Stanford Chaparral

George Bailey: I wish I had never been born!

Clarence: Oh! Mr. Bailey! Don’t say that! A man’s life is God’s most precious gift!

George: Well, I mean it.

Clarence: Fine then, George. It’s done. You were never born.

. . .

[At the Graveyard, in front of a tombstone covered by leaves]

George: Clarence, why have you taken me here? Oh my god! That’s right! My brother Harry! If I had never been born, Harry would have drowned in the lake! I was the one who saved him!

Clarence: Calm down, George. Let’s not jump to conclusions. Even the smallest disturbances in the space-time continuum can lead to profound changes in the most unexpected ways.

George: What?

Clarence: It’s basic chaos theory. If a butterfly flaps its wings in China the effects are greatly amplified over time and lead to a massive tornado in Kansas. Similarly, if there’s no George Bailey, a whole radically different timeline results.

George: What are you trying to say, Clarence?

Clarence: Your brother Harry survived the crash he had in the lake. But he died when a massive tornado hit Kansas.

[A gust of wind reveals a Tombstone that says HARRY BAILEY]

George: NOOOOOO!

Clarence: Let me finish. Harry was only in Kansas because he was involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President Roosevelt. If that tornado hadn’t hit Kansas, we would have lost the war!

George: Oh.

Clarence: So you see George, if you hadn’t been born, that tornado would kill thousands of people! Including people that you care about!

George: But it would also save President Roosevelt’s life.

Clarence: Huh. That’s a solid point.

George: I’m confused.

. . .

[In front of the Building and Loan]

George: Oh my gosh! The Building and Loan! It’s all run down…what happened?

[An opulent man walks out of the Building and Loan]

George: That man, is that…?

Clarence: That’s right George, that’s you.

[Rich George passes a man begging on the street and kicks him]

George: Wait, I thought that I wasn’t born?

Clarence: Oh George, you don’t understand Chaos Theory at all! When you weren’t born, it caused the creation of a WHOLE DIFFERENT TIMELINE. You not being born caused such a disturbance in space time that it resulted in you being born.

[Rich George lights his cigar with a hundred dollar bill, and then uses his cigar to light another hundred dollar bill on fire.]

George: What?

Clarence: Consequently, in this timeline, you are an extremely rich, yet extremely arrogant aristocrat who is going to learn the true meaning of Christmas tonight by being visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

George: This doesn’t make any sense!

Clarence: Don’t get mad at me, George. I’m only here to show you Christmas Present, I can’t change the past.

George: This is the present?

Clarence: You really should be more generous, George.

George: Bah Humbug!