The thing about Al Swerengen

In the HBO series Deadwood there is a somewhat-merciless cut-throat called Al Swerengen. He is one of Deadwood's main characters and a driving force for his own agenda. The fictional Al was based on the real Al Swerengen, who was not what you would call a quality human being. He married three times all divorced him with charges of extreme physical abuse, he was a pimp, and generally the determining factor for violence. Anyways, he is not someone I'd consider for one of my single friends.

Not that fictional Al is much better, but he lets you know the reasons why he is so broken and irreparable. He has had a extremely hard life. Orphaned and abused, always poor. In the 1800's that was more of a hardship, or rather a different kind. There was no one to advocate for a child or a miscreant.

The writing in the series is only matched and sometimes succeeded by Ian McShanes role in Deadwood. McShane is gritty, and takes no prisoners. His intentions are always obvious and his agenda is mostly self-serving. He is strategic and calculating, smart. Quick and witty. With that jet black hair tanned skin and compact frame he is very clear about his attention even in his body. He is the Rooster, the Don, commanding respect.

McShanes, Swerengen also has a sense of what is right and wrong, according of course to his own moral code. He has an angry compassion in which he is constantly fighting the urged to be kind and decent thus vulnerable with the need to roughly distance himself from people. Mostly for mutual benefit. Somehow the fictional Al is an anti-hero. Watch out, that may very well be a knife in his back pocket. He might know how to use it with a sharp accuracy.

More to the point now. There is something to be learned here, as in everything. Al may say the word 'cocksucker' way too much, and may be considered "socially anxious". Apart from his constant annoyance with life and the people in it he has constructed some pretty sharp arguments.

Six Life Lessons by the fictional Al Swerengen

1) Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.

Lesson: Life doesn't always go as planned. When it does, things get kinda creepy.

2)What's the matter — taken by a vision? You would not want to be staring like that at me.

Lesson: Some people don't like being met eye to eye. They find it intimidating or challenging. Better to stare at their nose.

3)Pain or damage don’t end the world, or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man — and give some back.

Lesson: Don't give up at the first sign of hardship. Life continues even though you are wounded. Might as well participate.

4)Drunk, Tom, for reasons not to do with business, you’ll sell. If that’s your decision, let me offer. Sober, you know sellin’s stupid.

Lesson: Some things are just more well thought out with a clear head. Sleep it off.

5) Say what you’re gonna say or prepare for eternal fucking silence.

Lesson: Be reasonable and explain yourself effectively or be prepared to be misunderstood.

6)You can't slit the throat of everyone whose character it would improve.

Lesson: In life learn from the fools you suffer. Especially when you live in the 1800's and it was okay to slit peoples throats.


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