Ron Swanson, one of the main characters in Parks and Recreation, was a libertarian who believed in small government. He was one of Leslie Knope’s closest friends, or, as he would call them, workplace proximity associates. He is most known for his libertarianism, his love of meat, and his dislike of (most) people.
In spite of his libertarianism and his dislike of people, he was the director of the Pawnee Parks Department for many years before moving on to run his own business, Very Good Building Company, and finally becoming the superintendent of Pawnee National Park in the series finale. These job changes were infrequent, but they allowed him to have multiple offices over the years. Here are 10 hidden details about his offices.
10 His Flags
In true Ron fashion, Ron had some flags in a jar as decoration on furniture behind the desk in his parks department office. He had a handful of American flags for his love of America. However, there was one flag that stuck out: the Gadsden flag, which depicts a coiled rattlesnake and says “Don’t Tread on Me.”
While the American flags were for his love of country, the Gadsden flag in particular symbolized how he felt about government. He did not want the government interfering, or treading, in his or others’ personal lives.
9 The Almost Bare Bulletin Board
Ron, at several points, expressed his belief that the parks department should not exist. In that spirit, he spent most of his days making the department as inefficient as possible.
Likely for the sake of inefficiency, and his love of simplicity, Ron kept his bulletin board as bare as possible. Office bulletin boards typically hold reports, memos, and notices. Ron’s board seemed only to hold a document or two at a time. At one point there was a design for a gun, and another time, there was a schedule of some kind.
8 The Equally Bare Circular Desk
In the fifteenth episode of the third season, Chris Traeger, the newly appointed Pawnee City Manager, implemented a number of changes to the parks department, including giving Ron a circular desk in the middle of the department in order to be more accessible to the people around him.
Especially in this episode, Ron made it clear that he likes things to stay the same, and he also expressed hope that Chris’ changes wouldn’t last. With that hope, he kept his new desk clear, with the exception of a computer and its accessories, so that the transition back to his old desk could be as smooth as possible.
7 The Distance Between The Bench And His Desk
In Ron’s parks office, there was a bench on the wall opposite his desk and underneath a dartboard. Because of his dislike of people in general, his bench was used to keep people at a distance when interacting with people in his own office.
He also probably intentionally placed the dartboard above the bench. While he is smart and mindful enough not to try playing darts when someone sat on the bench, no matter how good of a player he is. However, it was likely still cathartic for him to play darts while imagining whatever government bureaucrat he was resenting that day sitting underneath it.
6 The Sawed-Off Shotgun
Ron first introduced his sawed-off shotgun in the end credits of the pilot of the series. He introduced his office decor as representations of how he felt toward the government. He then said the shotgun was from a bootlegger and that anyone who came in to ask for something had to do it while staring down the barrel of the gun.
The shotgun was likely a twofer, representing Ron’s second amendment rights to own a firearm, and representing the bootleggers’ defiance, and the ultimate inefficiency, of the eighteenth amendment criminalizing the production and sale of another thing Ron loved: alcohol.
5 The Claymore Landmine
Ron’s claymore landmine was prominently featured on his parks department desk, residing on the corner opposite of the shotgun. It again was for anyone asking for something to look at while in his office.
A detail about the landmine that is easily missed, though, is that it says “Front Toward Enemy,” on the side that is facing away from Ron. This was Ron subliminally telling anyone who came into his office that whether they were a government bureaucrat or a concerned citizen looking for a solution to a park problem, they were his enemy.
4 The Czech Hedgehog
A Czech hedgehog from World War II, which looks like a large, hulking metal sculpture, was sometimes depicted in the corner of Ron’s office. It was never addressed in the show, and it is unclear whether it was a real Czech hedgehog or a replica.
Ron was also known for his craftsmanship, usually in the context of woodworking, but he had also shown skills in metalworking, as shown when he made rings for Leslie and Ben’s wedding in the fourteenth episode of season five. Because of this and the fact that he did have a legitimate, diffused landmine in his office, it is equally likely that it is the real deal or a replica.
3 The Name Of His Canoe
In the series finale, Ron, unsatisfied with his career as a business owner, left his job at Very Good Building Company to figure out what to do next. Leslie helped him by pulling some strings and getting him a job as the superintendent of Pawnee National Park. From the time of his accepting the job, the National Park became his office.
Ron was shown in his new office, paddling a canoe. The canoe is named “Lucky Boy,” which is a reflection of Ron being offered a job in which he could be outdoors all day.
2 Where Leslie Talks To Him In The Office
As mentioned in previous entries, Ron had a sawed-off shotgun and a claymore landmine facing different doors in his office in order for anyone entering his office to feel less welcome. However, there were times when Leslie came into his office to talk to him, and she stood next to the mine, rather than in front of it.
This likely reflected Leslie and Ron’s friendship, as she usually ignored Ron’s reluctance to be her friend. Leslie and Ron were not enemies, in spite of their political differences and his best efforts.
1 His Parks Memorabilia
When Ron started his business, Very Good Building Company, he filmed a commercial to market it. It featured Ron at his desk, stating simply the nature of his business. Behind him were the memorabilia from his time in the parks department.
He had the deer statues, flags, and the Charles Mulligan’s Steakhouse poster which decorated his parks office. But he also had his woodworking award for “chair,” his trophy from the burger cookout against Chris, and the statues of the Hawaiian god of anger, which Leslie and Ben got for him on their honeymoon, showing he still valued his former coworkers.