It’s a Mostly Wonderful Life

#343: Marc and the crew talk about It’s a Wonderful Life, and imagining a world without you in it. We discuss stories about removing yourself from the timeline and how and why it resonates with people.


Josué Cardona 0:11
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network here at Geek Therapy, we believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. My name is Josué Cardona. And I’m joined by link Keller.

Link Keller 0:21
Hello, friends,

Josué Cardona 0:23
Lara Taylor.

Lara Taylor 0:24

Josué Cardona 0:25
the one and only Marc Cuiriz.

Marc Cuiriz 0:27

Josué Cardona 0:29
Marc, it’s your turn. What are we talking about today?

Marc Cuiriz 0:30
All right. So it’s funny because I feel like I baited all of you guys, I was talking about how I recently went to go see, It’s a Wonderful Life. And yet, we thought we were gonna go Christmas movie type thing. And I was like, nope, let’s get deep in nitty gritty. And I wanted to talk more about the idea of exploring what life would be like, if you or if someone didn’t exist or was no longer around. So to kind of give a little context for that. For those that haven’t seen, It’s a Wonderful Life. It kind of talks a little bit about that without getting, I mean, I don’t know, I guess

Lara Taylor 1:17
spoiler alert for an eighty year old movie.

Marc Cuiriz 1:20
Exactly. I was like

Josué Cardona 1:22
It’s in the public domain at this point, like, yeah.

Marc Cuiriz 1:25
So it was was It’s A Wonderful Life. It talks about this guy named George Bailey and his life. And on Christmas Eve, He has this very like he’s reaching this very focal point in his life of deciding whether or not he should kill himself to sort of save his family’s business and save his family from potential, like fraud and whatever, and just basically getting destroyed. So he decides that maybe he’s better off dead than alive, because then at least people will be better off. And so then his guardian angel comes by, and sort of shows him a brief glimpse of what life would be like as if he had never existed. And he realizes, like, all the lives, he’s touched in the people he’s impacted, and all the good he’s done, despite giving up his own dreams, to travel the world and things like that. And ultimately, it’s he gains an appreciation for his life. And then when he kind of returns, he’s very grateful. And then everybody sort of comes together to sort of help him out because he’d spent his entire life helping out everybody else. Now, when he’s finally in trouble, everybody comes together to help him. So yeah,

Josué Cardona 2:46
so the bait and switch was, hey, let’s watch Christmas movies.

Marc Cuiriz 2:50
JK, let’s talk about some dark deep stuff.

Lara Taylor 2:55
AKA Mark wants therapy on the show.

Marc Cuiriz 2:59
That is, you know, that is one spin to it. Or it could just be I just like, a deep philosophical questions. And so then I like to hear your perspectives on it.

Lara Taylor 3:12
That’s true.

Josué Cardona 3:13
I’m curious, why. Why is this question on your mind?

Marc Cuiriz 3:21
So So here in Chicago, there is like a whole event thing with this movie, because it plays at the Music Box Theater. And when people go there, they have like, they go completely decked out with Christmas stuff. There’s like a Christmas sing along. And then it goes into the movie. And it’s like a, it’s a fun little show. So my first time going to one even see this movie and to experiencing the show was last year. And when I watched it last year, it got it. I left the movie sort of thinking, I was like, Oh, that’s a very interesting way to kind of view things. And I was thinking to myself, like, Oh, I wonder about the people maybe I’ve impacted or how do I want my legacy to sort of play out in life? You know, like, how do I want that to be carried? Or how do I want people to view me so then this time around? One I was very exhausted watching this movie, because he watched it a 9:45 at night. So I was already all sorts of crazy wonky.

Josué Cardona 4:26
at what speed did you watch it?

Marc Cuiriz 4:27
normal speed. So yeah, had I really slow myself down. But so when we when we left it, this time around, that’s when the idea of not being around or being better off dead was like something that I started thinking about because then I started thinking about other forms of media or other things that I’ve seen that I’ve touched on that this is kind of a throwback for me, but I the first thing that came to my head immediately It was this fairly oddparents episode where, where he makes the wish that he wishes he was never born. But instead of showing like how everyone’s life was worse, it shows that everybody’s life was in fact better because he wasn’t born. And then the whole episode is like, now we’re gonna throw you in this pit of children who wish they were never born and made the world a better place. But what ultimately saved him was, there was one person that was negatively impacted by him not being around, and I think that was 2d. And so because of her pain, he was unable to like, nope, see, look. And now I’m back at now back to making everybody’s life somewhat miserable again, but at least he’s back. And now he has a better appreciation for his life. But I’m curious as to if there’s anything you guys have seen or read, or, you know, anything like that, that has sort of touched on this topic? And what were your guys’s thoughts, feelings, opinions on these things?

Marc Cuiriz 4:29
So I think there’s two different versions that I was thinking about. Because there’s the one where you actually get to see the world without you or a different version of you. So like, back to the future. Right? Something changes come back. Things are different. But then there’s the other one, like, oh, Spider Man, no way home anywhere they just forget you completely. But your your the effects of your actions of your life before that moment are still there. Like, you saved them. MJ’s life MJ is still alive. Right? There’s a they don’t remember you, but

Marc Cuiriz 6:05
but the impact was still there. Yeah,

Josué Cardona 6:05
yeah. So I think there’s a big difference of you know, everybody would be better off if I wasn’t around anymore. Versus the, you know, everybody be better off if I was never born. so I’ve seen both types of stories. Yeah, so I just wanted to put that there. Can we talk about both of them? Or not?

Marc Cuiriz 7:14

Josué Cardona 7:15
Okay. Okay. Am I missing any in listening? Anything, Lara? Link?

Lara Taylor 7:21
I was gonna say the interesting thing about this topic is that most of the time, and I can’t I I’m sure I’m gonna pull specific ones out of my brain, because I know, I’ve seen several forms of this kind of theme. But most of the time, the message is that like, people are better with you around and you don’t want to like the message is supposed to be most of the time that yeah, you should appreciate your life or appreciate being around because people are better off with you there than without you. But the first example that came to my mind was butterfly effect. And the Director’s Cut, where literally he

Josué Cardona 8:06
that’s an Ashton Kutcher joint, right?

Lara Taylor 8:08
That’s an Ashton Kutcher joint, and in the Director’s Cut the alternate ending, where he basically kills himself in the womb, and is not born ever. And apparently, everyone was better off without him. But, yeah, I think that it’s interesting to think about, it’s along the lines of like, the time travel stuff. And that’s usually where this these things kind of come up is. someone does something and you’re not in this person’s life or whatever. And then you see the effects of that. But that theme of like, usually, the story is about how, yeah, you should be around and you should be glad that you’re alive.

Josué Cardona 8:57
I know, we talked about the artists intention, right? Or if what they’re, like, are they trying to send a message? Are they trying to teach something? That’s not always the case. But I think I mean, obviously, and it’s a wonderful life. That’s, that seems to be very clearly the thing. You know, you’re spending an hour and a half just showing this guy’s life. And then suddenly, you know, he’s freaking out at one point. And he wants to end it. It’s like, nah, like, let me just show you real quick. The positive effect you’ve had like your your struggles, were not in vain. You actually helped a lot of people and they appreciate it. And it was a good reminder for him. Also, in that movie, it’s like if he would have waited 10 minutes, or 15, or a little bit right, like the whole town would have was coming over to help him anyway.

Marc Cuiriz 9:52
Or if he had learned how to effectively communicate his struggles and his own feelings and emotions instead of trying to do it all himself, things would have turned out a lot differently.

Josué Cardona 10:04
But then the movie will be longer because you’d have to go through therapy. Even a therapy montage would’ve just added viewing time.

Marc Cuiriz 10:13
Even if he was just like if he told him like, Hey, listen, this happened. I’m flipping out. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared. Hey, okay, let’s we’ll call everybody up. We’ll figure it out.

Josué Cardona 10:28
No, Okay. Look, this is this is a tangent. And I don’t mean to, I don’t want to go down this tangent. But the part that was relatable for me was that like, he kept when you start that, right, when it starts off, you know that he’s got big plans, he wants to leave that town. But things keep happening. And he keeps choosing to stay. Because for the sake of other people think he’s going to help other people. He’s going to help this father’s business he’s going to do and he never did on the day of his wedding, right? He’s like, again, he’s all excited. They’ve got all this money, they got all these plans. And once again, he, again, it’s still his choice, but he’s making the choice for other people. Actually, very selfless. And so right for it to come all crashing down. In in one moment like that. Yeah, like, I mean, that’s a lot of that’s decade’s worth of of stuff. Like even the first example that they show when he’s a kid. He saves his brother at the cost of losing his hearing and what in one ear, makes like, every time everything that they show, he always sacrifices something. And yeah, that’s like a huge buildup. So I don’t think he’d ever exploded that way. Now, I’m hoping he goes to therapy and learns, you know, some anger management,

Lara Taylor 11:58
it’s a wonderful life 2 coming to Disney plus,

Josué Cardona 12:03
it’s a wonderful session. it’s a wonderful treatment plan.

Link Keller 12:09
I appreciate that. In in. It’s a Wonderful Life. It is like flashbacks to things that have happened and reframing them and like, Hey, you were pretty focused on like your experience here. But like, here’s how it looked. Literally, like from the outside you’re standing over here, watching it. I think that that’s a fun reflection on Christmas Carol, which is a very popular story told over and over and over again, which does a flash forward and shows like a when you’re dead, everybody’s really stoked on it. And that is like a moment to be like I need to change. I like that. They’re both sort of reframing of like, get outside of your head and sort of see how other people are interacting with you and the actions you take and your intentions and how they come across to other people. And having that sort of reframe the protagonists viewpoint about their current situation.

Lara Taylor 13:14
Yeah, I like that idea that it’s reframing the things for you. I have conversations with clients all the time about like, you can’t read other people’s minds and know what they’re thinking or know how they see the situation. You have to have a conversation with them. Or try assuming like, best intentions or whatever. Not everyone is staring at you. Not everyone thinks you’re awkward or weird. Some people might, but some people might like that. So having that outside view, which a lot of the time we can’t get unless we are recording ourselves all the time. Having that depicted in the in movies is a good way to use that magic for good.

Josué Cardona 14:07
It’s hard work to reflect on your actions so quickly that that it’s almost like you’re observing your own behavior. That’s really hard.

Lara Taylor 14:21
Really hard. And it’s also really flawed. Because as we’ve talked about on this show several times human memory is garbage.

Josué Cardona 14:28
Well, right, right. But But I mean, like the idea of like as you’re doing things, right, like, I think that’s something that I’ve been working on for the past few years. Like noticing what I’m doing.

Lara Taylor 14:39

Josué Cardona 14:40
Not just reflecting on like, Oh, what did I do yesterday? That started getting shorter to what did I do 10 minutes ago. Now. It’s like, what did I just do or what am I doing? And to even watch yourself is exhausting.

Link Keller 14:54
that’s pretty resource intensive.

Josué Cardona 14:56
Yep, yep. Dual booting your computer

Marc Cuiriz 15:10
Well, I think I want to go back a little bit because you were talking, when you brought the spider man, no way home stuff, I didn’t even think about it in that sort of context of feeling like you, like the effects of your actions are still being felt despite you not being around, which I think is a bit of a different take on it. But I think the message itself is still kind of there. Except for in no way home because he is choosing to be forgotten. It’s not like, oh, you know, now I see that even with me forgotten, like, My impact is still there. And, you know, that’s just, you know, goes to show and maybe I want to be remembered again, it’s like, no, no, like, I see what my impact was. And that’s great. And I want to keep having that be felt. But I still want to be forgotten by these people. Because I feel like that’s what’s best for them. So even then, it’s still doing something in the service of other people, and sort of letting yourself just kind of be a forgotten figure.

Josué Cardona 16:23
I mean, that’s like the fact that his effects don’t go away or implied. That’s not really like part of the conversation in the movie. You know, it’s really just like gonna forget you that’s that’s it so I don’t know how much he thought about it. He really didn’t have a lot of time to think about it or know the specifics yet but the part of it being deliberate as well. I mean, this goes into more a deeper conversation on what suicidal ideation is and when suicidal acts are and how much you’re in control or not of that is not the conversation that we’re having but yeah, I My mind’s going in like a few different directions on this what other stories are there that do this that I can think of.

Lara Taylor 17:34
I’m vaguely remembering a Supergirl episode where she saw what the group would be like if she didn’t come to Earth.

Josué Cardona 17:43
Yep. that’s true

Lara Taylor 17:47
And again, it was a situation where yeah, maybe these big cosmic things weren’t happening, but their life wasn’t necessarily better without her.

Josué Cardona 17:59
Was that a Mr. mixup? Like?

Lara Taylor 18:02
I think it was, I think it was

Josué Cardona 18:03
sounds like something he would do.

Lara Taylor 18:07
Mmm hmm.

Josué Cardona 18:11
Yeah. Would Have you ever had that thought? Of like, you wish you wish you had never been born? Or do you think people would have been better off without you?

Marc Cuiriz 18:25
are you asking me?

Josué Cardona 18:27

Marc Cuiriz 18:28
everybody to say I think when when I was younger when I was like a young Spry teenager, I think during those times, that’s when I would have had those thoughts of like, things that probably would be better off if I listened to around or, or especially when my parents were in the middle of their divorce. I definitely had thoughts like that. And never really got to, like, serious, like deeper thoughts and things like that. But just kind of like, Huh, I wonder what it would be like if I just kind of ran away and just disappeared and nobody had to deal with me anymore.

Josué Cardona 19:12
Okay, so So that’s the right to like, that’s, that’s one version of it.

Marc Cuiriz 19:18

Josué Cardona 19:18
What about like, we can visit those but like the idea of like, I wish I had never been around. Like you wish I had never been born period.

Marc Cuiriz 19:26
I think I’ve had those thoughts but not necessarily in like, a I just wish I was never born everyone would be better off. I think it was more like, I wonder what life would have been like if I was never born? Like how different would my parents life have been like if they only had my brother? Or if they had no children at all? What would their life be like if I wasn’t around if I was never around to begin with? Or, you know, I think about the people in my life and thinking how would their lives have been? You know, or like my wife for instance, like If I if I was never around and we never met, like, What would her life had been like? It’s just something

Lara Taylor 20:05
more like a thought experiment rather. Yeah. Like, I wish I was never born.

Marc Cuiriz 20:09
Yeah. For me specifically it was it’s more of like a thought experiment rather than just genuinely wishing that. For me when it was more serious, it was more of like, I just wish I kind of ran away and was just gone and disappeared, and then everyone’s life would be better off because I wasn’t around anymore. So yeah, that’s, that’s at least for me.

Lara Taylor 20:30
Josué’s looking at us. There were times when I was younger, where I definitely was like, I wish I was never born. Not so much recently. I think the thoughts that I have more often are like, I wish I’d never been in a relationship with that person. And they’d never been in my life where I’d never done this, or they had never been here. But even then, lately, I have come to in the last few years realize, like, I learned a lot of things from those relationships that I about what I don’t want or do want now. And if I hadn’t gone through those things, it would have taken me a lot longer to figure out what a healthy relationship looks like. So I don’t know.

Josué Cardona 21:20
Okay. Now I’m just looking at link

Link Keller 21:30
the shortest answer is yes. I definitely when I was when I was a teen, which turns out that’s a very common experience. But I remember thinking like, Oh, my not necessarily, like, I wish I hadn’t been born but more so like, Oh, my parents really should not have had children. Which I don’t know that I necessarily came to that on my own or if that was more a ripple effect from seeing anti abortion protesters outside of Planned Parenthood, who got up in my face and were like, what if your mom aborted you and being a sassy little teen I was like, I wish she had. that was That sounds grand um but um, my my suicidal ideation has always been more focused on my own suffering than on the impact it would have on other people. It’s very much reflexive of like, Oh, I’m experienced some sort of obstacle or pain, suffering in my own life. Like, mmm sure wish I didn’t have to experience this. You know, the best way to not experience things is to not exist. It doesn’t happen so often anymore. But um, yeah, yeah. I I have not particularly reflected on like, what my friends and family’s lives would be like. Without me in it all together. But when my when my friend died in 2019, part of my grief process has been processing like, the way we are all reacting to her no longer being around and then reflecting on how people I care about would cope with me not being around anymore. But that’s a more death focused than like, if you could just control control x, me out of existence completely. Feels a little bit different.

Josué Cardona 23:55
Yeah. Yeah. My mom is terminally ill. And I was at the hospital with her last week. And she was talking to me about how she resented me and my little sister when we were little, for reasons other than the ones that I knew that she resented me already before, which we talked about in the past. And those type of conversations are a big part of the reason why I decided not to have kids. Because I understand why. And a lot a lot like in the movie, in it’s a wonderful life. It’s like, there are sacrifices that you choose to make because you think it’s the right thing, but there’s still sacrifices or they can still feel like sacrifices and and then you have that what if kind of idea, you know, like what would have happened? Had I not done this? Because right now you’re you’re suffering or you’re struggling or you’re unhappy. Things just aren’t working out. So you start thinking to damn, had I done things differently or had I not done This or That? I think that the idea of I wish I’d never been born is like the epitome of that type of sacrifice idea. Like, the best thing I can do for everyone is to not even exist. So I’m willing to, to exchange my existence for other people’s well being, or something like that, which is different from like, suicidal ideation that comes from, I just want this to end. Because I’m suffering or I want to end the suffering for other people from this moment forward. That’s what I think it’s an interesting thought experiment. So in that sense, I wished I wished multiple times when I was younger, that like, in a way, it’s like, I wish my mom hadn’t had me. So that she had, so she can live a better life. But that assumes a lot of responsibility. Right, like, like, it’s, it’s an irrational thought, to think that you’re, that you have that effect on everyone. Like, even in that movie, it just assumes that there’s only one good person in that whole town, which is him. If he isn’t around, like everything just goes to shit. And that it’s a cool story. I enjoyed the movie. But it’s, you know, it’s sad in the sense that nobody else stepped up, nobody else was capable. Nobody else can actually, you know, band together to make something happen. But of course,

Lara Taylor 26:44
that’s a shitty town to live in,

Josué Cardona 26:46
shitty shitty town.

Link Keller 26:49
it’s funny

Josué Cardona 26:49
of course, he knows how shitty it is. That’s why he wants to leave. Right? But then he ends up being the only one who can like It’s not like he saved the town. But he helped people along the way enough people to that when he finally needed a lot of help. All of those people were able to were willing to help him in return out of appreciation. Link?

Link Keller 27:11
I was just gonna say the what you’re saying about the shitty town. The one guy holding it together reminds me of Wendell and wild, where when the main character Kat’s parents died, down just collapses. Things literally burned to the ground, people move away. It’s half a centimeter away from being a completely abandoned town.

Josué Cardona 27:40
Isn’t that funny? Those stories like and, like the time travel a stories

Link Keller 27:44
what I think is interesting is it’s not necessarily framed that like her parents, like as, like individual people, but more so that the way that they participated in the community was so important to holding the community together. Right? It’s like they’re doing a drive to raise money for the library books, through their brewery or whatever and stuff like that. But that is immediately what came to mind was like, Oh, I know another town really, really needed the singular. Well, in this case, two people but the couple to hold hold everything together. Keep it going. Keep it nice, happy place to live for all of the other people.

Josué Cardona 28:34
There are some What is it the story in DC Comics right after Superman died, there was a series called The a world without Superman. There’s a few things that happened there, right. But a lot of it is like the effect that that has on everyone. This was in the late 90s or the 90s. But one thing that I always loved that DC did was that they they came up with four imposters, who appeared afterwards. And they call them imposters. But the truth is that they were four people who were inspired by or chose to take the mantle of Superman and kind of help out with that. I don’t know I would hope that that’s that’s kind of what happens, you know, one person doesn’t just disappear and then then it’s all over or something to stop going through and or progressing. The Civil Rights Movement didn’t die. That didn’t end. When you know, civil rights leaders were assassinated. They kept moving and kept because there were other people who cared about that as well.

Link Keller 29:49
I think in that way, It’s a Wonderful Life is a very white story.

Josué Cardona 29:55
The whitest Savior story, the whitest saviorist story. Absolutely.

Lara Taylor 30:06
And on a larger scale, that’s all true. And I can also see though, like, a parent or a grandparent dies in a family, and it does fall apart, people stopped getting together for holidays, or birthdays, or whatever. And they stopped talking to each other as much and happens all the time. And I definitely have talked to clients about that, too. Unless there’s another person that can be the glue for that for that family or group. And sometimes that can happen in friend groups and stuff to someone moves away stops inviting everybody to everything, and it just kind of falls apart. My d&d campaign kind of went like that. But, yeah, so there is that, that people, on a smaller scale,

Josué Cardona 30:57
or even a larger scale, like, I truly do believe that, like, a national leader, or a politician can actually, you know, be huge influence and cause change. But the assumption that we

Lara Taylor 31:12
they’re the only one that can do it.

Josué Cardona 31:14
well no the assumption that we because the thing about George Bailey, and it’s a wonderful life, he doesn’t, he doesn’t see himself that way. Right? He doesn’t even realize that he has a positive effect. So really, it’s like, I think the idea that, that you are so just like it would be kind of arrogant to assume that, you know, everything is great, because you’re there, but that’s not really what we’re talking about. Right? It’s like someone wishing that they weren’t there, because you think that you’re making everything worse. And that’s also kind of arrogant, I guess. Because like

Lara Taylor 31:48
can’t take on that much responsibility. all your fault

Josué Cardona 31:50
It’s like, oh, yeah, it’s all your fault.

Marc Cuiriz 31:52
Yeah. Or, or in a sense, it’s just like, hey, I’m just, I’m just doing, I’m just doing this, because hey, I’m helping somebody out. Like, I know this person. It’s like, I’m just doing my due diligence. This is nothing special. And not even thinking about what sort of things he’s doing. It’s more of like, oh, well, you know, I just know this person, they’re my friends. So yeah, I’m gonna help them out, I’m gonna do this for them. And do that, in sense of like, it’s that ignorance of like, not realizing just how much good he is doing for him. But that also kind of brings me to like the idea of Captain America, like, Captain America himself, like the the, or the, the mantle of Captain America, something that continues onward. But Steve Rogers was the person that everybody sort of turned to, and then when he decided to go back in time, and then live out his life, you know, normally that way,

Josué Cardona 32:54

Marc Cuiriz 32:54
and then when he would. it’s one of those things where everybody starts to kind of question things and sort of fall apart. So like, Man, I wish he was around. Oh, I wish he was still here. Like he would know what to do. He like he, they’re looking for somebody who’s no longer there. And because he decided, he probably did everything he could do. And now he wanted to do something for himself, which was remove himself from the current time. It’s time travel. It’s all it’s all wish. It’s all little wishy washy. But in a sense, he kind of he removes himself from the picture. He’s just like, and I’m no longer going to be around in this sense. As Captain America, I’m going to remove myself. And now I’m, I’m back. But I’m an old man. And I’m no longer Captain America.

Josué Cardona 33:52
I mean, I mean, it could be you could see that as just retirement. Or you could see it as a suicide, right? Like, we don’t know if he’s just at the end. Or like, he’s, he’s saying he’s drawing the line. And he’s like, I’m not moving forward anymore. Think his actions didn’t change, unless you want to go into a multiverse argument about which worlds he was actually in and how this actually affected and whether or not he was actually in this timeline, or the other one, like, that’s a whole other thing. But you know, from the moment from the perspective that you’re referring to, he’s just he’s just choosing to stop. Which I mean, which is not like, I don’t think it’s a stretch. Right? Like, I mean, like, I know, I joke about this all the time, but like, I want to retire. I don’t want to be the president of GT. Right. I want to I want to hang up my hat. I don’t think that everything’s going to end. I want it to continue. I keep joking about how, you know, one or the three of you, or all three of you, you know, are going to be president. Link.

Link Keller 34:51
not it

Josué Cardona 34:53
Oh, yeah. It’s like, you know, I don’t want to do some and then how you do that is um, I can quit in a blaze of glory in a dramatic fashion. Or, you know, we can we can do a slow, you know, training of Marc. So why don’t you

Marc Cuiriz 35:14
we could just do a we could just do a twitter poll.

Josué Cardona 35:17
We could just do this. That’s true.

Lara Taylor 35:20
we could

Josué Cardona 35:20
They’re legally binding. Only if you pay for the blue checkmark though, the only way you can vote yes, I think I think stories like this can be used in a few different ways. I’ll tell you my favorite my favorite version of this that comes to mind. There’s an anime film called weathering with you have any of you watched it? It’s a I forgot the director’s name. Shinkai. What is what is his name? I want to get it right. Let me look real quick. But in weathering with you Matako weathering with you… Makoto Shinkai Yep. So in this movie, there’s this teenage girl who is some kind of I don’t know if there’s something there’s some legend or something right about this person who gets born and affects the weather. And she learns that if she, the longer she stays alive, the worse that the climate is. So she realizes that she if she you know, the longer she stays alive, the more it’s going to rain and the more people are going to suffer. And I love this movie, because she’s struggling with this right? And she has friends and she she knows people and even though she’s convinced that like she has to kill herself, to basically help everybody else. In the end, she says fuck it. And she doesn’t kill herself. And she lets the weather get worse. And there’s an adult at one point was like, look. Your kid live your life. We can all we can all deal with a little rain, it’s gonna be fine. And and they do like a skip forward in the film a few years into the future. And yeah, like, like, Tokyo is like, really underwater. Like there’s some crazy flooding. But everybody adapted and like, civilization continues on. And her and the other characters are still in school and nothing, you know, things are different, but they didn’t. The world didn’t end, which is I think this that I’m in REBT we talk about catastrophizing, right? I mean, you know a lot of CBT you talk about catastrophizing, just that idea of like, it’s the worst, right? Like the situation is the worst that can possibly be or I’m affecting everything and climate change is my fault. And sea level rise is my fault. COVID is my fault. Like you start thinking things like that. It’s like that’s, like you’re you’re going to an extreme here. It’s it’s not that’s not accurate. You’re you’re thinking the worst possible, right? version of this? And, and yeah, so I think that when you’re in therapy, you learn that kind of stuff. Right? Ideally, it’s the version in your head that is so terrible and is making everyone’s life miserable. It’s probably not accurate. It might be a little bit but it’s probably not as bad as you think it is.

Lara Taylor 39:00
It’s funny, because you talking about that brought up life is strange for me. And the idea that like yes, it really was all Max’s fault, like the big storm. All of it literally was Max’s fault.

Josué Cardona 39:17
Yes, right

Lara Taylor 39:19
and but at the end like Chloe’s like well, you should you should let me die. You should let me die and let the and keep the storm from destroying the town. And 10 times out of 10 I’m gonna I’m not gonna let her die and I’m gonna let everyone else die and not let her essentially wish herself out of existence.

Josué Cardona 39:46
yeah right and in that case, it is it is Max’s decision. And as a player, it’s our decision. I believe I also chose to save Chloe and destroy the town. but also like It’s a tornado.

Lara Taylor 40:03
So we also don’t is a tornado hurricane

Josué Cardona 40:05
tornadoes are a real thing

Lara Taylor 40:06
natural thing there real thing, but we don’t like. And I would love I would love to know what happened to the world. I know the town got destroyed. But what about the rest of the world? I would love to know that.

Josué Cardona 40:19

Lara Taylor 40:20
Come on, Dontnod, give me some more

Josué Cardona 40:23
I mean, like, but I would also assume that not everybody died, right? I mean, it’s just, uh it was it was a storm.

Lara Taylor 40:32
It was a big storm

Josué Cardona 40:33
it was massive It was it was a big storm. Yeah. But yeah, that’s, that’s very similar, right? Just like, do you have to sacrifice yourself? You know, to help all these people in It’s a Wonderful Life, right? Like he’s going to jump off a bridge. Mostly to end his own suffering. Right? I don’t really think that he’s thinking about it. Like,

Marc Cuiriz 40:58
I don’t think it’s necessarily to end his own suffering. I think it’s because he because his banks missing the $8,000 because his uncle goofed up. And so he has his life insurance policy, but it’s worth $15,000. I know. Right?

Lara Taylor 41:15

Marc Cuiriz 41:16
But because

Josué Cardona 41:18
you’re worth more more dead than alive.

Marc Cuiriz 41:21
So he’s like, oh, so if I, if I remove myself, if I just yeet myself off this bridge, they’ll get the $15,000 one I, you know, his, the firm will be saved. And his family will be better off because now they wouldn’t have to risk him going to jail for fraud or for whatever.

Josué Cardona 41:43
You’re right. So he was just sacrificing himself again

Marc Cuiriz 41:46
Yeah, he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save his the firm and save his family. Save his uncle all that stuff.

Josué Cardona 41:56
the town you’re right. You’re right. I watched that a 2x in it. And i guess I kind of I kind of miss some of the details.

Marc Cuiriz 42:01
But But by doing so then he’s not realizing the positive impact he did have on people and just how many people would be affected by his loss if he were to take his own life. And that’s what Clarence is trying to show him so that he can get his wings.

Josué Cardona 42:18
You’re right. You’re right.

Marc Cuiriz 42:19
But I can’t believe I forgot about this. And this is this is gonna get a real laugh, but I forgot there is another another movie that touches on this topic. And it’s it believe it or not, it’s Shrek. Shrek Forever After I was I was looking at it because I was like, I was trying to remember movie because I know I’ve seen these movies. Is it the second? The third one. It’s the fourth one. So the Forever ever after. Where it’s Shrek Forever After. And him and Fiona get into an argument. And so he visits Rumpelstiltskin. And he’s like, I will give you a day to be a real ogre again. And all I asked for an exchange is a day from your past. But the day he chooses is the day he was born. So because he took that day

Lara Taylor 43:08
that’s shady,

Marc Cuiriz 43:10
he took both so because he took that day, he could then take over and rule the land or whatever, because he could, you know, because he’s magic in all that stuff. And so that’s what happens. And then he goes on this quest then to sort of break the contract and find a loophole and whatever, to you know, do all that stuff. But

Link Keller 43:29
I gotta go back in time and make sure my parents fuck

Josué Cardona 43:34
that’s Back to the Future one.

Link Keller 43:36
Oh, wow. These stories are so important to our culture.

Marc Cuiriz 43:42
Yeah, I was I was trying to look up was like, Man, I know that I’ve seen more stuff like this, and I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. And so I saw this I was on the site and it popped that popped up. I was like, oh, yeah, there’s the Shrek movie, where they they explore like, what life would be like if Shrek wasn’t born and it goes into this whole thing of like, ogres being treated as you know, subhuman. And there’s like a rebellion and Fiona is actually the leader of it in a whole lot of other stuff that goes into it, but I was like, wow, like like Link said that? It pops up a lot more than you kind of think about

Josué Cardona 44:24
how many shreks are there

Marc Cuiriz 44:26
there’s four I think there there is.

Lara Taylor 44:28
And now some puss in boots movies.

Marc Cuiriz 44:31
Yeah. And a couple of Puss in Boots movies. This is like two or three of them. Yeah.

Link Keller 44:41
Josué when you were talking about in it’s wonderful life, the line about your worth more dead than alive. That that’s tickled my brain reminded me of something. I was like I’ve seen like a show or movie. I think it’s a show Where somebody, it has some sort of illness that requires treatment that is way beyond their family’s means. And so in order to save the family from going into terrible debt and losing everything, he’s like, I’m just gonna kill myself. And that’s how we solved this problem. couldn’t remember what show it was from So I typed in Google suicide to avoid medical debt. And I want you guys to know, the whole first page is like, help is available. 988 suicide and crisis lifeline. Like all this was like, Oh, I’m sorry, Google. That is not what I meant. I’m fine. It was probably an episode of House or NCIS or something like that. But that is a that is a legitimate thing that people have to deal with is the the idea of like, living under capitalism, like there is a monetary value attached to our lives. And so for some people, the math is like, actually, the math is mathing that my family would be better off if I was dead. It’s pretty fucked up, y’all.

Josué Cardona 46:18
Yep, yep.

Link Keller 46:19
988 suicide and crisis lifeline available 24 hours.

Lara Taylor 46:27
text or call? I believe. I’m surprised you didn’t realize that was going to happen when you

Link Keller 46:39
I don’t I don’t know. I really, you know, I spent so much time like googling random shit. I don’t know. I really thought it was just gonna pull up like, Oh, do you mean episode like 609 of house? And I’m like, there it is. That’s what I was looking for. Google’s like, are you okay, you good??

Marc Cuiriz 47:00
I actually couldn’t believe that. I forgot another Christmas movie that goes over this topic. The Santa Claus three.

Link Keller 47:09

Marc Cuiriz 47:10
I mean, come on. Yeah. Where he wishes that he was no, he had never been Santa at all. Because Jack Frost tricks him. So Jack Frost can become Santa. So they go back when he has the snowglobe. And he says it and they go back in time. And then Jack Frost takes the coat. And then it explores what life would be like if Scott had never become Santa. And then he’s like, oh, yeah, no, like, I want all of this. And he understands the true meaning of Christmas time, especially with family especially when they’re difficult. In Yeah, nice little feel good story right there. But I see like this, this trope. I as I’m, as we’ve kind of talked about more with this, it pops up a lot more than I thought it did.

Link Keller 47:57
I mean, it is very much like the baseline Christmas story is, you know, reflecting, being dissatisfied with your life reflecting upon it and coming to realize that actually, it’s it’s pretty good and worthwhile. That’s sort of the the Christmas narrative that gets reused over and over again. So it does make sense to tie that to thinking about killing yourself. fits right in there. Pretty, pretty easy peasy. Throw a couple of lights on a tree. Some holiday jingles? You got a movie, baby

Marc Cuiriz 48:37
Well, you can’t forget the snow. It’s always gotta be snow.

Link Keller 48:40
there’s gotta be snow. There’s snow here right now.

Marc Cuiriz 48:44
We’re getting it tomorrow, Josué.

Link Keller 48:49
That’s why That’s why Google was like Don’t Don’t suicide is like Oh, based on your location information. It’s snow right now. Please kill yourself.

Marc Cuiriz 49:00
Please don’t wonderful life yourself. Please.

Josué Cardona 49:03
Please don’t wish you were never born

Link Keller 49:04
we just based on your GPS location, you are within walking distance of a bridge. Noooo. Don’t

Josué Cardona 49:16
would that be a good thing like if Google was that close to? Like,

Link Keller 49:24
I don’t know what like most of those things. It’s sort of it’s always kind of a double edged sword where it’s like on the one hand it’s like yes, being more aware that is good, but you’re also making the user more aware of it.

Josué Cardona 49:35
Yeah, yeah. Oh, I hadn’t I was I hadn’t thought about that. Right.

Link Keller 49:40
Like that ties directly back in with with suicide itself is like when somebody dies by suicide it people around them are more likely to consider dying by suicide also.

Josué Cardona 49:53
Yeah. I know. Like Every time I think about that, I’m like, No, that can’t be. But like, the research keeps coming up, but that’s what happens. Oh, damn. Yeah, yeah, that’s how I was thinking about that. Um, yeah, I don’t know, I keep going back to the to this movie marc. I didn’t realize how much he sacrifices himself. Right? Because again, like, there’s those two versions? Am I doing it for me? Or am I doing it for someone else? And that movie, you’re right, he just sacrifice himself over and over and over again. And he was doing it again. Just as he was willing to sacrifice himself again, to do to help everyone out.

Marc Cuiriz 50:44
Yeah, you know, I think when I watched it the first time, I think I related to the movie so much because I, I found myself in him so much. And I was like, huh, that was 100%. Me. And in the sense that I would gladly sacrifice everything if I could, for the sake of other people, helping other people, especially those that are close to me. And now I’m not obviously not so much like that. I’m still there for the people I care about. But I have boundaries. Now. They’re still a little loosey goosey. But we’re getting there. But the second time around, I think when I watched it from a more objective standpoint, as opposed to kind of trying to see myself and try to find myself relating to it. That’s when the deeper question was getting posed. And I was like, hmm, you know, I see like, how much he’s willing to sacrifice. And in the movie, they painted as, you know, it’s this great thing he gave up so much, because he cared about those in the town. And he was trying to prevent the corrupt capitalist from taking over and making everything into utter trash. But then you dig deeper, and it’s like, but is that necessarily a good thing? Because look what ended up happening? He gave up so much. And it put them into this to the mindset of even considering taking his own life, simply to help out those around him instead of taking the time to be like, huh, let’s try to think of another solution. Before I decided to just, you know, yeet myself.

Josué Cardona 52:35
Yeah, I’m still I’m still very much that like, I think I’ve set up boundaries and I’m and I’m don’t do that as much anymore. But the other day, a friend was like, I would never do all the things that you do for your family. Like, I don’t know, like I’ve said, this, I mean, I do a lot less compared to what I used to. I’m, I’m, I’m way more conscious of the toll that it takes on me now. I didn’t really think about that before.

Marc Cuiriz 53:02
I think that’s kind of where I was at when I said like, they’re very, I have boundaries, but they’re very loosey goosey. I think it’s just like, No, I still do that. I’m just more aware of it. Now. I’m just at least now. I understand like, Oh, I’m probably doing a little too much. I’m gonna keep doing it. But at least I’m aware about it aware of the toll that it takes.

Josué Cardona 53:25
Does your wife tell you like, look, she points out on your,

Marc Cuiriz 53:29
she has, she has in the past, like, especially with work, because there’s for a while, especially last year, when I was like in my first year of kind of working, I was picking up all the time I was doing doubles all the time back to back doubles even like I was working myself to the bone. And even when I stopped picking up and working the double shifts, I would still find myself staying I got my shift ends at 330 there were times I wouldn’t leave until like five o’clock. Because I was trying to do everything I could to help out my my co workers so the pm people or I’m doing something for the kids. And so then eventually she would call me out on that. She’s like, hey, like you’re leaving very late. And you know, now it’s cutting into the times we have or now you’re late to this thing that we said we were gonna go do or now we’re going to we’re going to be late because you still have to drive home. You still have to change, yada yada, yada. So I’ve gotten better with the work aspect of things. But when it comes to like friends or things like that, I’m very much a person that like, even if I hate it, I’m still going to do it. If my friend were to call me up and say, Hey, I’m moving. I need help. I’m going to be kicking myself in the ass

Marc Cuiriz 54:50

Marc Cuiriz 54:52
I don’t know,

Link Keller 54:53
because because it takes it takes time to unlearn behaviors. You were taught as a child, Bing Bong.

Josué Cardona 55:04
but like, what is? What? What is the? Like? What is the why of that behavior? Like, what? What were you taught? Like, what’s the,

Link Keller 55:14
that’s how you show love

Josué Cardona 55:15
core belief?

Link Keller 55:16
That’s how you that’s how you show love.

Josué Cardona 55:20
For me, it’s never really been that for me, it’s way more of a more of an arrogant piece where I’m like, like nobody else can. Like, if I don’t do it, it’s all gonna fall apart.

Link Keller 55:31
but don’t you think like that, that in a way, in that, like ego way is like it is giving you value that is what makes you valuable to the family is that you can do that thing.

Josué Cardona 55:41
yes yes

Link Keller 55:41
And being valuable to the family therefore makes you worthy of love.

Josué Cardona 55:47
mmmm Yeah, I guess

Link Keller 55:48
I think they’re attached,

Marc Cuiriz 55:50
that, that more that really fits more. So with my with the way I do work, because I’ve tried teaching people to do the things that I do sometimes. And nobody can do it right, and just creates more hassle and more of a headache. So I’m like, fuck it. Nope, I’m gonna do it. Because if I don’t do it, it’s gonna get screwed up. And it’s going to create more of a headache. So no,

Josué Cardona 56:15
that’s perfectionism, no, that’s a whole other problem, as well.

Link Keller 56:19
There are overlaps.

Josué Cardona 56:21
There are

Marc Cuiriz 56:21
Yeah, I think I think that’s just like some of its perfectionism because it’s like, yeah, I can do and I get it done, right. But other things is, I add value, because I know how to do this thing. And so people will turn to me to do the thing that has its back lashes, but it, you know, I’d rather at least have them come to me because they know that I can do the thing that no one else can do. Even if it annoys the crap out of me,

Link Keller 56:45
it can also be tied to like self esteem, where it’s like, if there’s going to be negative consequences for this thing, not being done. It’s like, I would rather have my own, like, if I don’t hold myself in high esteem is like, oh, you know, the business or the family member or the friend group, whatever the negative impacts on them would be worse than me just taking the negative impact. Because like, Me, personally, is not as like valuable or important. So it’s like, it’s fine. If I take the hit.

Josué Cardona 57:25
For me, it’s more, it’s with great power comes great responsibility type of thing. Like, in my mind, sometimes when it comes to my family, maybe some friends, maybe some GT stuff, I’m like, I’m the only one who can do this. Like there’s nobody else. And it’s not really about what I get. This is why I find I find most Spider Man stories relatable. Because like he doesn’t do it for fame, he doesn’t do it for any reason other than just feels guilty as fuck, that he’s got that he can and if he doesn’t, then people are gonna get hurt. Like, it’s a responsibility that he has. He tortures himself constantly, every single moment of every single day. And I think that that’s more like what it feels like to for me, because I have complicated relationships with my family members. And yet, I still if I think I can make a difference, I will do it. And it’s not just with them that I mean, they’re just the ones I’m mostly aware of that have something going on. But I have fallen on many swords for people who are also not family just because I saw. Like, I had that that SpiderMan moment. Where I’m like, Okay, I saw something and it’s up to me, and nobody else can do it. Which is not I’m recognizing that’s not true. But that’s what goes through my mind. I think I think, yeah, it’s a wonderful life. is a Spider Man movie.

Marc Cuiriz 59:03
No wonder why I can tolerate it

Josué Cardona 59:05
you like it so much? Yeah. Yeah.

Marc Cuiriz 59:08
It’s one of the few Christmas movies I can tolerate.

Josué Cardona 59:11
Yep. Like it. It’s scrooge over here

Marc Cuiriz 59:15
I am a Grinch actually.

Josué Cardona 59:17
Yeah, but Right, right. Like, every time it’s like it’s nobody else. It’s, it’s me. Like, there’s nobody else who can do it. It’s gotta be me.

Link Keller 59:29
And like, sometimes that is true, like in life living existing. Like sometimes there are situations where it’s like, you’re here. You’re the one it’s it’s you baby.

Josué Cardona 59:39
But you don’t have to do it though. Right? Like you can let like fuck it let them die. Let them suffer. Let them you know, whatever thing most of the time like I’m not saving lives over here. I’m just like, easing some discomfort. I’m just making somebody’s life a little bit easier. Up in hindsight, in the moment I’m like, you know, I’m I’m fucking Superman over here. I’m amazing. You know, like I’m changing.

Link Keller 59:49
amazing Spider Man

Josué Cardona 59:59
changing lives. It’s amazing, friendly neighborhood, sacrificial lamb. Yeah. Welcome to the therapy part of Geek Therapy.

Marc Cuiriz 1:00:19
trying really hard to not venture into this area.

Josué Cardona 1:00:23
I mean, you’ve been circling around it since the beginning. Just a lot of therapy.

Link Keller 1:00:32

Josué Cardona 1:00:32
just so much. Yeah, Marc. I don’t I don’t know what where else you want to go with this? I think I think we went deep, we’ve admitted some things. I think we’ve had moments here,

Marc Cuiriz 1:00:44
I think. Yeah, I think I mean, I don’t really know. I don’t really have anything else. I think what we’ve talked about so far, it’s been it’s been really great. It’s my headache is actually started going away.

Link Keller 1:00:58
It was totally the caffeine.

Marc Cuiriz 1:01:01
No, I’m gonna say was your guys was a wonderful contributions.

Link Keller 1:01:05
it was the spirit of christmas

Josué Cardona 1:01:08
the spirit of christmas

Marc Cuiriz 1:01:08
it was the spirit of Chrysler.

Josué Cardona 1:01:11
I don’t know how Christmas magic works. It just just does.

Link Keller 1:01:14
mmm merry crimis

Josué Cardona 1:01:16
Yep. Yep. Well, I think I think we brought up a whole bunch of meaty examples. I think that there’s definitely stuff that people can use for this conversation. Because it’s not just like, I wish I was never born. It’s I wish I wasn’t here in the future. Right? It definitely goes into some internal struggles that you might be thinking about existential crises, but also suicidal ideation. And I think there’s a lot of examples of movies where you can kind of play with those ideas. And I’m glad we I’m glad we explored like all sides of it. A lot of movies are like, Oh, no, you know, the world is better off with you in it than not. But some stories of like, would be Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, like, I don’t know, like I like I’d love to see, you know, like, I love the idea of like, Let’s go kill Hitler. Go kill Reagan. You know, how much better things would be you know, you know, like those stories? Yeah. I want to that’s a feature I want to imagine.

Lara Taylor 1:02:16
I got Nina got me for Hanukkah, a trial by trolley expansion pack R rated version and one of the cards for it is Hitler’s parents now your now’s your chance.

Josué Cardona 1:02:30
Yep. That’s a whole

Lara Taylor 1:02:36
Yeah, yeah.

Josué Cardona 1:02:38
moral, ethical questions.

Marc Cuiriz 1:02:42
I’ll play that game.

Josué Cardona 1:02:43
Yeah. So even even trial by trolley, you know, might be helpful in in some of these conversations. So yeah, I think I think, lots of good media examples. And also, of course, all versions of the Christmas Carol. They’re all valid.

Link Keller 1:02:59
There’s a reason why these stories are popular over decades. And it’s because it resonates with how we understand ourselves and our places within society.

Josué Cardona 1:03:11
Thought it’s because they keep making money. It’s like guaranteed, every Christmas you put on a Christmas carol

Link Keller 1:03:16
it can be both.

Lara Taylor 1:03:18
Why are they making money because they resonate with people

Josué Cardona 1:03:23
can be both. Alright, and in closing thoughts, Lara?

Lara Taylor 1:03:30

Josué Cardona 1:03:32

Link Keller 1:03:35
Happy Hanukkah. And if you are struggling this winter, you are not alone. But the sun will come back and it will feel a little bit better.

Josué Cardona 1:03:51
Thank you, Link. Marc, it was your topic? Any closing thoughts?

Marc Cuiriz 1:04:01
You get an existential crisis. You get an existential crisis. Everyone gets an existential crisis for christmas.

Josué Cardona 1:04:07
aww Yeah, yep.

Marc Cuiriz 1:04:09
And Hanukkah.

Josué Cardona 1:04:11
Well, this has been the closest you’re gonna get to a holiday episode of GT radio for 2022. Thank you so much for joining us, please. You know, come say hi. In our communities, community spaces. Tell us what your favorite holiday movies are, what are your existential crises during the holidays? And you know, what’s your favorite movie about? You know, people not being born? Is it the butterfly effect like Lara? is it it’s a wonderful life?

Lara Taylor 1:04:42
its not my favorite It’s the one that

Josué Cardona 1:04:45
you said it was your favorite is it is a wonderful life like for Marc is it back to the future for Link? because Link’s all about

Link Keller 1:04:57
that’s the one you picked for me? okay,

Josué Cardona 1:04:59
yeah, because because you’re so excited about that, gotta make sure that your parents that your parents get together. Yeah, no,

Link Keller 1:05:06
I mean I my favorite Back to the Future is the Futurama episode where Fry is his own grandpa. Not really the Christmas vibe

Josué Cardona 1:05:22
an interesting take on the grandfather paradox. Yeah. community spaces are in the show notes. Remember to geek out and do good happy holidays. Happy New Year, and we’ll see y’all in 2023

Link Keller 1:05:41
mmm bye!

Josué Cardona 1:05:42
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place to geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter was at Geek therapy.org

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Characters / Media
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • The Fairly Odd Parents (TV series)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
  • Butterfly Effect (2004)
  • Supergirl (TV series)
  • Wendell and Wild (2022)
  • World Without Superman (comic arc)
  • Captain America
  • Weathering with You (2019)
  • Life is Strange (video game series)
  • Shrek Forever After (2010)
  • The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
  • Trial by Trolley (board game)
Themes / Topics

Conversation Topics:

* REBT / Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy
* CBT / Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
* Consequences
* Death
* Difficult emotions
* Family
* Fear
* Feeling alone
* Mental Health Services
* Perfectionism
* Suicide
* Sacrifice for others

Relatable Experience:

* Boundaries
* Clarity/Understanding
* Coming of age/Getting older
* Death
* Depression
* Loss (other than death)
* Responsibility
* Self-Reflection
* Suicidal Ideation
* Trauma

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

Links / Social Media

Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com

GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org

GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord

GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy

Find us at www.GeekTherapy.org | @GeekTherapy | Lara: @GeekTherapist | Link: @CHICKENDINOSAUR | Josué: @JosueACardona

Ask us anything through the Question Queue and we’ll answer on the show: geektherapy.org/qq

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What are your favorite holiday movies? What are your existential crises during the holidays?

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