28 Awesome Things We Learn About Nick Offerman from PADDLE YOUR OWN CANOE

Jeremy Anderberg

Staff Writer

Jeremy writes and edits for The Art of Manliness during the day. By night he writes a little more, reads a lot more, and endlessly watches How I Met Your Mother with his wife, Jane. Follow him on Twitter: @JeremyAnderberg

paddle_your_own_canoe_500pxOf course Nick Offerman, aka Ron Swanson, would write a book titled Paddle Your Own Canoe. After reading it, I’d strongly argue that he’s an even cooler dude in real life than on the screen. He’s mostly the character of Ron Swanson, except he’s way more compassionate and thoroughly loves his first and only wife (who happens to play Tammy 2). While it’s impossible to share with you all of the incredible anecdotes from the book, there are these 28 nuggets of both useless knowledge and epic wisdom to glean from its pages:

  1. He loves his wife. The dedication: “To Megan, my wife, cherry blossom, and legal property, who teaches me life every day.”
  2. His definition of success: “Measured in American dollars and Italian band saws, sure, but more importantly, laughter, wood shavings, and kisses.”
  3. His favorite author is Wendell Berry: “Our nation’s most venerated living agrarian author and far and away my personal favorite writer.”
  4. He also loves “the Chronicles of Narnia books, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Madeleine L’Engle books.”
  5. He sure enjoys barbecued pork: “If there is a God, no part of the Bible or Christian doctrine will convince me of his existence half as much as the flavor of a barbecued pork rib. It is in that juicy snack that I can perhaps begin to glean a divine design, because that shit is delicious in a manner that can be accurately described as ‘heavenly.'”
  6. He’s a poet:
    The Bratwurst: A Haiku
    Tight skin flue of pork. 
    Juices fly, explode in mouth. 
    A little mustard.
  7. He likes the idea of church: “The notion of getting together as a community to remind ourselves why we shouldn’t behave like animals is a fucking great idea.”
  8. He doesn’t like the idea of Creationism as fact: “It’s a cool story, don’t get me wrong; I love magic.”
  9. He’s a worker: “I’d eventually learn that nothing beats hard work.”
  10. His ideal outfit: “Nothing beats denim and work boots.”
  11. He thinks people should get off the couch: “Damn it all, you have been given a life on this beautiful planet! Get off your ass and do something!”
  12. His simplest life advice: “Don’t be an asshole.”
  13. He doesn’t believe that ignorance is bliss: “But wait, I thought this book was a lighthearted look at living one’s life deliciously? That’s all well and good, fat boy, but you cannot just blithely drift through life in your canoe whilst turning a blind eye to the bullshit going on around you.”
  14. He thinks Draw Something is overrated: “Instead of playing Draw Something, fucking draw something! Take the cleverness you apply to Words with Friends and utilize it to make some kick-ass corn bread. Corn Bread with Friends – try that game.”
  15. His advice when speaking at a college: “Figure out what you love to do, then figure out how to get paid to do it.”
  16. He’s all for chillaxing: “Social occasions with family and friends are golden treasures, as are leisure-time activities, which for me include fishing, hiking, going to a film or play or art show, playing cards with Megan or my family, or reading. Treating yourself to such desserts is an important part of balancing the meal of your time.”
  17. He’s in favor of gay marriage: “I can spy no distinction between denying two loving people equal marriage rights and refusing to let a black person drink from the same water fountain as white folks. Both are examples of We the People shitting the bed in regards to defending each and every person’s inalienable rights.”
  18. Acting didn’t come naturally for him: “When I began acting school, I was just plain terrible at acting.”
  19. He believes friends are important: “Marching through life with a confederate in mirth is one of the greatest pleasures that can befall a man, woman, or chipmunk.”
  20. His advice when confronting officers of the law: “When the po-po give you a hassle, stand your ground and talk to them. Don’t run. Just be cool.”
  21. His favorite beers: “For a pint of beer, you can never beat Guinness or Old Rasputin.”
  22. His thoughts on the 1986 movie Highlander: “REQUIRED VIEWING (for young men, anyway).”
  23. He’s a proponent of hand-made gifts: “No matter how you decide to spend a little more time on your gestures of giving, the point is just quite simply that you do. You don’t have to give a person a papier-mache penis vase to get a reaction, but you won’t be sorry if you do.”
  24. He doesn’t approve of plastic surgery: “Men and women alike, if you think that altering the tip of your nose with surgery will make you happier, I would suggest you alter something much more malleable than your flesh, like your priorities, or your friends. Quit looking in the mirror so much. My two cents.”
  25. He likes The Simpsons: “Pretty much my entire circle of artistic friends couldn’t help but be profoundly influenced by the genius of The Simpsons’s writers and animators. The Simpsons was, and still is, like an encyclopedia of comedy.”
  26. Unlike Ron Swanson, he quite enjoys Paris: “Some of the finest gustatory experiences in the world can be found in this foxy bitch of a European capital.”
  27. He thinks people spend too much time in front of screens: “I’m opposed to a lot of the time that we as a civilization have come to spend looking at screens. For my money, life is much delicious damn near everyplace but inside that screen.”
  28. He likes nature: “Finding yourself a spot by a creek or under a tree or atop a butte or alone the shore where you can sit and look and not think brings a peace that not even the most mellow of Enya tunes can achieve.”


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