Let’s Talk About Death

Most of the people who are going to be reading this will be in the morning when it glides across their timelines on various social media websites. To have the most minimal control over what people read over their morning coffee is the sole reason I write. Not actually, but could you imagine the power trip that someone gets from writing daily editorials that are skimmed over ritually every day of the week? I would not be the least bit surprised if someone out there found it intoxicatingly addicting.

I have written about Death on this website several times before. I’m also using a big “D” because personification of the unknowable is an easy way to combat fear of it. That is why I refer to the amalgamation of my depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety as “The Enemy”. Unfortunately, The Enemy is the thing I hate most in the world and it is wholly and completely a part of me.

I have barely glided through these past few days without a singular thought that everyone that even barely knows me is afraid of. Unfortunately for, well, everyone, the best way I can pull this thought’s greasy fangs off of me is to write candidly about it. It is a compound thought that has been haunting me for years and has been the reason for many a departure in my life. Purely and simply, Nobody loves me and I want to die.

‘But Jeffrey!,’ scream the not-so hoi polloi, “After the last scare where everyone freaked the fuck out, you swore you would talk to someone about it.”

Yes, dear masses, and that I did. I reached out every single time there was even an inkling of pain. Even the smallest detection of The Enemy set off every alarm bell. The size did not matter, I was to totally exterminate every single trace of it. Not only for the comfort and ease of my loved ones, but for my own happiness.  I started being frank with people. I started doing things that I wanted to do. I was even half attempting to dress myself nicely.

I allowed conversation to flow freely and continually asked everyone I associated with the same question. What do you see when you look at me? I finally had my weapons to fight The Enemy. There was only one thing I needed to do. Regenerate.

When I use the word ‘regenerate’ I refer to its meaning in the show Doctor Who. In the show, The Doctor, an alien, can prevent death by total cellular regeneration. Unfortunately, it changes his face and personality. So, in an essence, The Doctor ‘dies’, but continues on as a different person. Same memories and beliefs for the most part, just different.

The trigger of a regeneration is often time traumatic. For example, the first time I consider myself to have regenerated was the first time I had sex. For most of my life I believed in abstinence, but when it came down to the wire I went ahead with it anyway and it changed me. My outlook on everything skewed. It was not a bad thing by any means, but it changed things. The second time I regenerated was the first time I ever thought about killing myself. I sat alone in a cold bathtub and considered ending my life. Once more, it changed me permanently.

I foresaw the third and most recent regeneration and ran from it. I refused to accept it as fact and tried to ignore it. In my ignoring it, The Enemy built up a massive offensive against me and I began to lose my grip on juts about everything. School and work crashed and burned. My social life stagnated. I gained far more weight than I would like to admit.

I will not go into the specifics of what happened, but I will give you the simplified version. I said goodbye to someone I loved more than anyone I had ever met. It was not a nice sendoff nor was this a sudden occurrence. It just so happened that the second person I put my full trust and faith into, for there own reasons, no longer was a part of my life. My acceptance of that regenerated me.

So, what has changed? My outlook on trust, happiness, friendship and love have all altered. Not for the worse mind you. I would sooner die (Ha) than become a cynic. Life is a grand and beautiful exploration of each other and I believe that trust, happiness, friendship, and love are the inseparable pillars that hold the whole damn thing together.

Where does Death play into this? Well, Death and The Enemy are two wholly and separate entities. Death is not inherently vengeful. Death is natural and should only be feared as it is a total unknown. The Enemy knows my weaknesses. The Enemy knows my vices. The Enemy knows my anger and uses it against me to drive me into the always welcoming arms of Death. Unfortunately, The Enemy is a part of me and often time that part of me can become so overwhelming that Death seems easier than ever.

But the regeneration helped me combat The Enemy. I had more tools in my arsenal. I could weaponize my anger and siphon it into creativity. I could blog and vlog and write and run. How did I get to where I am now though? Well, maybe I should be more specific as to where I am at.

A few weeks ago I was in Nashville with my brother and two of my greatest friends in the world. Two loyal and trustworthy companions whom I love to such an extent that I have immortalized both of them in my private journals. I was saying the word “bro” over and over. Ad nauseum does not even scratch the surface. In the span of ten minutes, I must have said it out loud closer to 500 times. I then realized how annoying I was and become despondent (on the inside, I only showed a mild perturbation against myself outwardly) over the fact that I was being a jerk and not the Better Man I swore to be.

Over the following weeks I noticed more and more things I hated about myself in the company of others and would often compensate for my inner turmoil by being far more needy and dramatic outwardly. I continually messaged people I barely talked to. I referred to long past events as if they were still relevant. I stoked not the fires of revolution and love, but the blaze of compassionless vitriol.

Very few moments of fun and clarity have marked my waking hours these past few weeks. They included watching two sub-par animated movies with my brother, making friends with a black cat, and listening to ten different versions of Carol of the Bells sitting in a car. The fear of people leaving my life kept creeping in so I foolishly tried to hold onto every tighter.

All of this was new to me though, I was acting far more paradoxical than ever. I was being needy but reclusive. I was being loud with a short fuse. I was creating insurmountable evidence in the case against me. The past few weeks I have put myself on trial for crimes against my very nature. The verdict was guilty. What happened though?

I fell right into The Enemy’s trap. The bevy of mental health issues had done something that my years of therapy (which I have avoided like the plague for over a month now because of the overwhelming desire for death) did not prepare me for. It evolved. It changed its plan of attack. Simply: It regenerated. Right alongside me.

Suddenly people I trusted became pariahs. Suddenly loneliness with a blade was an open invitation for a slit wrist. I went from annoying prep and backflipped into greaser lightning fast. I wanted to fight. I wanted to spark conflict.

Worst of all, I stayed angry. I began to dwell on those that I believed wronged me. I began to despise the very thought of the people I loved the most. The Enemy was revoking my trust, dissolving my happiness, burning my friendships, and souring my love.

Subconsciously, I noticed this and did the only thing I have ever done in situations of severe crisis. I cried out for help. Not in the usual video or blog format however. One night. One terrible awful night, of the few people that I had decided could still stand my presence. I contacted each and every one of them for company. I needed someone, anyone to just come and distract me through the night. I KNEW that something terrible was going to happen.

No one came.

My greatest fear in regard to my friendships and relationships with other people is misjudging where I stand with them. Hell, for all I know, this misjudgment was the impetus for my last regeneration. I feared that I was about to live my last night on Earth until my brother relented from his routine and stayed up to watch a few movies with me.

Unfortunately, the ever present desire to welcome Death has not gone away. The lack of love for myself is almost palpable. It seems that all my progress has reversed and I am further behind in emotional maturity and intelligence than I was when I had that first suicidal thought. I feel that I have retrogressed.

My best friend, my favorite coworker, and practically any theater friend I made last semester are no longer players on the overly long board game that is my life. I miss them all dearly, but how can I ask someone to return if I want to leave myself?


I welcome any and all discussion.


Alone in the Theater

I am a part of a generation that sees going to the movies as a very social event. One night out with friends or a significant other to see a movie is the most basic way to spend a night with people my age.


I love movies. I love seeing movies. I love hanging out too, so I have traditionally delayed seeing something in theaters until I had at least one other person to go see it with. In my Freshman year of college, when I was in a relationship and all my friends had the same schedule as me I saw a new movie every week. I saw everything I wanted to see in theaters during that time. The good, the bad, and the ugly (Looking at you The Identical) were all seen by me and my gaggle of pals.

Then things changed. The relationship ended, some friendships faded, and schedules changed. Suddenly going to see movies with my friends went from a weekly thing to maybe once every few months. A part of my life basically disintegrated and I didn’t realize until recently.

Now, I have always been a big proponent of doing things by yourself.  It is very easy for someone who has a girlfriend and sees their friends everyday to say things like, “You can always do things by yourself”, “Being alone doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun”, or “You don’t need friends/a significant other to treat yourself”. When all of that stopped I felt like I had to eat my own words.

I didn’t do things by myself. I couldn’t do things by myself. Isolation put chains around me and the idea of having fun with no one else around became myth. Something I could entertain in my thoughts, but could never aspire to reach.

Then the story, as a tragic number of stories do, took a darker turn. My depression got worse, my anxiety attacks became more frequent, and my bipolar disorder swung harder. It became difficult to even go to bed without suffering from some sort of attack. And I continued to do nothing different in my life. I kept the same habits, I kept the same everything. So, I kept the same conditions.

Then something in me, as many things have, broke. Guardians of the Galaxy VOL. 2 came out. It wasn’t like I was counting down the days to this movie. I’d only seen the original in theaters once and haven’t seen it since. I asked the usual group of people and they had plans with other people to see it, I asked another group and they had already seen it, I finally asked people I had never seen a movie with and I was met with either no response or something that the first two groups had given me. I went to see it by myself. I bought my ticket and drink. Sat my lonely ass down in a theater seat and watched Chris Pratt fight Kurt Russell.

Then, a week later, I saw it again with one of my closest friends.

Last night, I asked less people if they wanted to see Wonder Woman and all of them had their reasons not to. So I went to see it alone. Earlier that day I asked my friend and former film teacher how often he sees movies by himself and it gave me a resolve not to make myself wait so much anymore. I don’t need other people to do what I want and seeing movies by myself is the first step to doing many other things.

I Almost Killed Myself on May 19th

All year I have really been ignoring my mood. I have allowed myself bad days, but the worst days I would weather without trying to talk to anyone about them. I would simply ask a friend over and distract myself until I fell asleep.

I began self-harming in very small ways a few months ago to break the overwhelming depression and, for a time, it worked.

Today I went outside, listened to music, decided to kill myself, hugged my Mom goodbye and went into my room and was numb for hours. The reason I am typing this is because I was unable to say it on video or write it in a journal.

I have people constantly asking me if I am okay and I have been lying to all of them. There is a reason this semester was the worst one I ever had. There is a reason I stopped writing anything outside of small journal entries. There is a reason I have spent the last week trying to talk to everyone I can.

I am not okay.

This is an admission and an apology. I do not know how to help myself. I am sorry for lying to you.

I Miss Acting

I am an actor. I have no current evidence to present that can substantiate that claim, but I believe truly an empirically that I am an actor. Like many artists, I am afflicted with a terrifying variety of mental health issues that make functioning even in the simplest of ways difficult. Actors must be able to function in ways far less simple than those that reality pushes onto us. I have always refused to use these diseases as an excuse however.

I have a great deal of friends who are actors as well. A few of them have even seen me act and continue to push me towards what I ultimately miss. I have the support of friends and family. Most importantly, I have the desire to continue. It is a burning desire that, when properly recognized, makes any and all anxieties paltry piles of ash and soot.

When I see a show, I let my mind wonder how I could have fit into it if I had auditioned. Even when I force myself to audition, I let the disease outweigh the desire and become a nervous wreck. I have self-sabotaged so many attempts at participating within shows around my community because of my lack of belief in myself.

I have let this disease take root and create cavities in my talent. I have let is gnaw at the very infrastructure of my dreams. The disease has maintained me where it wants me.

No more.

No more stopping myself. No more ruining my chances before I can even take a shot. I am starved of the adrenaline. I crave acting like I crave moonlight. I love acting like I love the stars. It surrounds me. It drives me.  It focuses me.

I will miss it no longer. I will join it again.

I Wander to Wonder

Have I ever written about how old I feel? No, that’s not entirely right. I feel worn out. I feel that I’ve been alive for years beyond my actual age because I struggle, on some days at least, to remind myself exactly what my purpose is.

I try to keep my tools sharp. I heat the forge of my personality and make sure than everything from my charisma to my wit is battle ready. I polish my charm and tighten my intellect so that I may use them as I need them. Then, I drop myself in situations where they are handy weapons. Not to endanger or attack, but to entertain and enthrall. But still, through the great days and tormented nights, I cannot find what my reason for being is.

This is a classical crisis. One where the young man feels drained and useless in a world that is simultaneously filled with the great passions he is without and about to burn to the ground. His actions feel empty. Increased purposeless activity defines every thought that breezes through his curly haired mind. The young man takes of his glasses and stretches and sings and screams and dances to change the way he sees the world.

He doesn’t need to change how he sees the world, however. The young man needs to change how he sees himself. How he treats himself.

Then it hits him, or me. I don’t see myself. I am blind to my own wants and ambitions. Transparency in my mind’s eye. I can see others so vividly. A bird’s nest of tangled hair being swept by the sea breeze or two ruby red lips curving to a smile revealing far more than just white teeth or a genuine chuckle in regard to a small forgotten statement made by me. I see people. I see everyone I love so clearly, but I do not see myself.

My mind, in response to this terrifying notion, struggles to create a facsimile of what I am supposed to be and what others have said they see in me. I try to warp and stretch my words to fit to hole I am.

Months go by without me ever even thinking of myself. Not in a heroic unselfish way, but in a plain way. I simply do not think of myself when I think of people. I do not meet whatever mark I preset. What qualifies a person in my eyes and why do I not meet these qualifications? 

Maybe that is the purpose of me writing today.

A person must have life. A person must have joy and anger and sorrow and passion. I have no more complex ideas of what a person should be. So, why am I not seen? I have my joys. I love my friends and family. I immerse myself in reading and writing and acting. I know my anger is something I do not readily admit to, but it certainly exists. Sorrow is a near constant companion when I want the unobtainable.


I find passion in my joy, anger and sorrow. I am passionate about little things, but I am at a loss in one glaring regard. I have no passion for myself. I do not see what others see in me because I simply do not see anything.

Even now, these words I type are meaningless to me. They come off as a jumbled mess and confuse my senses. I fear that my memory betrays me. I wonder, what do other people see?  Who is Jeffrey Fiene to them?

Who is Jeffrey Fiene to me?

Jeffrey Fiene feels old some days. Impossibly old and filled up. Jeffrey Fiene has extraordinary stamina and only tires when his body needs to. Jeffrey Fiene incarcerates himself in steely abandoned recesses in the dark parts of his mind so regularly that he forgets himself.

This past month I did just that. Jeffrey Fiene loves and cares and fights everyday. Jeffrey Fiene could learn to be a little more confident and a little more selfish. Jeffrey Fiene can accomplish whatever he wants.

I just need to remember that I am Jeffrey Fiene. I switch perspective to find a rope to grasp so I can pull myself back to the reality that is Jeffrey Fiene. I still struggle to see who that is. Perhaps because he is not anyone, not yet.

Jeffrey Fiene can be whoever I make him. The endless possibility of who I am and what I do is seen by me. I can pick the best parts and create myself.

I already have a few pieces, but why not take away what I despise and add what I can love? Why not create Jeffrey Fiene? I can make him real. I can give him substance. I can make him…I can make me who I want to be.


Spring Broke: Why I Can’t Drink

It has been awhile hasn’t it, dear reader? Today I am going to discuss something that I have only intimated at with other posts and discussion in my regular life.

Why I can’t get drunk is something that I am not particularly ashamed of, but never openly share because part of me sees it as a social weakness. I have been around the inebriated, the intoxicated, the buzzed, and the sloshed countless times. I did not have my first drink until well after my 21st birthday. My intake is slow and metered. I drink water with every alcoholic drink I have. I over prepare to prevent anything from altering my state of being.

I am part of a family where alcohol is a major issue. I have relatives who have drank themselves to death, become abusive alcoholics, borderline abusive alcoholics, and dry alcoholics. The genetic lottery points in every direction that once I throw myself into the watery depths of drunkenness, I could very well be there for the rest of my life.

My mental state now is one of dangerous clarity so I can make this statement without hesitation even though, when I read back on it in a moment of crisis, I will disagree with it: I am worth more than any drink on this damn planet. I am too important and unique to allow any kind of alcohol to put me at risk.

I have avoided certain parties and Spring Break trips because I knew that, at one point or another, I would be the only sober one in a group of friends. I do not say this out of animosity towards them, they were never told the two reasons I refuse to get drunk.

Number one being the slippery slope of the genetic lottery that is addiction. Number two being a simpler reason, but still more concrete than the first.

It is known to many that I suffer from Bipolar Disorder, Severe Anxiety, and Major Depression. I have to take medicine daily to make sure the chemicals in my brain are in a semi-controlled state. If I drink too much, all of that goes out the window. I have a very high likelihood of being a dangerous drunk to others or too myself. In my experience there are four types of drunk. There are the people who get violent, there are the people who get sad, there are the people who get funny, and there are the people who get stupid. They are not mutually exclusive to one another.

I have been bullied, chided, and made fun of for not choosing to drink. I have been pressured to drink by people who just want to see Jeffrey shit faced. I have even been pressured to drink by people who just want to see me falter, as if I live such a perfect life anyway.

These are the choices I make, not only for your safety, but for mine.

This is not meant to be a derision on those who choose to drink. This is meant as a general explanation why I choose not to.

John Hurt

On John Hurt

By Jeffrey Fiene


The first film I saw with John Hurt in it was Ridley Scott’s terrifying Alien. He played the poor sap who gets the egg laid in his chest. The scene everyone knows from the movie. The chestburster scene. It terrified people for decades. Because he sold it. His talent was so massive that the audience, any audience, believed that an alien parasite was burrowing its way through his body. He did such a good job that when Mel Brooks made Spaceballs he repeated the action of dying for a gag. That was who John Hurt was. He took his work seriously in every way one can. He never saw himself so importantly that he couldn’t joke. He was truly multifaceted.

The next film I saw him in was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. He played Olivander and gave Harry his first wand. He would later reprise this role as well, after a decade of being absent from the franchise, and flawlessly ease back into a minor part as if he had been playing it every day for every year since his first lines.

He could play contradictions as well. Winston Smith in 1984 was the direct antithesis of his character in V for Vendetta. He lent his voice to Watership Down and the incomparable Aragorn in Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings animated feature.

The role that cemented him as my idol though wasn’t Elephant Man or Caligula or, my own personal guilty pleasure, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He played the War Doctor in Doctor Who. For the fiftieth anniversary, they created an incarnation of the main character that was so complex and dark that he was locked away in the Doctor’s psyche. A character that had no full backstory aside from the occasional cryptic mentions of the Last Great Time War. A version of the Doctor that did the most terrible thing the Doctor ever did. The character was created to give the anniversary special, Day of the Doctor, an inside look at the Doctor’s secret shame. John Hurt, in the span of seventy some odd minutes, the shortest amount of time an actor has ever been given to have a begging an end to his time as the Doctor, established a full-fledged and entirely believable answer to the question of what the Doctor’s secret shame is.

The War Doctor was given the chance to see what would become of him. The War Doctor saw atrocity after atrocity, even some committed by him. The War Doctor could bounce from utter despondency to joy in such subtle ways. This is due to John Hurt. He incredibly gave this performance far more than any other actor coming into that role could. A man who acted for the sake of acting. A man who stood with giants and could have any role he wanted. He gave it his all. He gave every role his all.

If I can have a quarter of the body of work he had when I die, then I will pass satisfied.

Thank you for everything.

West Egg Laid

You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.

-Nick Carraway


Out of impulse I decided to reread The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I had not read it since my junior year in high school and recently acquired a second hand copy of it, as I had never owned it beforehand for myself. The annotations and highlights drew attention to the academic processes that are put into many first time readers. Sometimes early-age analysis can be detrimental to drawing a personal value from the novel.

I had very low opinions of every character in the novel after I read it the first time. I saw tom as the book described him, a hulking brute. I saw Daisy as flighty and irresponsible. I saw Jordan as one dimensional and unnecessary. Gatsby was underutilized and Nick was overdone.

Then I read it again.

Tom is by far more boorish and selfish than I had initially realized. Racism and sexism exude from the pores of his character. His contradictory attitude and claiming of people like items lead to despair and, eventually, death. The novel describes him as hulking at the beginning and it is almost as if Mr. Fitzgerald promised that would be the way we see him at the end too.

Daisy was far more complex. My initial cynicism of her character was due to a joint reading of Candide by Voltaire and that gave me a mix of worldly doubt that I focused on indecision. She is put in an unfair position through the entire book. Outwardly bold, but so willing to avoid true emotional conflict. Whoever is with her can talk her into what they need. She has been broken down by men and used as a tool. Her ending is by far the most unsatisfying. Not in a literary way, but because you really do hope for something to happen to make things easier on her. In a way, I guess Tom arranges that.

Jordan was a foil and I didn’t see much more to her this time. Definitely not one-dimensional, she gives Nick a taste of the lustful flightiness of high society. Uncompromised by not being a part of the triad of unclear love. She goes out as she came in, of her own accord.

Jay Gatsby is a very thrilling character. I will not divulge if I see any sort of relation between he and I, but I will say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. He believes that he only wants what’s best for Daisy, but doesn’t understand that he only wants what’s best for Daisy as long as she’s happily with him. He does what anyone in love would do out of desperation. Sacrifices morals. Pushes boundaries. Surrounds himself with people to fill in the void of loneliness. He lets a greedy green light drive him and he blinds himself with what he thinks is devotion.

Nick Carraway happens to be exactly what this story needs. An outsider. A ground for the lavish absurdity and harsh reality of the other characters’ lives. His needs are simple and his wants are clear. Association, tenuous at that, drags him into a summer of terribly divisive passion and love corrupted by selfishness. He feels himself being made into a necessary involvement only to be pushed aside. Shoved into tense situation after tense situation by the insistence of every character. Privy to knowledge he never wanted.

By no means should this be taken as a professional analysis. Although I am conflicted while writing this, I do hope that my motivation is clear. This novel is meant to be reread as you get older. In a sick way, the reader must force these characters through that terrible summer over and over to truly derive their own value from it.

A fear of excess and reluctance of devotion. The virtues of patience and the worth of uncompromised morals. All these things, in either direction, is what I pull from those few houses, those parties, that uncomfortably hot birthday and the soggy solitary funeral gave me.

I suppose all of that is an old sport, but it is a good one.

Letter to A. Hamilton: January 11th, 2017

Dearest Colo. Hamilton,

I want to congratulate you on your 260th (or 262nd) birthday. Even though you passed away a great many years ago, your spirit has not been more alive since the days where you regularly wrote and spoke with little inhibition. I have entire volumes of questions and praises to ask and give. You have, in this past year, impacted my existence in ways that even I, who has the firmest grasp on my emotional ideals compared to the world I live in, am troubled at funneling into sentences and paragraphs.

Your boundless energy and near-psychic anticipation for the need for a financial system in our country’s future, your bravery at separating from the empire that grieved so many and intelligence to turn that enemy into a friend, your sharp wit that spared no man whose folly was interpreted as a danger and the refusal to hypocritically take another life which led to your all-too-soon demise have driven me to extents that still break barriers.

I must say, good sir, that I have not only learned from your successes, but I have learned from your failures. You worked yourself into exhaustion many times. Your quick judgement and assessment of character and situation led to preventable disasters. Your social and political rivals could not the do damage to you that you had not already done to yourself ten times over. Many of my contemporaries believe that your trait for oratory pyrotechnics (Chernow coined that phrase) led you right into your grave.

Whether the latter is true is unimportant. What happened at Weehawken is irreversible. You are, for all biological purposes, dead. I believe that new life has been breathed into your legacy. New generations are pouring over your writings. More people know the name Alexander Hamilton than every before.

That knowledge is my gift to you, dear sir. Your death was not the end of your legacy.

Thank you, dear sir, for changing the world and continuing to do so long after anyone thought possible.

Your obedient servant,

J. Fiene

The West Egg Hatched

So, I’m not a professional reviewer in any aspect. I write what I know, and critically reviewing any art form with weight is something I do not have any sort of qualification for. Particularly novels that blur the line between history and fiction. Romanticize the already overly romanticize. I am an amateur at examination.

That aside, I feel that I need to write as much as I can. No matter what, I need to create a body of work that can cushion me when I take life’s hardest blows. The book, Z- A Novel of Zelda Fitzgeraldreinforced this notion in me.

I am still reeling from the novel. The explosive personalities, accurate or not, evoked something I’ve never felt while reading a book. I can’t put it into many more words than what I’ve already said.

This book is one of a select few that I started and finished in the same day. I received the novel as a birthday gift from a very dear friend after seeing she was reading it. After three months, I finally gave myself the time to read it and, as I’ve so scattertedly stated, it made me feel things altogether new.

Whether these things will have a long term impact is unknown. If the goal was to incite a visceral response on any end of the spectrum, the author succeeded and I believe that’s what every writer wants.

I certainly want that. I want to live in my work, but not through it. I want to find my own witchy Zelda Fitzgerald, but I don’t want the wintry chasm she had in between her and her husband. I want to be remembered, but I don’t want to be fictionalized.

This novel is still settling with me. It is an extraordinary blend of reality and fantasy. A perfect how-to guide to destroy my life and die young.

This is a book that, if anything, teaches the dangers of excess.