This post involves "It's a Wonderful Life" plot spoilers.
Last night a party from the Historical House went across the fields to the nearest Fellow Historical House (14th c, mostly rebuilt early 17th c) and watched most of "It's a Wonderful Life" before sitting down to St. Stephen's/Boxing Day supper.
B.A. had never seen "It's a Wonderful Life," and I hadn't seen it for well over a decade. B.A., who admittedly was well-primed with wine, thought it absolutely fantastic. I was struck by how very often Providence frustrates the hero's plans and how Mary actively worked against them by countering George's wishes with her own wishes. By the way, I know it looked like it worked for Mary, but playing "Buffalo Gals" on the stereo four years after singing it with your crush object is kind of pathetic. Also pathetic is embroidering a cushion with the drunken rantings of your crush object and leaving it where he can see it.
What is not pathetic is being a middle-aged Single librarian in glasses. The most--perhaps the only--annoying part of "It's a Wonderful Life" is the lead up to the awful revelation of what George Bailey's non-existence would have meant. (PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD!)
We go from random acquaintances of George, to the moral health of the town of Bedford Falls, to his brother, to his wife and kids. There seems to be a progression: Nick is nasty, not nice; George's old boss did 20 years in the joint for murder; Bedford Falls is not a nice family town but Las Vegas, New York; Violet has gone professional; Harry drowned at nine, which meant a whole lot of American sailors died (although, as no-one ever mentions, this also meant a bunch of German pilots survived--Jawohl!); Ma Bailey is a lonely, crabbed old landlady, and as for Mary--!
Ah, Mary. Not only did Harry Bailey drown at the age of nine, but Mary became an Old Maid and a Librarian and Near-Sighted. How Mary would have become near-sighted in the absence of George is one consequence left unexplained.
Possibly I am being unfair. The real horror is not that Mary is an Old Maid--and, incidentally, she could have married Sam Wainwright, although I admit it would have taken all his gold to gild the pill of having to listen to him shout "Hee-haw" for the next 50 years--but that she doesn't recognize George. Even Mary does not know George. And if Mary doesn't know George, Mary doesn't love George, which is terrifically sad for George, who loves Mary to distraction. Let us focus on that, especially if we are Single, and very especially if we are Single Librarians.
Anyway, it is no longer 1946, and none of us live in Bedford Falls, a place from which, we must remember, George Bailey was always longing to escape. So watch "It's a Wonderful Life" without a pang, and don't forget to giggle at Mary's mysteriously unexplained glasses.