A tough-talking wiseguy with silver wings in his hair, Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri (played by real-life former gangster Tony Sirico) had one purpose in life: to get the job done. As the drama came and went over the course of The Sopranos‘ six seasons (available to stream anytime on HBO Now), Paulie’s worries were usually limited to making his score, getting paid, and making sure everyone kicked up to him. All that so that he, in turn, could kick up to his boss, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). For those who celebrate life’s simplicities, here are nine Paulie Walnuts quotes for when you just have to get the job done.
“I was born, I spent a few years in the army, a few more in the can, and here I am… a half a wise guy. So what?”
While this is Paulie in one of his more philosophical moments, it speaks directly to his basic purpose in life, a guy who’s there to get the job done. While there may be times when some of those around you start to become bogged down with their personal issues and self-indulgent crises, the clarity of Paulie’s easy-going outlook can serve as a kind of mantra. Show up, get the job done, rinse, repeat. Then, once in a while, maybe go out to Morton’s and grab a steak.
“I told him, someone owes you money, even if you gotta crawl, you get it.”
Much of Paulie’s business runs on intimidation — that and incredibly high-interest rates. When others in his family start to slack off on their collections, he realizes that makes everyone seem weak as a result. When you’re looking to motivate others to share your ambition, let this little nugget from Paulie be your guide.
“I was seeing a therapist myself about a year ago. I had some issues. Enough said. I learned some coping skills.”
In the world of The Sopranos, admitting to therapy is certainly not a common occurrence. Still, when Tony tells his crew he’d been seeing Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) for help with his panic attacks, Paulie himself comes clean. Sometimes, everyone needs a little help with coping skills, especially if it’s going to help you get the job done.
“Yeah, yeah, go play cops and robbers.”
While there’s no shortage of cops on the Soprano payroll, Paulie makes the rounds to hand one a bribe just before their newly acquired ‘Executive’ card game. After taking a bundle of cash, and a little back-and-forth, the cop tries to exert his authority and reminds Paulie that they have to keep the noise level down (and the gunfire nonexistent). Paulie, in the meantime, all but shrugs off the warning by feigning acknowledgment.
“You’re a little too worried about what I give you. Worry a little more about what you give me.”
They say you shouldn’t go into business with friends, which seems all but impossible when you’re talking about a life of organized crime. That being said, if some of those friends fail to deliver, it might be necessary to adopt a hard line from time to time, and as you can see, no one was able to do that better than Paulie.
“Better yet, go to the ear, nose, and throat department. Get your hearin’ checked.”
What’s a bigger headache than having to take a hard line with your friends? Young up-and-comers who are too eager to prove themselves, suffering from what Tony called “Cowboy-itis.” Once again, when you’ve got to put someone in their place, look no further than Paulie’s no-nonsense approach. And don’t be afraid to use your environment to your advantage — who knew a hospital could be filled with so many potential looming threats?
“I gotta watch TV to figure out the world?”
Whether it was a rant on the dangers of shoe-tying, the biology of snakes, or his ability to navigate his way out of the woods, Paulie always had a gleeful assuredness about himself, regardless of how right he was (or wasn’t). Which goes to show that you can always look to Paulie as your source for unyielding self-confidence. Though you’ll probably want to bring a compass along should you happen to find yourself in the woods.
“The Boss of this family told you, you were going to be Santa Claus. You’re Santa Claus, so shut the f*ck up about it!”
While he gradually moved up the ranks, Paulie started off as Tony’s enforcer, and deep down, he never really outgrew that role. It was never more evident than when Bobby ‘Bacala’ (Steven Schirripa) had the misfortune of being in the room at the same time as their now-vacant Santa suit. Take a cue from Paulie here, who without a second thought steps up to makes sure that the message is clear.
“I live but to serve you, my liege.”
By the end of the show’s run, Paulie was one of the last men standing, and when Tony offered him control of the old Aprile crew, he didn’t exactly jump for joy, based on the string of bad luck that had happened to everyone who held that job prior. While Tony, an effective leader in his own right, floated the idea of passing the opportunity on to someone else, Paulie ends up accepting the job. In the end, Paulie never wanted to be the boss, he just wanted to be given a job so he could get that job done.