The first time I ever saw it was during Film class in high school. Yes, my super special nerd high school came complete with a Film class, for which I am very thankful.
Not only did that class introduce me to the Frank Capra classic, but it also set in motion the Deep Thoughts that would lead to my eventually deciding to major in Film, rather than in English, when I went to NYU.
No matter how many times I’ve seen the flick, I always tear up during the last scene when Harry Bailey proposes the toast, “To my big brother George, the richest man in town!”
Everyone sings Auld Lang Syne, and George reads the message that Clarence has inscribed inside the front cover of Tom Sawyer:
How can that finale not tug on your heartstrings? For a Hopeless Romantic like me, Modern Philosophers, It’s A Wonderful Life is a perfect movie.
It’s about a dreamer, who knows exactly what he wants from life, but can never quite get it because of a mix of bad luck, his inability to be selfish, and his failure to block out reason, common sense, and responsibility.
Of course, in the end, he realizes he has a wonderful life because he’s married his true love, has amazing kids, saved his town from the Donald Trump of his era, and found a greater reward by helping others, rather than helping himself to the life he thought he wanted.
That final scene, when George Bailey is surrounded by everyone who loves him, always reminds me that, although I’m an introvert, I cannot make it through life alone.
As you can see from this photo that she snapped after dinner, I am ridiculously out of shape (so embarrassed by how heavy I look!) and not a very sharp dresser when left to fend for myself.
I needed a new winter coat, so I told The Other Melissa she needed to take me shopping for one.
To her credit, she did not even flinch. She’s known me long enough and well enough to understand that if left to dress myself, I’d wander out into the snow in my Nite Show fleece and Yankees hat.
Since she was being such a good friend, and because I’m much easier to tolerate when alcohol is involved, The Other Melissa jumped at my offer to go to dinner before our little shopping excursion.
Yes, Modern Philosophers, that goofy smile on my face is status post two Margaritas.
Even though The Other Melissa had vanished for three years, we have pretty much settled right back into where we were with our friendship before she was devoured by the Bermuda Triangle of Platonic Relationships.
A good friend is something I’ve needed badly since The Sweet Irish Girl decided to stay on her side of the ocean. Not only was she The Love Of My Life, but she was also my best friend. I lost a girlfriend and a bestie in the deal, and my life has been very empty and lonely as a result.
Friends are there for you. They’ll be there when the rain, presumably from the dark clouds, starts to fall.
I’ve been so caught up in how much it’s hurt to lose the love of The Sweet Irish Girl, that I’ve glossed over how important her friendship was to me.
Always having someone there to talk to me, waking up to silly messages, knowing that adorable Irish accent would be on the other end of the line when I had a bad day and needed someone to just listen and tell me it would all get better… those are just some of the things I lost when my best friend remained on the other side of the Atlantic.
I’ve done very little to replace the friendship I lost because I’ve been so heartbroken over the loss of her love.
So I was very lucky that The Other Melissa materialized on my front porch again.
Perhaps The Fates grew tired of watching me mope and cry over my broken heart, and decided to at least help me replace the whole in my life from the loss of a dear friend.
As we were driving to dinner last night (I take my life into my hands anytime I get into a vehicle driven by The Other Melissa), there was a harrowing, high speed, near interaction with another car and the curb.
She said to me, “You know, just because you make yourself smaller, doesn’t mean the car gets any smaller”.
Yes, Modern Philosophers, she had caught me trying to scrunch up my body into a tiny ball in the passenger seat as I closed my eyes and prayed we wouldn’t hit the other car or end up speeding down the sidewalk in search of unsuspecting pedestrians.
I barked at her, “How did you even see that? Your eyes should be on the road!!!”
I thought that moment, when my life flashed before my eyes and yet we still found time to bicker, summed things up very well.
The Other Melissa was having fun, driving like a bat out of Hell, and on a mission to get us to the restaurant while pitchers of Margaritas were still half price.
While I might fail at relaxing, enjoying life, taking risks, staying in shape, and dressing myself, I realize now that I’m not a complete failure.
Because I have friends.
That’s a photo of my in one of the new jackets she helped me pick out last night. What do you think? Do I look like a well dressed fat guy?
Follow my blog and follow me on Pinterest. Don’t you get that the whole theme of this post is the importance of friendship? Make me feel loved!