Happy Endings

It's a wonderful life


You know the ending of It’s a Wonderful Life when Jimmy Stewart is back on the bridge and says, “Help me, Clarence, I want to live again, please God let me live again!” and then Bert the cop calls out his name and Jimmy’s like completely wide-eyed that Bert knows who he is and then he finds Zuzu’s petals in his pocket (“There they are! What do you know about that!”) and starts running in the snow through the streets of Bedford Falls yelling “Merry Christmas” to the old buildings and screaming “Mary, Mary” and that scumbag Lionel Barrymore wishes him a happy new year — in jail — and then Jimmy bursts into his wonderful old drafty house and runs upstairs to see his kids (after kissing the loose ball on the newel post at the foot of the stairs) and there’s Zuzu and Janie doesn’t have a smidge of temperature anymore, and then Donna Reed comes into the house and Jimmy kisses the shit out of her and she drags him back downstairs, and the whole fucking town comes streaming in to bail Jimmy/George out of his trouble with the bank examiner and there’s Uncle Billy and Mr. Martini and that hot slut Violet Bick and then Ernie reads the telegram from London (“Oh!) and it’s from Sam Wainwright, who offers a $25,000 advance, “He-haw and Merry Christmas,” and then Harry Bailey makes the toast to his big brother George, the richest man in town, and everybody sings “Auld Lang Syne” and all of that other super, corny stuff with “teacher says …” and angels getting their wings and “Attaboy, Clarence” … and the ending of A Christmas Carol, the good version with Alistair Sims, when Scrooge wakes up from the visits with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come and he’s half-dazed and mumbling “I’m not the man I was” over and over, and he realizes that he’s alive and not dead and buried in the creepy graveyard, and he skips to the window and is as giddy as a drunken angel and yells downstairs to a young boy who just happens to be walking by and asks him if he knows of the prize turkey hanging in the butcher shop and the kid says, “You mean the one as big as me?” and Scrooge laughs and tells him to go and buy it and he throws the kid a shilling or a half-crown and tells him to have the giant-ass turkey sent to Bob Cratchit’s family, and then Scrooge goes over to his nephew’s house for Christmas dinner and asks the nephew’s wife to forgive him for being such an old Humbug dickhead, and then he’s carrying Tiny Tim on his shoulders and they all sing about razzleberry dressing and woofle jelly cake in the Mr. Magoo cartoon version … and the ending of Hannah and Her Sisters when Woody has hit rock bottom and doesn’t want to go on living and he’s ready to blow his brains out with a rifle, and then it misfires and breaks a mirror, which gets him out of the house to clear his head and he ducks into an old movie theater and he’s sitting in the dark watching the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup playing the helmets of soldiers like a xylophone and they’re singing “Hidee-hidee-hidee-hidee-hidee-hidee-ho” and dancing around like lunatics, and Woody says something about how he needs to stop ruining his life searching for answers he’s never gonna get and just enjoy life while it lasts, and then he sits back and begins to laugh, and as long as we’re on the subject, how great is the last shot when Dianne Wiest tells him that she’s pregnant?

That’s what I imagine it will feel like when the doctor calls and tells me that I don’t have cancer.

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