6 Life Lessons from The Wire

Lesson 1: If you are willing to let the world see you work a shovel, you might not have to live in shit.

Daniels: “You do what you feel. You wanna pull Avon in on half a case, you go ahead. You wanna put my shit in the street, feel free. But the Eastern had a lot of stories – mine ain’t the only one. A lot of people came through that district. If you were gonna do me, I’d already be done. But there ain’t nothin’ you fear more than a bad headline, is there? You’d rather live in shit than let the world see you work a shovel. You can order warrants, and I’ll serve ’em. But as long as I have days left on those dead wires,this case goes on.

Lesson 2: A man (or woman) must have a code

Omar: Bird triflin’, basically. Kill an everyday workin’ man and all. I mean, I do some dirt, too, but I ain’t never put my gun on nobody that wasn’t in the game.

Bunk: A man must have a code.

Omar: Oh, no doubt.

Lesson 3: The “War on Drugs” was a misnomer

Carver: Girl, you can’t even think of calling this shit a war.

Herc: Why not?

Carver: Wars end.

Lesson 4: When you shoot for the top, be prepared

Omar Little: “Come at the king, you best not miss”

Lesson 5:

Carver: [observing Bodie beat a competing dealer with a bat] See, that’s why we can’t win.

Herc: Why not?

Carver: They fuck up, they get beat. We fuck up, they give us pensions.

Lesson 6: One must have a life, and live it fully

Lester: Tell me something, Jimmy. How exactly do you think it all ends?

McNulty: What do you mean?

Lester: A parade? A gold watch? A shining Jimmy-McNulty-day moment, when you bring in a case sooooo sweet everybody gets together and says, “Aw, shit! He was right all along. Should’ve listened to the man.” The job will not save you, Jimmy. It won’t make you whole, it won’t fill your ass up.

McNulty: I dunno, a good case—

Lester: Ends. They all end. The handcuffs go click and it’s over. The next morning, it’s just you in your room with yourself.

McNulty: Until the next case.

Lester: Boooooy, you need something else outside of this here.

McNulty: Like what, dollhouse miniatures?

Lester: Hey, hey, hey, a life. A life, Jimmy. You know what that is? It’s the shit that happens while you’re waiting for moments that never come.

Up next Management 101 with Stringer Bell

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