From infancy, we are taught to believe that it is the story of each of us. We all positively impact other people's lives in ways we can never even imagine.
That is what we are taught.
Lies, all lies.
I mean, sure, there were a few people who were negatively affected by George never being born: his children, Mr. Gower, Harry -- and the guys Harry saved in WWII.
But what about all those others?
Well, first of all, Mr. Potter was doing much better without the existence of George (but he's the bad guy, so this isn't allowed to fully count).
And Nick. Look at Nick. With George alive, he was a minimum wage employee at a beat-up, old bar. With George never being born, Nick was a business-owner. He OWNED the bar. It was Nick's Place. He had power and control over his life.
Look how happy he is throwing people out of the bar -- WITH HIS NAME ON IT!
And then there's Mary. There is absolutely no way in heck that Mary ended up being a depressed, spinster librarian just because George was never born. She would have just ended up marrying Sam Wainwright and, you know, being rich and happy and traveling the world and being rich.
The whole "Mary had no life without George" plot-line is absolutely ridiculous. My Mum always tries to convince me that it's about them being "soul-mates" or some such nonsense.
Mary without George? YEAH RIGHT.
Reality of Mary without George:
(Off relaxing on the beach somewhere on an expensive vacation)
Some people were left absolutely unaffected. Bert the cop really couldn't care less if George was born or not. And in some ways, life was better without George (Pottersville was clearly a more hopping town for a trigger-happy cop like Bert).
And well, Martini was just out of the picture. CLEARLY, he was the only one actually smart enough to get out of bloody Bedford Falls/Pottersville/whatever.
Well, not the ONLY one. Annie wasn't around when George wasn't born. The logical assumption is that she used all the money she was saving over the years (that she ended up wasting -- ON GEORGE BAILEY) to leave that cursed place forever and have an actual happy life.
Also, this is unrelated, but I've always been incredibly confused as to why George not existing meant that Ernie's wife and child left him? Huh?
And, also, George never being born means that Uncle Billy lives in an insane asylum. WHAT?! Clearly, this guy should not be allowed to run around free and loose. So, in fact, when George is alive he is allowing a dangerously insane man to not only roam free -- but to also hold a position of high responsibility relating to money. WHAT?!
This guy? Really? YOU TRUST THIS GUY WITH YOUR MONEY?!
And these are just a few of the reasons why George Bailey never being born actually worked out well for a lot of people. I know this is probably a shock to your system (if you too were taught from infancy that this film is hopeful and uplifting), but it's the truth.
Revised lesson from the film: each person's life affects other people's lives. However, unless you are directly responsible for stopping old guys from poisoning young children or saving future Medal of Honor winners from an early death, you may just be the person standing in the way of other people being happy and financially secure...AND OWNING THEIR OWN BUSINESS.
"Nothing special, just doing a little bird-watching on the Amazon...WITH EXPENSIVE GOLD-PLATED BINOCULARS! I'm so happy I married that nice Sam Wainwright and got out of that scary Bedford Falls/Pottersville/whatever place!"
-Millie (I'm not a grinch.)