There is something to be said of a man who quotes Tom Waits; even more so of a man who exudes a penchant for language, fine mustaches and sarcasm. This man is perfect, and his name is Nick Offerman.
Offerman is an actor, woodworker and, now, published author of the hilarious memoir “Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living.” Known for his “Parks and Recreation” personality, Ron Swanson, Offerman is in many ways much like his fictional character, sharing a love of all things meat, brunette women and carpentry. These interests, alongside many others, are demonstrated in his summarization of the work:
“Basically, this book boils down to how an average human dipshit like myself, relying solely on warped individuality and a little elbow grease, can actually rise from a simple life of relative poverty to one of prosperity, measured in American dollars and Italian band saws, sure, but more importantly, laughter, wood shavings, and kisses.”
The memoir consists of 16 chapters injected with everything from the sweet side of wooing your woman to the savory side of properly cooking meat. Naturally, for Offerman, these two subjects tend to go hand-in-hand. While there are certainly enough crude and sarcastic discussions to go around, Offerman also touches upon some more poignant aspects of life — from his simple beginnings in Illinois to his successful marriage to actress Megan Mullally.
Throughout the work, Offerman not only infuses his thoughts on life, but also gives us a plethora of diagrams. One such example includes Offerman’s opinion of acceptable versus unacceptable facial hair in the chapter “Born Again Again.” Of course, whether you have predilections for facial hair or not, Offerman’s book allows readers to laugh as they learn. However, in the event you should not find yourself laughing, it may be wise to repeat until a sense of humor is found.
As a whole, “Paddle Your Own Canoe” is an entertaining and swift read. Some personal favorites include: “Hail Mary, Full of Beans,” “Wax On, Wax Off,” “Romantic Love,” and “Finding Swanson.” Each chapter conveys Offerman’s charming brilliance with a punch of vulgarity.
Indiana’s great pioneer poet, Sarah T. Bolton wrote, “Voyager upon life’s sea, / To yourself be true, / And whatever your lot may be, / Paddle your own canoe.” Much like Bolton’s words, Offerman is a man defined by his own individuality. He teaches readers not to take life too seriously and, above all, to always paddle your own canoe.
‘Paddling Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living’ by Nick Offerman Rating: W W W W W