Jealousy is something that we all deal with and experience. It is, as Shakespeare said, the green eye’d monster. Stemming from a discussion this morning, I think that there are two kinds of jealous: one banal and one that is very malignant.
Someone gets a [new tv, car, pair of shoes, boyfriend/girlfriend, job, or promotion]. You are happy for them and their successes, but you have a pang – something that says, “Man, I wish that were me.” But you do not begin plotting their doom. You do not let it consume you. You do not start hunting around for the Aunts from Practical Magic to curse the person. (Not that they’d do that, mind you.)
Same scenario as list above, except that the event makes you FERAL. You resent this person for their happiness or achievement. You begin to mutter about how they don’t deserve it – how it should have been you. Then you credit the event to one of two things: connections or looks. So, it’s all because the person knows the right people and/or has a nice ass. (Yeah, I said it.)
Here’s the thing: I understand Banal Jealousy. I do not understand Malignant Jealousy. For one thing, the person it affects the most? The person who is jealous. It is, as Carrie Fisher said, like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. (Great phrasing.) It doesn’t serve a purpose. Instead, it steals from you. It steals hope. It is an excuse to stop trying.
This morning, someone attributed success to beauty. Not a combination of things, mind you – beauty alone. Not hard work, talent, perseverance, strength of will, or anything else. Just beauty. And, quite frankly, it made me angry.
You can be the prettiest person in the world, but still be dumb as a post. You cannot invalidate, or remove, someone’s hard work – simply based on looks. That’s absurd. And it reeks of the kind of envy that cripples, because it shows a lack of humanity. In its place, there is a rabid form of resentment and disgust – it is a mantra of, “Why me? If I were [taller, prettier, blonder etc], it would have been ME!”
Let me tell you a story, ok? When I was in high school, a friend’s family had a friend visiting from Australia. I cannot remember his name at the moment, so we’ll just call him Dave. Dave had the benefit of being hot. He had a stellar accent. He was absolutely lovely to look at. At first, I had a crush on him. I mean, who wouldn’t? But then…an hour into hanging out at my friend’s house, and I quickly realized…he was flaming asshole. Conceited, arrogant, and pretty much a jerk – it was very disappointing. I spent two days at their house, and that was enough time to realize that he may be pretty, but he was lacking in substance.
Here’s a confession: I don’t think of myself as pretty. It’s not who I am. Right now, I could pick at least a dozen things I don’t like about myself. I can tell you about how I was chunky in high school, how I had buck teeth as a kid (and was made fun of), and I can tell you how someone I had a crush on my sophomore year told me that I was fat. Worse, that he would date me…if I were thinner. That really messed me up for a while.
But I can’t tell you how many times someone has dismissed me because they think I’m attractive. For a job, I walked into a meeting with a man (who I knew, previously) who was showing me around. We ran into someone we mutually knew, who quipped, “Gee, I didn’t know I was supposed to bring a date.” I was later told that I got the job, because I was pretty – and not because I’d approached the person in charge with a proposal and a business plan.
The truth is…it’s frustrating to be dismissed or overlooked for ANY reason. It sucks. It hurts. But it happens. You walk it off, because you don’t win by giving up and blaming the world. It doesn’t serve you. It is like chaining yourself to a refrigerator, jumping in the ocean – and blaming the ocean for drowning you.
I’ve been jealous of people, relationships, promotions, and other writers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a sentence and said, “Damn, I wish I wrote that.” But it’s not murderous, rabid, bunny-boiling jealousy. It’s a fleeting thing. A pang.
(Spoilers, if you haven’t seen the episode from 1.22.12)
“I will find her. I will always find her.”
Last night, I caught up on the latest episode of Once Upon a Time. It really struck a chord with me, and I found the episode (titled 7:15am) was beautifully hard to watch. There was no graphic violence, no death, and no gore. But watching it, it made me feel too much. I was rendered a heap, trust me.
For those who don’t know, the premise of the show is simple. In Fairytale Land, the evil queen cast a spell that trapped all the fairytale characters in Storybrooke (a fictional town in our world). Their only chance for rescue is Emma, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming; she was shielded from the curse. There’s a lot of back and forth between Fairytale Land and Storybrooke, showing the parallels and disparities, giving the audience insights into each character. For instance, the episode that centered on Rumplestiltskin (aka Mr. Gold) exposed his beginnings and that he does, indeed, have a heart.
This show has taught me a lot about storytelling, even though it’s a different medium than I’m used to. Each character is nuanced. Each actor plays it to the hilt. And there are so many layers in a single look, so many whispers in a single word; it is inspiring. There is no black and white (except, if you ask me, the Evil Queen – aka Regina, the Mayor).
There is nothing that steals my heart more than a good, obstacle-laden romance. This most recent episode centered on Mary Margaret (Snow White) and David (Prince Charming). First, it expanded their fairytale love story, giving us another remind that “the course of true love ne’er did run smooth.” Then, in Storybrooke, we find the two running into each other, with increasingly deliberate measure. Until, that is, Mary Margaret tries to spare herself the pain. She can’t have him, and it hurts to see him. Who can’t relate to THAT? You see, in Storybrooke, David is married to someone else (blonde, kind of annoying. I cannot remember her name). Personally, I think that it is the work of magic, but only time will bear that out. You see, David was in a coma for YEARS; he didn’t really remember The Wife, until he spied a windmill at Mr. Gold’s. Coincidence? I think not.
Anyway, Mary Margaret and David keep looking at each other, their entire faces infuse with joy and longing. It is intense. It’s enough to stop hearts and clocks, causing the world to spin just a bit slower. (Or am I editorializing again? Oh, well.)
The interesting thing, here, is you NEVER get the feeling that David is a typical douchebag. He’s not playing both sides against the middle. He’s not some shady guy. You really get the sense that he’s genuinely conflicted, that he has feelings he doesn’t know how to handle, tamp down, or exorcise himself of. In that wasteland of confusion, he’s instantly every person who’s ever felt something “wrong,” who has loved in the wrong direction. It’s the same for Mary Margaret, too. She’s really TRYING to be a good person. She’s trying hard not to muck up lives, sacrificing her own feelings in the process.
Sometimes, what can be said with a look cannot be said in words. The same goes for a kiss, for all the passion that goes into it. Feelings gather and pull, laud and leap. A smoldering look can sing. A kiss can fill up the heart until it almost dares to burst. Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas are superb at conveying this. You look at them, struggling against their own hearts, and you can feel the pain of it. It’s not as easy as right and wrong. It just is. And it’s hard to talk about shoulds and shouldn’ts, when they (after each trying to avoid the other) finally kiss. (Skip to 1:10, to see the Present Day)
Call me heartless or evil, if you want, but I’m rooting for these two. Even if their Fairytale Land counterparts didn’t exist, I would still be cheering them on. Because they are two characters with enough love and passion to burn through the screen. It reminds me that love and passion lead us to do crazy, unusual things. It makes us foolish and bold, but it is often the very best kind of madness. And, really, they want what EVERYONE wants at the end of the day: to be found. We all want to be seen. We all want someone we can’t live without, who doesn’t run at the first sign of trouble (and hell, who often goes rushing headlong into it for our sake). A love that, despite the obstacles, can overcome just about anything — even amnesia, even obligations, even a broken heart.
“I am a few years older now and I know this: There are tastes of mouths I could not have lived without; there are times I’ve pretended it was just about the sex because I couldn’t stand the way my heart was about to burst with happiness and awe and I couldn’t be that vulnerable, not again, not with this one. That waiting to have someone’s stolen seconds can burn you alive. That the shittiest thing you can do in the world is lie to someone you love; also that there are certain times you have no other choice—not honoring this fascination, this car crash of desire, is also a lie. That there is power in having someone risk everything for you. That there is nothing more frightening than being willing to take this freefall. That it is not as simple as we were always promised. Love—at least the pair-bonded, prescribed love—does not conquer all. It does not conquer desire.
Arrow, meet heart. Apple, meet Eve.” ~Daphne Gottlieb
Desire is a car crash. It’s a bending road on a starless night. You’re on foot. There’s fog. No one driving is using their headlights. It’s one part insanity, another part need, with more than a pinch of adventure. If, that is, you’re doing it right – which is to say, honoring it.
There’s not easy about desire. Nothing safe or timid. It is unforgiving and relentless. It is a willful goddess, always demanding tribute. Fickle and flighty, not to be trusted. Then again, neither is your heart. After all, it wants what it wants. Nothing more, nothing less – forgetting that there is no less. It’s all or nothing. The sooner you realize that, the better. You won’t be safer, but you will be wiser. There’s a power in knowing what’s coming. In seeing it, before it sees you.
Yes, I know: desire wrecks lives. It razes and destroys people and institutions. It will filch your good sense, if you ever had any. But, again: so will love. I don’t know which is worse – that is to say, which is more clever and more powerful. Both are a thief with expert hands. Both tear apart what otherwise might not be torn. Both are a kind of madness.
We like to pretend that we are immune. That temptation doesn’t sing out, loudly, in the middle of the day. We like to relegate it to semi-forgotten, semi-hidden shadows. Dark corners that gather dust. But that isn’t true. Desire comes hurtling out of smiles, grazing touches, small sly words. Moments herald it, tending and keeping it warm.
It is not a spot on a map to be avoided. X doesn’t mark the spot. You cannot travel to it or avoid it. Look, you are already there. You are already in the midst of that jungle. Forget about the poisons and the snakes. You’re gone. You’re done for. Forget running.
All your days start and end right here.
(This is what I get for reading too much poetry before bed.)
There is something to be said for silence. It is the kind of thing that drowns. It is the kind of thing that whirls around a heart, a suffocating blanket of absence.
One of the things I dislike the most is a lack of closure. A lack of an ending. The absence of an appalling fight, names called, some kind of finality – even if it’s messy. (From a person who loathes discord to her core, THAT is saying something.)
Very few relationships in my life have ended without ending. If I am able to, I set things to right before stepping away. It is an act of common decency and respect. To do anything less in an act of cowardice. There are friends I’ve had to walk away from, writing something akin to a break up email, letter, or phone call. Unless the person turns out to be a serial killer with devastating mommy issues, I believe a person has a right to hear goodbye.
It’s one small word, laden with intent well beyond its small syllables. But I believe it’s that very word that eventually frees us, allowing us to extract ourselves from someone who (symbolically and literally) becomes the past.
For clarity’s sake, I’m not talking about the Passive Aggressive Goodbye. You know that kind, the one that begs for a punch in the face, because the person has become the King of the Douchebag Parade in Assholeville. (I’m looking at you, College Guy – who once answered me by telling me that his GIRLFRIEND was there and wouldn’t let him talk to me anymore. There was, honest-to-Java something else in there about missing pants – and I laughed out loud. Because, dear friends and gentle readers, he was annoyed at me – because I wouldn’t date him. And the girlfriend was found out to be a figment of his imagination.)
No, I’m talking about an actual, sometimes difficult as hell ending. Not a break up text. Not a public dismal, like the one in Someone Like You (while face-to-face, such a public occasion is appallingly strategic). I mean a real, true conversation. It doesn’t have to last an hour. It can be as brief as ten minutes. It should not involve thrown objects, bodily harm, or insults befitting a five year old with an emotional IQ of dirt. Or blueberry scones. (What? I haven’t had breakfast yet, and I’m hungry.)
There are a few instances in my life that lacked a real, solid goodbye. For years, I’d push the experiences aside, only to dredge them up again, prodding at it haplessly, as if I could conjure up a reason. As if I could, by sheer will alone, make it make SENSE.
You know the type. Here one moment, gone the next. A person who vanishes in such a manner that Houdini would gape and utter, “What the fuck was that?”
Yes, what the fuck was that? (Hint: Generally, the true answer is…no one knows, not even the Houdini Master.)
The guy who says he will call you in two days, when he’s back from a trip – and then doesn’t. It’s like he’s vanished off the face of the planet. If you’re Bridget Jones or Ally McBeal, you imagine he’s been besieged by wild dogs, or his phone has been snatched away by magic, cell phone eating squirrels. Somewhere down the line, you begin referring to his as The Asshole, and that’s that. (Regardless of reasoning, gentleman, that behavior is douchetastic.)
Then there’s the guy who cannot make up his mind. Oh, he is CHARMING. And he seems innocent enough, knowing exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to talk you down from the ledge – when you finally get angry enough to tell him that he’s a fuckwit. He apologizes, seems to improve his behavior, and begs for forgiveness. Days, weeks, and months go by – all things are good. Then, without a word or whisper of a hint, he disappears as if fallen through a trapdoor that leads to the center of the earth. (Where, by the way, you imagine him being eaten alive by direwolves OR being burned to death by molten hot magma – pronounced like Dr. Evil would.)
Questionable taste in men aside (and trust me, these examples are not entirely true-to-life, but exaggerated for emphasis, boiled down to Asshat Concentrate, if you will) – these things happen. And they are a vile endeavor, one that cannot be avoided or ignored. They leave a mark, often ripping you inside out, questioning your sanity and possibly seeking to self-blame. (This kind of thing has happened to EVERY woman I know – at LEAST once.)
Today, I was reading an essay in the MODERN LOVE section of The New York Times. I’m a sucker for a good love story, even if it ends badly. This one did. This one talked about the guys who vanish. (Yes, women do this, too. Let me acknowledge my gender bias, via laziness. I don’t want to have to type guy/girl or women/men all the time.) Exit Left, Wordlessly is a wonderfully written piece, but it taught me one very important thing: the term ambiguous loss. I never encountered it in any psychology classes I took, but apparently it is the term for the kind of loss where there is no body, one rife with unfinished business and a dearth of closure.
It’s the kind of end without an ending. As the author writes, “No message. No note. He wasn’t dead in a ditch.” There was no cauterizing the relationship. No dénouement. Just an unexpected, caustic flatlining.
It’s almost a balm to put a name to that kind of experience. There is power in knowing and understanding. While I do not understand the phenomenon of ambiguous loss, it is interesting to know that it is an actual THING. Of course, it might be slightly more satisfying if the notion was called Jerkface Syndrome or Jackass Disease. Or, perhaps, something more clever, like Cleavering or Wickhaming. By as it stands, the trouble is termed in truth.
It is a kindness to end things with an actual ending. Life’s stage direction should never be ‘exit left, wordlessly.’ If that occurs, perhaps the next one will be ‘exit left, pursued by bear.’ And no, I don’t mean Yogi chasing a picnic basket.
I feel like we all need some positivity. It’s been kind of rough few days, and today comes with a sick cat – and an impeding vet visit. So, without further ado, I’m going to talk about some people I admire and some awesome things.
1. The Strange Brew. Best coffee, ever. I’m not kidding. I NEVER joke about coffee. (Or money, right Vivian?) I am hopelessly addicted to the lovely Toni Carr (aka Joan of Dark, Derby Girl and Kickass Woman – seriously. She is training for the craziest thing ever. Check it: Tough Mudder ) If you love coffee, buy yourself a bag. SHE SHIPS. Which is good, because if she didn’t, I’d have to move to Indiana.
2. The one and only, Fabulous Lorraine (aka Quiche Me Deadly) – or Lorraine Garland. Lorraine is badass. She is also a Derby Girl, a musician, a Bengal Cat rescuer (have you SEEN the Leopard Lounge? You MUST.), and veritable Jane of All Trades. If you’re looking for a new blog to add your reading list, add hers. Not only is Lorraine smart, wise, and awesome – but she ALWAYS has wonderful stories to tell, things you will admire, and a ton of tidbits that will inspire you. Trust me. Plus, the community there? Well, it’s pretty fantastic.
3. Tea cups made from recycled book pages (link courtesy of the fantastic Gabriel Rodriguez). These are GORGEOUS. I am so very impressed by the talent it takes to make something like that. And, I’m guessing, the patience. Beautiful art.
4. For anyone not already addicted, BEHOLD – The Lipstick Queen! For all the ladies, of course – or Executive Transvestites.😉 I cannot say enough good things about her lipstick and gloss. They are so fabulous. They stay put. They are not sticky. The colors are divine. And her brand is responsible for all of my awesome red lip color. Go forth and ADMIRE. (Deanna Raybourn, you are responsible for my addiction to her products. For which, I offer you a thousand thank yous.)
5. Janet Reid, literary agent, whiskey drinker, and Shark of the Book Realm. While I don’t know Janet personally, I can tell you this – she is out to help writers. She wants to clarify, encourage, assist, and HELP. Her blog entries (also at Query Shark) are one of the best resources I’ve found. Plus, she is agent to some pretty amazing writers. Speaking of…
6. Sean Ferrell. Sean is a wonderful writer. (Have YOU read NUMB? No? Remedy that.) He writes things that resonate so well with readers. His wonderful turn-of-phrase (is there a plural for that? Turns of phrases? No, that sounds wrong…) evokes admiration and minor cases of jealously. Often, I find myself saying, “I wish I thought of that phrasing…” But Sean is more than just another pantless, scotch-drinking keyboard monkey. He is smart, and he is encouraging. If you don’t believe me, read his blog. Hell, read his blog, anyway.
7. The Pioneer Woman. Ree Drummond is a goddess. A cooking, camera-wielding genius. I get a lot of my recipes from her site (and her cookbook!), and you will not be sorry. Of course, if you peruse her archieve of reicpes, don’t do it on an empty stomach. Otherwise, you will find yourself surrounded by dirty pots and pans, snarfing down cinnamon rolls, pasta, and cheese grits. I…may be editorializing a bit. Delicious, yes – but not exceptionally pretty.
8. Etsy.com. This site is a magical world of homemade crafts, ranging from jewelry to furniture. I love supporting handmade creations and businesses. I have never been unhappy with a purchase, and there is so much there to love. Check it out.
9. Anastasia Traina. This lovely lady is as smart as she is funny, as witty as she is wise, and as artistic and she is wonderful. Aside from her Zingers blog, she also is founder and CEO of A FUNNY BUNNY PICTURE. Ana is a brilliant photographer and drawer, and there is always a recipe or two to be found on her blog.
I tend to be a grammar conservative. I worship the Oxford comma. I will bend over backwards to properly use a semicolon; I believe that semicolons, when used properly, are genius. I think that anyone who overuses the word ‘pervasive’ should be throttled with a leather-bound edition of the Complete Works of Shakespeare. If necessary, I will lend you mine.
I think that rules are rules and some are meant to be broken. I also believe that you must KNOW which rule you are breaking, before smashing it with a misplaced COMMA – especially where creative writing is concerned.
I am appallingly unskilled at writing in meter. Iambic pentameter is gorgeous, but I tend to bastardize it and fall out of proper adherence at an alarming rate. I refuse to text, IM, or email in shorthand. I think it is ridiculous and lazy, and it’s even worse when “professionals” adopt the practice.
So, it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that I’d like to strike unnecessary Zs from common practice. Its presence evokes laziness, rappers (Jay-z, I’m looking at you), and a desperate NEED to seem cool. Except anyone who does this isn’t cool, will never be cool, and I cannot take you seriously. Worse yet, I cannot take your business seriously.
This morning, I was writing emails to various places when I came across a business name that looked something like this: [XYZ] Business Solutionz.
SOLUTIONZ? Congratulations, you’ve sent me into a rage before nine a.m. You have also guaranteed that I will never consider your company, ever. Why? Well, it looks like either you cannot spell properly or you don’t give an unholy flying frak of a damn about ACTUALLY spelling correctly. Neither of these things inspires confidence.
Imagine, for a moment, if some very popular things had adopted such a UNIQUE spelling:
- Edward Zcizzorhandz
- Ztanford Univerzity
In case it isn’t clear to the masses who are drinking the grammatically horrific kool-aid, Z and S? They are two different letters! That’s why the alphabet includes BOTH of them. Sure, Z is kind of underused, but that doesn’t mean it should be wielded with impunity whenever the urge strikes you.
Consider, if you would, if we did this with other letters. Q, for instance. Randomly, we will now substitute Qs for Rs. BEHOLD:
- Qegional Distqict Manageq
- Pqinceton Univeqsity
The English language would be unrecognizable. How in the seven hells would you even pronounce that crap? Hint: You wouldn’t. The world would fall into incomprehensible CHAOS, ensuring insanity befitting Lord of the Flies. PRAY that you are not Piggy, folks.
In all seriousness, though, this practice of shortening words to the bare bones, replacing letters, and using this in a professional setting – it’s a poor business strategy. If you do this, you are on par with the person who routinely comma splices EVERYTHING. Such practices fill me with unbridled annoyance, occasional rage-spasms, and make me seriously doubt your capabilities.
If you want to appear smart and knowledgeable, forget the shortcuts. Don’t try to be über-trendy. And for the love of coordinating conjunctions, do NOT attach a frakkin’ Z to the name of your business.
You are not Ke$ha. I hope.
This has happened to everyone reading this, I’m sure. Your phone bings, beeps, dings, or vibrate. You, my good fellow, have a message. Large cheer! Who could it be? What might he/she have to say? Surely, it’s Hugh Jackman. (What? A girl can dream. I also have an acceptable list of substitutes. AHEM.)
You flip open you phone, or slide to unlock it. You push a button read your message, and then – your smile drops. Annoyance creeps into your face. It’s either one of two things:
- A religious-based text message, with a typical forward-style threat (FORWARD THIS, PUNY HUMAN, OR THE DEVIL WILL EAT YOUR SOUUUUUUUL. Right after, of course, he’s done with Daniel Webster and after he leaves Georgia.) Not only is this text saturated with religious propaganda so ripe that it nearly reeks of brimstone and burning hell fire, it is also is strategically infused with enough guilt to make your grandma proud. Upon reading it, you realize that the sender has considered several things:
- You are not an openly religious person. And, even if you are, you don’t respond to Jesus-based threats. Buddy Christ would FROWN on this strategy.
- This is the text equivalent of those hideous forwards that only certain people pass on, either out of guilt or the secret belief that their hair WILL truly fall out if they do not pass on the magic Rogaine forward to everyone they’re ever met. The “friend” who texted this to you will probably never step on a crack, cross a black cat, or walk under a ladder. That should give you an idea of how to antagonize him/her in the future.
- This person is a few communion wafers short of a proper mass.
Things like this irk me. For one thing, I dislike when anyone proselytizes about religion. I don’t think that’s something that is beneficial to ANYONE. For the record, I was raised Catholic. I am not a very good Catholic, mind you, but I DO say a prayer on the rare occasions I enter a church – and do not burst into flames. Small miracles.
The other strange affront happens when you least expect. You are having your morning coffee, checking emails and sending off notes. Perhaps it is your lunch break, and you want to log into Facebook to see what your friends are up to – or, more honestly, who has posted the cute cat pictures today (City Kitties WIN at that. Check them out.) You log in to your account, and BAM! Your jaw hits the floor.
- You have a friend invite. Curious as Alice before the rabbit hole, you click on the invitation. Once you do, an immediate dread fills every inch of your body. It is ONE of the following people:
- The person who made your middle school/high school experience so miserable that you half-considered begging to be homeschooled. This is the kid of called you Josie Grossy, ran your underwear up the flag poll, or routinely made fun of your clothing. In short, a minion of the aforementioned SATAN.
- The Ex you have been trying to forget OR the one you’re so thankful to be rid of that you threw a PARTY when you broke up.
- The single most horrific excuse for a human being that you’ve ever met. He/she lies proficiently, so artfully that Iago would be instantaneously jealous. (Not that he/she would ever admit to such atrocities.) He/she is a person who should not own animals or be around children, AND YET… He/she once asked a question so appalling and inappropriate that he/she should’ve lost the right to speak for the rest of his/her natural born life. If this were a Shakespearean play, his/her tongue would’ve been forfeit and then made into a lovely pie. (Ms. Lovett would be PROUD.)
This is, undoubtedly, the strangest thing about Facebook. People you haven’t spoken to since you were eight suddenly FIND you, and it’s like the Golden Fleece has been lifted from their eyes, and OH MY GOD, let’s be BFFs!!! (Yes, I know that you can set it so people can’t find you, but then you run the risk of excluding the one person out of a hundred that you’d actually like to talk to.) Personally, I’ve reconnected with some great people on Facebook. But every now and then, I get an invite that I really wish I didn’t. If it was as simple as running into this kind of person in the street, I can deal with it easily enough. But when faced with the decision of accepting an invite, or declining the damn thing for someone to see, I have reservations about it. No one likes to be declined, but decorum and sanity suggest that accepting an invitation that most surely would threaten one’s mental health is unwise. (If only Jane Austen were around. She would’ve said that more eloquently than I.)
So, I know that I’m not alone in these two examples. Share with me your tales of Texting and Internet Woe. Regale me, if you will, with all the horror stories you can muster. And, maybe someday, I’ll tell you about that one crazy ex-friend who e-stalked me for over two years.
Until next time, loves, remember: when the choice is either CAKE or DEATH, choose cake. Not OR DEATH.