The song is about what it's like to be a con artist, knowing when it's time to quit, but also knowing that you loved it. That was pretty much Paul's situation with the DE. Paul did not love being a Death-Eater; he hated it. But some things about it appealed to him. He enjoyed doing very difficult things, he enjoyed thinking on his feet, and I think he also enjoyed the con--though I did not write his handling of it nearly as well as J. K. Rowling wrote Snape's. The way she wrote Snape is, in some ways, the way I should have written Paul but lacked the skill to. And frankly, Paul just does not have the deep well of bitterness to draw from as an aid to acting that Snape does.
I purposely gave Paul these conflicting feelings about the DE because I wanted him to be complex, and I thought it would make him more believable and, I hoped, surprise my readers. The realizations about him surprised me, even though I had been writing toward them all along, just by way of showing Paul's personality to be the way it is. This, despite the fact that, listening to "Dirty, Rotten Number," I keep wanting to ask myself, "Eek! What was I thinking?"
You may be master of
Your chosen occupation
With several strings of
Polo ponies in your stable-
You must remember all the same
That at the crux of every game
Is knowing when it's time
To leave the table.
And it's important to be artful
in your exit-
No turning back, you must accept
the con is done,
But now and then, you might recall
The moments when you had it al-
You had the charm,
You had the talent
And, my God, you had some fun.
It was a ball, it was a blast
And it's a shame it couldn't last,
But every chapter has to end,
You must agree.
It was a joy, it was sublime,
A splendid way to earn a dime
For a dirty rotten guy like me.
When you look back on all your
conquests and deceptions
You see a thousand flawless pearls
set in a strand,
Laid out from Biarritz to Rome,
Each one as perfect as a poem-
An opus to be proud of though it's
written in the sand.
It was a ball, it was a thrill,
You had the grace, you had the skill
To know exactly what to say
And what to do.
You wouldn't trade a single day
Or have it any other way-
A dirty rotten guy like you.
It's almost a religion-
The need to take a pigeon
And to play your part
With elegance and zest
But when it's time to fold the act
And your duffel bag is packed
Take comfort in the fact
That you've been
working with the best.
It was a blast, it was a ball
It was a gas, I loved it all
'Cause I was hanging with the man
And that's a plus.
You've got the verve
You've got the guts-
You've go the nerve-
You've got the nuts!
I guess we're
-Dirty rotten crooks, dirty rotten
It was a trip, it was a blast
It was a shame it couldn't lsat
'Cause it was almost
Too prodigious to discuss.
So we get screwed for fifty-grand-
I think we still deserve a hand-
Dirty, Rotten guys-
Quizzage: Heh...Because I like good, dark beer and think American cheese is a disgusting food item:
|You Are 64% American|
Though sometimes the good ole US of A makes you cringe
Still, you know there's no place better suited to be your home.
You love your freedom and no one's going to take it away from you!