Lately, I've had this persecution complex that I just can't shake. I feel like everyone is out to get me. I've always had some form of a persecution complex, something I inherited from my mother, but it seems to be at it's peak right now. I feel very neglected, unappreciated, taken for granted but I also feel like people are out to get me. When I feel like this, I have a tendency to withdraw and disassociate. I try to avoid as much human contact as possible. My biggest problem has been being kind to others. I don't see why I should if all I get in return is maliciousness. However, another thing I inherited from my mom is her giving nature.
The other day, as I was waiting in line in a cafe, I saw a lady trying to waive down a taxi. She was in the worst imaginable spot. Most of the taxis that passed by already had customers that they had picked up from the taxi cab stand only a block from where the lady was standing. It was cold outside and she seemed anxious. I imagined that she was visiting a friend, was unfamiliar with the area and had a plane to catch. When I stepped out of the cafe with my hot steaming cup of chai, I went up to the lady and pointed her in the direction of the taxi cab stand. She blurted out a thank you and ran to the stand as quickly as she could. I felt good about helping her. Fast forward to that afternoon and something terrible happened to me. Someone, who had been watching me very closely waiting for me to slip up, saw her opportunity and pounced. I reeled from the embarrassment and humiliation this person had put me through. And it was all because of her jealousy. So why did I even bother with that good deed in the morning if all I got was a bad deed done to me in the afternoon? Where the heck was Karma when I needed it?
Sometimes it's difficult to do good deeds. Take George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) for example. When he saw his little brother fall through the ice, his first instinct was to pull him out and save him. What did he get in return? An ear infection that led to permanent hearing loss in one ear. What did his brother do for him in return? Abandoned the family business when George wanted to pass it on so he could see the world. Let's take another instance. A young George Bailey works at Mr. Gower's store. Mr. Gower, depressed over the news he's just received has drunk himself into a tizzy. He accidentally puts poison in pill capsules and sends young George off to deliver the pills. George sees what Mr. Gower has done and doesn't deliver them. What does George get in return? Mr. Gower boxes his ears until he bleeds and then gives him an uncomfortably tight hug. What does Mr. Gower get in return? A will to live and a successful business.
No one really thinks that George Bailey is a shmuck though, even if he doesn't get to travel the world or become an architect. He doesn't have it that bad though. He marries a wonderful woman, has a beautiful home, raises 4 children, helps out the members of the community, etc. But he still has Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) always watching him for an opportunity to make him fall. (Maybe we all have our own Mr. Potter's in life). Bailey is driven to despair and that's when Clarence steps in. We all need a Clarence, don't we. Someone to tell us that "no man is a failure who has friends".
Carlos and I missed an opportunity to watch It's a Wonderful Life (1946) at the Brattle last year. This year, we were smart and purchased our tickets in advance. The house was packed to the brim and there was not one seat available. The audience was so-so. They laughed at many moments that were not supposed to be funny. I always relegate this to their stupidity for 1. buying tickets to a movie they don't really want to see and 2. not being open minded and understanding that this film is not from this time period. Oh well. They weren't as bad as I've seen in other circumstances and by the end many people were wiping their eyes. Why doesn't anyone think to bring tissues to this movie?
I am not ashamed to admit that I cried three times during the filming. I first cried during the scene when Mary (Donna Reed), Bert and Ernie had set up the old house with travel posters, tropical music, a roaring fire, dinner and a made bed ready and waiting for some copulating. It was really sweet for Mary to take an unfortunate situation and turn into something special. The second time I cried was during George Bailey's despair. He crashes his car, heads to the bridge and wants to end it all. I've never been suicidal but I know what despair feels like so I could really sympathize with him. The third and final time I cried was during the very last seen when the whole community comes together to help out George Bailey and sing Auld Lang Syne together. This is the moment when everyone shows their appreciation for Bailey and all he's done for the community. This sort of demonstration usually only happens during funerals. Lesson here: show people how much you appreciate them while they are still alive!
I've seen a few other people on Twitter and Facebook mention that they have seen this film on the big screen this Christmas season. What was your reaction and what was the audience reaction? Have you seen it on the big screen before? Please share your thoughts.
Special thank you to the Brattle Theater for showing It's a Wonderful Life every year!