When we first meet Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation he’s explaining his distaste for government work (Chuck E. Cheese has a better business model, in his opinion). His office is decorated with a sawed-off shotgun, a landmine and a poster of hothead basketball coach Bobby Knight. Despite working in the parks department for the small, fictitious town of Pawnee, Indiana, Swanson – played impeccably by Nick Offerman – thinks building new parks and starting community programs is “horrifying.”
Viewers have come to know Swanson pretty well over the past six seasons of the little NBC show that could, which is surprising given that the meat-loving softie is constantly trying to hide details of his private life. We’ve learned many important lessons from Swanson over the years, like where crying is acceptable (the Grand Canyon and funerals) and that creative pursuits are OK as long as they are kept secret.
Most importantly, Swanson schooled us in the pleasures of alcohol. Yes, it’s an intoxicant, but it’s meant to be respected (Offerman’s take on other substances in his book Paddle Your Own Canoe is hilariously similar). Swanson doesn’t buy the cheap stuff either. He drinks Lagauviln, all the way from Scotland. And while he argues with Leslie Knope in an early episode about having the freedom to overindulge, he often does not (unless of course he’s drinking Snake Juice, a disgusting liqueur likened to rat poison). He savors his drinks, and most of the time Swanson is sharing advice with others while sipping from his glass like a wise lumberjack.
There’s a lot that millennials can learn from Ronald Ulysses Swanson. He will be sorely missed when Parks comes to an end on Feb. 24. Here are just a few of his thoughts on alcohol – a love that rivals bacon and woodworking for the mustached hero.
“Never been hungover. After I’ve had too much whiskey, I cook myself a large flank steak, pan-fried in salted butter. I eat that, put on a pair of wet socks and go to sleep.”
“There is no wrong way to consume alcohol.”
“That’s Swanson family mash liquor made from the finest corn ever grown on American soil. It’s only legal use is to strip varnish off of speedboats.”
“All my life I’ve avoided Europe, and it’s multitudes of terribleness, but it turns out, much to my surprise, there is actually one place in Europe that is worth seeing. These tiny islands off the coast of Scotland, where God’s chosen elixirs are distilled, barrelled, and prepared for consumption. This is worth the trip.”
“Nectar of the Gods.” (on his beloved Lagavulin Scotch Whisky)
“I’m more of a whiskey man.”
Ann: “How many drinks of alcohol do you consume a week?
Ann: “That’s it? One drink?
Ron: “One shelf.”
“Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.”
“There will be alcohol there, so I will go as well.”
God bless you, Swanson. You beautiful, beautiful man.