The Swanson Guide to Spring/Summer Relaxation

Ron Swanson here. The first quarter of 2012 is over, which means different things to different people. For my part, it means the burden of redeeming something the government calls “sick days.”

As an eater of hearty breakfasts and also things that are slower than me, I haven’t involuntary coughed since 1976. Nevertheless, I always have at least five accrued sick days at the end of each fiscal year, and my coworker Leslie forces me to use them before June; I admire that woman’s feminine fortitude, but I loathe her unwillingness to budge on this matter. Therefore, my person has been temporarily exiled from Pawnee’s governmental affairs.

I anticipated Leslie’s bullheaded meddling in advance this year, and have decided to share my sick day activities with this publication for exactly one reason: if an American male is forced to pretend he is too sick to earn his keep as a tax-paying citizen, said male’s down time is best spent illustrating that he is not.

Here is the Swanson guide to Spring/Summer relaxation activities.


During the months of May and June, there two things I can count on for entertainment: high school and college graduates. Granted, I never know any of them personally, but when they kill or maim themselves via alcohol-induced stupidity during something called Senior Week, the nightly news becomes oddly palatable. As for the drinking, this brand of idiocy goes down best with a 12-year-old Dalmore. Did you know kids are doing vodka shots through their eyeballs nowadays? And their whoo-has? I barely even care if the news reports are true; such information is just another reminder that the survival of our species will eventually require me to procreate.


Fishing is perhaps the most relaxing outdoor activity in existence that results in the asphyxiated death of another creature. Follow these steps for the optimum fishing experience:

1)      Choose a freshwater location. There is nothing relaxing about fighting an ocean current and four-foot waves while wrestling a 600-lb fish to the death in the bottom of your canoe. Save all that deep-sea puffery for bachelor parties or whenever one of your ex-wives is in town. For summertime relaxation, stick to lakes inhabited by creatures that can’t kill you with their faces.

2)      Do pack a blowgun. I have found over the years that, given the opportunity, some boaters will deliberately approach my own vessel in an attempt to initiate meaningless conversation. The moment they realize I’m neither waving hello nor playing a flute is simply priceless.

“Well, well, wel…come to Blowgun Island…”

3)      Don’t pack a lunch. If you already have food, where’s the incentive for your first catch? (Fish barely have their own food group, however, so leave 3/4–lbs of ground beef hidden on shore for lunch. Safety first.)

4)      Give noodling a shot. Catfish aren’t nearly as cuddly as they sound, and you’ll know that for sure when your fist is wrapped around one of their testicles. From the inside.

Full disclosure: my first noodling took place during my first baptism. 

Japanese Sword-Polishing

I have a contact from the 1970s who can get me second-hand samurai swords on the cheap, and few activities are more satisfying than sitting down after a long day of killing things in a lake to fine-tune an object that can kill things on land.

Film Observation

On occasion, I like to watch black-and-white motion pictures from the 1920s. Talking in movies hadn’t been invented yet.

Solitary Treasure Hunting

This only works if you have a friend willing to organize the hunt for you. Said person needs to be neurotically obsessive, relatively far-sighted, and a good judge of character.  I am intimately familiar with such a person/colleague, and her greatest strength lies in treasure hunt organization; go find your own map-maker.

Tombstone Sculpting/Engraving

Why leave your legacy in the hands of someone with no stake in it? It is unclear when Ron Swanson will expire, but when he does, a life-size stone bear statue should remind funeral-goers that his dying wish was to jumpstart the cremation process himself.

[Ed. note: Seriously, TJ, is that just Ghost Rider with an MS Paint mustache? You’re better than that.]

[Contrib. ed. counter-note: No I’m not.]


The 1930s, 40s, and 50s was an acceptable era of manliness in contemporary America, and old copies of Men’s Life are the reason I got involved with the Pawnee Rangers to begin with. This publication’s overt pro-man agenda can only be rivaled today during something called “Pride Week,” an event that sounds much more comfortable on paper than it actually is in person.

Not pictured: a Pawnee Ranger alumnus.

Sitting alone in a room with a comfortable temperature (61 degrees Fahrenheit) for extended periods of time

It’s true what they say: there simply is no substitute.

Have an acceptable summer.


  1. Grand Wazoo May 24, 2012
  2. Josh May 24, 2012
  3. Charlie Ward May 24, 2012
  4. Josh May 25, 2012

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