The freakin' voicemail.
I spent the better part of the last decade lovingly memorizing every line of dialogue aired on “30 Rock” and even I still think about the voicemail from time to time.
For those of you just joining us, Alec Baldwin left his daughter Ireland Baldwin a voicemail back in 2007 — when she was 11 years old — after she missed a call from him.
In the message, the Emmy winner called Ireland a “rude, thoughtless little pig.” Meanwhile, Alec also found himself embroiled in a legal battle with Ireland's mother, actress Kim Basinger, whom he referred to in the voicemail as a “thoughtless pain in the ass.”
In an interview Monday with “Good Morning America,” Alec told George Stephanopoulos the voicemail is still “thrown in his face” 10 years later.
There are people who admonish me or attack me and use that as a constant spearhead to do that. It's a scab that never heals because it's being picked at all the time by other people. And... that's hurt [my daughter] in a permanent way.
The message in its entirety is pretty bad. There's no excuse for not managing one's anger to the point of verbal abuse, especially when interacting with a child who is still developing conflict resolution skills and her own expectations of how relationships work.
Look, I'm not saying I never sat in my uncle's SUV as he threw a full tin of leftover ziti at the windshield over a joke I made at a Mother's Day brunch when I was 11 that forever branded me a “little asshole” … because I have.
Was my uncle's behavior categorically wrong? Yes. Is this voicemail the most insane thing I've heard one family member say to another or even to me as a child? No.
Lucky for my uncle, no one was looking for his voicemails.
If the world wanted to hear a grown-ass Italian man who's never been to the SAG Awards spend his Sundays complaining to Comcast, then yeah, he might have been hacked at some point. Otherwise, it's prominent men whose behavior generally sets the standard.
Want to live in a world where no one throws hot pasta at their loved ones or calls them “rude little pigs”? That's an entirely achievable future.
How do we get there? Parenthood is stressful and family time can be taxing, but if you're thinking of expressing your anger in a way that is anything but constructive, try really really hard to just not do that.
If your kid is acting like a “little asshole” or a “thoughtless pig,” be better than your 11-year-old and lead by example.
I don't doubt a day will come when I am a parent and my child drives me to the point of absolute blind, spitting rage.
In that moment, I'll try to breathe for four seconds and realize I'm an adult and he or she is a child. Maybe I'll wear a rubber band around my wrist, or stab myself with a shrimp fork.
Then, my only hope is I'll be able to teach him or her to be respectful, patient and considerate.
I never learned anything from being screamed at and insulted except how to scream at people and insult them.
Let's try something new.