Yesterday morning pugnacious Alec Baldwin was arrested in downtown Manhattan after allegedly punching a guy over a street-parking dispute. People always blame Baldwin for being ill-tempered (which he obviously can be from time to time), but street fights are always about the particulars. This morning I read TMZ’s initial account of the altercation, and sure enough it contains the “obiter dicta” — words in passing — that reveal what really happened.
Baldwin may have slugged the 49 year-old guy who took his parking spot on East 10th Street near Fifth Avenue, but the person he really wanted to wallop was “a friend who was holding the spot for him” but failed in this minor duty.
TMZ: “Our law enforcement sources tell us Alec had a friend holding the spot for him, but the other man swooped in.”
What kind of parking-spot-protecting “friend” lets a stranger “swoop in”? Honor requires that you protect the spot with your life. You stand there like the Colossus of Rhodes, like a Lee Marvin-styled linebacker and hold your arms up when a stranger tries something — “Forget it, dude.” But Baldwin’s friend candy-assed out.
Baldwin was almost certainly shattered and crestfallen that his friend would let him down, but nobody punches someone in his own corner so Baldwin transferred his anger and punched the other guy. Except he was really punching his friend…see? Heightened emotions can be tricky and complex.
If I was Baldwin I would offer this explanation to the guy he slugged along with an apology, and it would all go away. And then I would drop the “friend.”
Afterthought: Who drives a car around Manhattan? Real men (even if they’re celebrities) take the subway. Or they take a cab or an Uber town car. Or they drive a big, rumbling, saddlebag-laden scooter hog like me, and in so doing can park almost anywhere. Or they walk.