A glaring error in Frank Capra’s magnificent “box office flop” is that George Bailey’s crisis of self-doubt happens at 8pm. No self-respecting, self-flagellating student of doubt does good work before 3 am. Thats why Clarence earns his wings, George is a light weight, he wasn’t really trying.
3:30 am spins that roulette wheel of my mind and I land on a “Shouda” as in I should of done something differently. The “what” I shouda done is variable, but the ability to collapse success into failure, thats a constant, which means its Clarence-proof. Can’t win if you don’t play!
Disappointment, frustration and shame are some of the other 38 pockets of opportunity on the George Baily pell-mell trip through pessimism and self-doubt. And let us not forget worry, agitation, annoyance, distress and regret.
It just occurred to me that I could make a proto-type of this game. George Bailey must be part of the public domain by now. It could be a drinking game where you do a shot every time your number comes up, or maybe a teaching game for children on Good Friday or Yom Kippur.
[A tangent – One of the more bizarre and effortful moments I’ve had in my life was once trying to revive a party after a junior minister who was a +1 at the party asked the crowd what they thought the difference was between shame and regret.]
3:30 will arrive again tonight with its siren call. Again the decision will have to be made. Stay in bed with my eyes closed and play George Bailey Roulette? Or get up and make a cup of tea while I play George Bailey Roulette?
All this said, in the light of day, there is nothing actually wrong with my life. I could use a little more sleep though.