, I’ll grab a “Swanson” and some snake juice while I wait.
Nick Offerman is a renowned wood worker and he even makes (or at least did pre-successful prime time TV show days) part of his living building high-end furniture and canoes (sound familiar?). He has a ridiculously awesome woodshop where he apparently will put on some Neil Young or Tom Waits, fire up one of his crazy ass antique contraptions (“because they literally don’t make them like this anymore.”), and build things with his bare ass hands.
Now you might be thinking, “there’s NO WAY he can even approach the Mountain of Swansitude,” but let me tell you the tale of Nick Offerman’s invitation into Man’s executive lounge. After growing up on a farm in rural Illinois, he got into theater and ended up in Chicago. During college, before he possessed any sort of acting skills, he built sets in exchange for a line or two in plays, which slowly evolved into larger and larger parts. Then when he moved to LA, he soon realized that it might take him a while to become a successful Hollywood actor so he stopped building sets and focused on building furniture. Additionally, while acting at a playhouse in LA, he met a funny actress named Megan Mullally, who at this point was starring in Will & Grace. Of course, Nick was living in a friend’s basement during this time in his life and had no clue who she was so he did whatever any oblivious and eager young man would do and told her she was funny. They’ve now been married for 8 years and she appears in the Ron Swanson universe as Tammy 2.
He claims to feel belittled when he returns home for the holiday’s as he’s apparently the least skilled laborer in the Offerman clan. Wow.
Now it is nearly impossible to debate the merit of manliness between a TV character and an actual person, but the fact that both of these personalities come from the same being is absolutely MINDBLOWING. Combined, the Swanson/Offerman machine is responsible for providing me with the necessary motivation and mindset to complete Movember and rock this creature that has called my upper lip home for the past month with a passion.
I can’t say that I didn’t have my moments of doubt or that I didn’t catch glimpses of myself in the mirror/bits of mustache in my mouth and shiver, but even in the most dire straits, I just thought back to the inspiring words that Ron shared with his troop of Pawnee Rangers, “Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into Swansons.”
God bless you Ronick Swafferson. You AND that statement squatting above your upper lip. God bless you.