Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 15: I Wish I Had A Million Dollars...

I wish I had a million dollars...Hot dog!

Keep wishing, kid
George Bailey says this a few times during the film, starting when he's a very young boy.  He's in Mr. Gower's drug store, and there's a cigar lighter in the shape of a hot dog near the door.  Every time he passes by it or sees it, he makes this wish and pushes a button.  If the lighter ignites, he yells out, "Hot dog!"  Think of it as the It's A Wonderful Life equivalent of a Magic 8 Ball.

It's a wish that everybody makes some time in their lives.  When the chips are down, we all think about that magical remedy that will bring instant happiness.  Money usually plays a big part in that remedy.  A million dollars back in 1946, when Capra's film was released, would probably translate into several million dollars these days.  So, basically, George is wishing to be a multi-millionaire, like Mr. Potter but without Mr. Potter's perpetual case of bug-up-your-ass.

Now, I know having tons of money doesn't mean you're going to happy and fulfilled for the rest of your life.  George Bailey learns that lesson from Clarence, as well.  I'm currently living in a house that really isn't big enough for my family.  I'm working two jobs that barely get the bills paid on a weekly basis.  I would love to buy my daughter the laptop she's craving for Christmas, and I'd like to get my son his own junior atomic bomb kit (my son tends to be a little destructive).  I'd like to buy my wife a really nice piece of jewelry, or have the time to put together some home-made memento.  Maybe a book of love sonnets.  I'd like to do a lot of things that I simply can't afford, money-wise or time-wise.

However, I know I'm just talking about things.  My daughter can live without a laptop, but she knows she has a father who loves her more than anything.  My son can wait until college to conduct his nuclear experiments, but he knows he has a daddy whose lap can fall asleep in.  My wife may have an unimpressive wedding band, but she knows she has a husband who has her back in any situation.  Those are things that a million dollars can't buy.  In many ways, my family is very wealthy.

Saint Marty wishes he had a million dollars, but he settle for hot dogs.

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