There’s a thing that looks like a wet dog in the corner of the store I work at. You can buy it if you want. It’s on clearance. It looks like a teddy bear, a pretty big one, hip to head in height. Its fur is smooth, but tangled like hair of an over-washed cashmere throw. The fur is mostly bright pink with a belly that should be white. It has one eye. It should have another but it’s burned. Actually, that’s not true. The teddy appears burned and was designed to have one eye, a lopsided cyclops. Apparently it’s from Breaking Bad (the episode where that plane crashes and things fall from it, the bear among them [I had to look this up, the bear’s a repeating image]). I love that show and I had no idea that thing was in it. But someone somewhere said to themselves, or to a team, “merchandise that.” It is incredibly uncomfortable to look at the bear. The first time I saw it I was cleaning up the store and saw this thing, this wet like glistening pink cushion lying face down and I bent and picked it up and turned it over, its fur almost squeaky with polyester strands, and I uttered a full grunt of revulsion. The damn thing was made to look ruined.
Usually there’s something comforting about a worn bear. A worn teddy bear’s been loved, its bright brown fur worn down to a grayish corduroy, an eye hanging out (that eye having seem a lot before deciding to retire). But this bear was pristine, just had a bunch of black patches like dead skin, dead frostbitten skin. This bear looked dirty and dead, anything but actually burnt. And, the thing is, it won’t even get to be loved by some kid somewhere. It will not collect a single story except its unknown life before it was eaten by the trash. Who would make this? Do people actually buy this? What the fuck is this uncanny piece of pop culture flotsam that haunts the back of FYE, waiting for a consumer that probably isn’t coming?
The store is in the mall. It’s a little mall and the cafeteria (right across from the store) manages to be mostly empty, even on a Saturday. Some of the food booths are closed down to stainless steel counters and brick walls. By comparison FYE seems overstuffed with items. The store, like most mall stores, doesn’t have an entrance, but an opening, two of them, hoping customers drifting along the main corridor might wriggle off to the side and find themselves amongst the merchandise, like a river eel into a trap. The store seems to be two stores combined. It is divided, roughly in the middle, by a wall that goes most of the way up the store’s depth. Facing from the front, the store contains 4 double shelving units for cds, they reach about shoulder height, and on the right about 3 double shelving units for Video reaching above average height level. Despite the great allocation of space to DVDs and CDs these (dying) formats actually seem like an insignificant piece of the store itself. Most of FYE’s pop is upfront, displayed with a calculated ostentatiousness on rolling tables that are often rearranged according to what is new or hot.
This last part is, I think, key. You see FYE traffics mostly in merchandise. This merchandise is remarkably homogeneous and always new. What I mean here is this: the same few products are rebranded again and again and again with the most recent company FYE has a deal with. Right now there are three main tables. One hosts Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (a little to the back as it’s a few months old, which is to say ancient–old news) a Wonder Woman table (right up front, proud of its self imposed consumer feminist identity) and the third is WWE (which, if nothing else, never fails to be impressive at generating new merch that people really like, and buy. For example there are shelves of boxes of a cereal called Booty O’s, which we stock enough of to be considered a grocery store). They sell T-Shirts, Jewlery, Hats, Hoodies, Action Figures, Funko Pops, Candy, Coloring Books, Soundtrack CD’s. Every table. Some have a Wonder Woman symbol, some have Groot. None attempt to be anything but immediately recognizable and consumable. And this stuff is overwhelming, but I’m not trying to get on my pedestal and decry this as the end of western culture. Because I can’t. Because I like this stuff. I own this stuff. Not any of the above in particular, but stuff just like it. And all of it, smushed together, crowded for space and views, begging to be bought before it’s irrelevant (a deadline that comes surprisingly quickly) is shit. It is shit commodified. Which is a rather repetitive statement.
The first day I came home from work it was dark out. The apartment was dark, I was that sort of uncomfortable dirty from light sweat and dust and grunge that makes your skin sort of squeak with filth. I opened my bedroom door and flipped on a light and saw shelves upon shelves of shit. A juggernaut action figure, an Apatosaurus model, a recreation of the bust of a horse from the Terracotta Army, a James Joyce bobblehead, a Legend of Zelda Link figure, a Batman notebook, a dinosaur notebook, reems of hardbound comic collections, piles of books, lamps, lights, clothes, branded shirts. I didn’t need to worry about bringing home shit from work, I’d been collecting and storing it this whole fucking time.
But there’s a few things here. I like this shit. I actually fully like it. And it’s hard to reconcile my revulsion at the shit in FYE with the shit in my room. It was hard because the dynamic here, is I think, complex. It is not simply that all merch is actually inherently good. In many ways, merch’s default state is shit. Nor is it that I failed to appreciate what I had. No. This is false gratitude; gratitude being a sacred feeling reserved for vaunted and fragile things like connection and grace and faith, the things that are hard to really ever put into words. But, so what the fuck is it?
The Marxist theorist Walter Benjamin has many lovely essays, but one is rather instructive here: “Unpacking my Library.” Benjamin write it as if he’s sitting amongst piles of tomes he’s in the process of sorting and shelving. Maybe even 20 crates of his own literary shit. And he’s dealing with a similar frustration. If I live in a capitalist society that prizes commodity fetishism, what does it mean for me, a person who ostensibly wishes to resist or subvert these impulses, to be a collector? Is it simply hypocrisy? Well, yes, some of it is, but not all of it, and not the most important impulses of it. Benjamin lays out the dialectic of order vs. chaos. His meaning here, as with every great essay, leaves a bit of interpretation, but chaos is quickly associated with passion, liveliness, continuing existence. He tells us, “Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.” For me, this line reveals the actual true and good function of merch, what it can be or what it really is, a conduit to memory. “More than that: the chance, the fate, that suffuse the past before my eyes are conspicuously present in the accustomed confusion of these books. For what else is this collection but a disorder to which habit has accommodated itself to such an extent that it can appear as order?” What else indeed. It is through habit, an encounter that occurs again and again, that the madness of collecting and, for our purposes, acquiring becomes greased over as order.
Because I can imagine someone unfamiliar with conspicuous consumption or retail, some delightful alien unaccustomed to late capitalism’s feverous engagement with materialism walking into my FYE and looking out on waves of CDs that rise and fall, the head of Raekwon and Tyler the Creator, near Marvin Gay and Mastodon, and the glowing ghouls eating human flesh on a Cannibal Corpse album threatening to eclipse the smooth dayglow buzz of seven different Katy Perry CDs, each a world of music unto itself that might not be very good or different or interesting, but at least seems so in this visual moment; and there’s a big banner is strung overhead reading “Bingeworthy” (A banner that has been placed over old luminescent wall installations showing Eminem and Carrie Underwood and Justin Timberlake: in other words, old news), and I can imagine that very moment in front of this great bounty to the gods of Neoliberalism as one that is nearly rapturous. In fact, I have felt it, as I was asked to stand and watch for thieves (all customers are possible thieves) and for some reason Goodbye Horses was playing and, for a moment I felt the rhythm of the percussion and the high pinging over the crooning, only to be out done by a more enlightened falsetto, all wrapping my mind and heart in a notion that this was now, and everything in here could be mine to hear and devour and savor in the saliva of my mouth and I might never be bored or sad or alone again. That was the promise. And just as quickly, these items of entertainment turned leaf and felt sad, and dull, and lifeless. I can imagine someone feeling that drug-like ecstasy only to crash into the nihilism of it all. All of it, shit.
And this crash is important and particular to commodities. It is one that Benjamin addresses. Benjamin understands that the books he owns, as pure physical items, mean very little. They have little utility. They are not often shared, but they contain something that cannot be commodified. And as crazy as this idea might be, I fully agree with it, that there is something in and around us that cannot be commodified. For Benjamin, this is history. The history of the particular book. The personal history of the item in front of him. The experiences that become associated with our shit that turns it into our shit, that we can then tell others about.
The items in FYE are tricky. There’s a reason they’re all associated with a property and a brand. Nothing in the store can be allowed to exist on its own; nothing can be its own art object or self-referential thing of enjoyment. It comes preloaded with a kind of meaning. Let’s take Lucille. Lucille belongs to Negan, a Big Bad on the immensely popular comic and TV Show the Walking Dead (Negan’s played by a delightfully smarmy Henry Dead Stanton, all swagger and leather jacket and joyful death). Negan smashes in heads of both the dead and living with Lucille. Lucille is not a woman, but a wooden baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. It is a destructive thing whose only appetite is blood. And in the comic and TV show both, makes for a menacing image. Except of course this bat in FYE is not actually Lucille. It’s a replica made of dense plastic. The barbed wire? Plastic. The wood? Plastic. The grip? You guessed it. Everything dangerous about Lucille is neutered. This limp Lucille stands in like a sad ghost of a prop that never existed except on TV (which is really to say, solely in our imaginations). There is something tragic about the bat that is not a bat. It might have to do with the fact it’s in a cardboard box that has curved edges so as not to give customers paper cuts, or the fact that there are five Lucilles or the fact the bat’s ostensible story is one of murder and violence, tapping into our ugly atavistic selves in a near-thrilling manner, and yet it has been so thoroughly sanitized of any uses of violence that they had to draw on the blood with what looks like red sharpie. The bat is preloaded with a history and at every turn the very physicality of the bat betrays that story, shows us its falseness. And yet, it is specific enough to The Walking Dead that thinking of it as anything but Lucille takes real effort. It does not attract its own new stories, stories personal to us. It is neither dead nor alive as an item; stymied from growing by associations we might give it, and useless in action due to its neutered status. In many ways, it is the purest of commodities, because once bought, if we wish to have more stories we must buy some other equally stymied item. The commodity demands we own more commodities to fill out our imagination. Lucille was made to sit nicely on some dreadful frat mantelpiece and for people who pretend to be dangerous. It is poseur made object.
And Lucille isn’t the worst of it and doesn’t quite hit on something I suggested early: the sublime, rapturous, disgusting fecundity of all this stuff. Even though there are five full sized Lucille bats in the store, there are only two forms Lucille comes in (the other being a finger length version included with a McFarlane designed Negan action figure, also complete with blood splattering). Even though Lucille itself is preloaded with story, it does not overload the consumer, it seems almost unique—unlike Deadpool. If you are not familiar, Deadpool is a character created by Rob Liefeld for the Marvel Comic book X-Force in the early nineties. Deadpool, with his normal red and black color scheme, looks like the eyes of Spider-Man put on the body of Deathstroke the Terminator (a DC character that Liefeld kind of straight up ripped off, especially considering Deathstroke’s civvie name is Slade Wilson while Deadpool’s is Wade Wilson [you know, good artists copy, great artists steal—or some godawful thing like that]) Deadpool went from straight forward mercenary to unpredictable, insane, fourth wall aware, trying-to-do-the-right-thing-in-an-almost-absurdist-take-on-the Marvel-universe sensation. And I think there’s something to the character, and so did Fox as they recently released the smashing blockbuster success: Deadpool (staring a spot on Ryan Reynolds who nails the cynical, meme side of Deadpool, and seems to forget the character has a deep well of pathos). There are, upon my last (and only) count, exactly 46 unique forms of items depicting Deadpool in the store, if you leave out the weird jigsaw puzzle of all the Marvel Vinyl Pops (seriously, who would buy this stuff?). This did not include keychains, jewelry, or candy because I was, frankly, nearly bleeding from the eyes by the time I remembered that stuff exists, and it all seemed too inconsequential to matter. Oh, also there were, in most cases, many copies of each type of item. It’s a lot of Deadpool. I could wax here about Deadpool as simulacra or the death of originality or something, but mostly this overwhelming amount of stuff is exhausting. Physical space also takes up mental space and I get really flustered when I find out I’ve been renting rooms in my head to tenants that just want me to spend more (I’m not sure this metaphor works, but I’m frankly tired of thinking about Deadpool… even though I still like the character’s stories).
But my previous analysis doesn’t sit totally right. Because imagination is all consuming. As I alluded, Lucille and Deadpool can become something else, something more, but they have the trouble of working against its preloaded associations or general fecundity of presence. Here, Benjamin is again instructive. You see, Benjamin finds great energy in his unkempt crates of books, books that are not yet stultified by the great yawn of order that rolls over them when placed on his bookshelf. For Benjamin chaos is possibility and this possibility is enlivening. So you might be wondering just how the hell a book can be chaotic. Well, its ability to collect stories around it along side the story inside it. Remember Benjamin’s claim that the book collector’s chaos is that of memory and what is memory if not a story that haunts us, constantly claiming to live in real relation to our past worlds. Benjamin intones, “The most profound enchantment for the collector is the locking of individual items within a magic circle in which they are fixed as the final thrill, the thrill of acquisition that passes over them” But this isn’t the sterile Patrick Bateman, mergers and acquisitions kind of acquiring, it is not the bored dilettante (male or female) buying Versace and Prada, no, there is real intention here. He incants, “Everything remembered and thought, everything conscious, becomes the pedestal, the frame, the base, the lock of his property. The period, the region, the craftsmanship, the former ownership—for a true collector the whole background of an item adds up to a magic encyclopedia whose quintessence is the fate of his object.” This is what is at stake, the way of seeing the world in all its sorcery and history, to pick up a mere thing and have it reach out its gentle or violent or sad or lovely tendrils so it can tell you what it is and what it was and what it might be. I do not believe myself hyperbolic when I say that Benjamin is offering us the keys to a life through things that take us beyond our own mind as they live and they throb with the infinite possibility of new stories and closely kept collection of memories. These items ask us to help them fulfill their possibilities of liveliness. This is the beautiful chaos of a storied object.
I’m about to be thirty. Sometimes, when I’m insecure, I look around my room with disgust and understand why it’s been a while since I’ve had a significant other; It could easily pass as a ten year old’s room. Of course, I also realize what an unnecessarily stupid and judgmental thought this is, especially because everything in my room is enchanted with runes of memory. Take of example my Apatosaurus. It is gray and plastic, has no points of articulation. It is roughly 16” long. I kept my mom from tossing it about seven years ago. I’ve had it since I was five and had a lisp and loved every dinosaur. When I look at I feel a complex comfort. I can remember a warm Thursday, setting a throng of much smaller plastic ankylosaurs and parasaurolophus and dienonycus and pterodactyl etc. etc. of various colors, standing around the Apatosaurus like they were in awe of its massive stature and the Apatosaurus cried out in its sousaphone voice to all the dinosaur denizens of the jungle on my living room floor, its boom cutting through the muggy greenish air as they all cried in awe and joy. And I can remember the time I left my triceratops of similar make and color on the lawn and was forced to confront mortality and guilt when my dad brought its thrashed and dying body in side after riding over it with the lawn mower. And I can remember holding it when I was depressed and wondering what I would tell little John Mango with his Apatosaurus about some things we’d have to face in the future. And all of that sits on a shelf next to so many others with so much more.
So why is Lucille any different from the Apatosaurus? If objects are just objects, why not declare them all the same. I think–and you may disagree–but I think that FYE and its merch is troubling in that it invites us into the idea that by buying these preloaded items we are buying something fresh and new and in doing so are claiming a part of the cultural zeitgeist by owning an object that functions as a referent to something popular and recognizable. Merch is there to be recognized for its media association in a hope you will consume it. It has otherwise failed and is nothing more.
And so this is the core dialectic at the center of FYE Fresh vs. Foul, New vs. Not New. Every item of merch, though not new in its form, is tied to a property that is in fact new… or rather, masquerades as new. In fact when the main merch tables are tied to Wonder Woman (a 75 year old comic) Professional wrestling (alive well before the cold war ended) and Guardians of the Galaxy (another comic property that’s seen a whole lot of decades and iterations) what the fuck is exactly new here? New (without getting too dry in the mouth on a threateningly abstruse subject) could signal something original. And in fact this is the First Woman Woman movie to hit the big time, the first female lead DC motion film, a whole bunch of firsts that might contain significance depending on whether you care about the subject in hand. But new also tends to mean of the current moment. In fact I think this is the key to the commodified new: it promises us that we’ll be tied to the zeitgeist NOW. By being caught up in the whirligig of stuff happening we get to own a little bit of the now and we get to feel alive inside that now.
But like most generous seeming gestures of capitalism, this is hollow as a subprime mortgage bundle. The cultural now feels like being swept away, swept off your feet, kissed by your former lover for the first time again, riding an old Indian motorcycle on the open highway, the red white and blue, feels like freedom in that we engage with the promise of something bubbling with possibility, but it is nothing but that: promise of possibility never made good. Once we have seen Wonder Woman or Guardians of the Galaxy 2—no, even before the trailers begin rolling—we’ve lost the promise as the experience is happening and when it happens it will then have happened and it will no longer be new. It will no longer contain mystery and possibility, two sexy elements that tantalize us enough to return to the new again. And so we must return to another new, or start buying stuff that reminds us of the new. And this is our well known and well worn friend nostalgia: the attempt to make new what is old. To make present what has happened.
The most intense experiences of our life, good or bad, horrid or lovely, are so all encompassing that they force us to forget ourselves as we enter something bigger. People are lost to love and death and drugs. Imagine if you could bottle that? And bottle it not as a pure bald-faced narcotic, but as promise of more life with only slightly narcotizing effects? It would look like something that made you feel young, something you recognized had always been with you and yet was appearing again in an original form. Maybe it was Batman or Barbies or Disney or Star Wars or the X-Men or John Hughes films. None of these things are bad on their own, in fact one might argue there’s some good to be had from each of them, as slight as that good might be, but now imagine a store that sold only reminders of these items, promises you belong to NOW time and not then. Imagine this store is packed as a Japanese Subway and as chrome-escent as the rainbow glaze of gasoline. That is FYE. Now imagine standing there for hours on end sometimes helping someone find a particular thing that ties them to their now. That is working at FYE. It makes more than your feet hurt.
But, again, I don’t want to start prattling about the fall of Western Civ or the Arrested Development of Man, because all of these impulses are human, they make sense. They can absolutely run amok. Being an addict I can tell you about running amok, and being someone that owns Funko Pops I can attest to it again. I do see a way the very impulses, the impulse to be enthralled so as to forget ourselves, can be taught that they begin to self-regulate. I still believe the imagination is powerful and endless in possibility, but it is stuck to the same rules that govern all life: it is limited by time. That imaginary person standing in that FYE is not enthralled the entire time, maybe there’s a blip or two of it, but mostly they’re bored. You see, we can’t always be having epiphanies or meeting the godhead. We aren’t built that way. We’re built to do a lot of mundane shit (I would argue a kind of sacred mundanity, but that’s another whole essay) and so our capacity to add memories and moments to whatever items we collect becomes limited by the amount of time we have. Some of us forget that time itself is tricky and none of us are promised a set amount of it. This means I can own way more than I can ever attach meaning to (and I most certainly do) and it demands I listen to that pulse inside that lets me know when I’m duping myself into the intoxication of NOW and when an item has really started to collect stores. If I look at a thing, let’s say an action figure of Doc Samson (the green haired therapist of the Hulk) and I immediately start remembering it was a touching gift from a dear friend who I miss, and I can feel essence of that friendship when I hold the toy, and I can think of the moments Doc Samson smashed bad dudes and I can feel the weird symbiotic dance these memories/imaginings do with this little place man in my hands, I’ll probably hang on to it. Then there’s a Funko Godzilla. He looks fine, kinda cute. I like the idea of Godzilla, like I like the idea of this toy, but it feels kind of dead in my hands and the chitinous beetle shell black eyes shine in a dulled manner and I feel a confused sense as to why I bought the thing at all, I should probably donate it, or exorcise it through ritual burning… not that I’m going to.
When I stand in the FYE with its beige walls and yellowy lights and rows of mini blu tooth speakers, it seems to tell this entire story itself. It feels as if the store tilts towards the center-back, everything gently rolling into the entropy of clearance, no matter how popular or NOW it may have been. That fake burned Breaking Bad teddy bear probably carried the NOW for just a bit, before it failed to deliver on a promise that couldn’t be made. And so now, it sits on the drain itself (Buy 1 Get 3 FREE) like a shimmery purple lump of coagulated hair, wait for the day someone buys it (probably out of irony) or, more likely, trashes it. Which… has me thinking. I wrote all this stuff about the goddamn thing… couldn’t that be it’s new story? What if I just snag that teddy the next time I work? Would I be saving it from doom? Or is my overactive imagination supplely manipulating an sort of ethical sense I’ve set up here? I honest to god don’t know.
Benjamin, sitting amongst his mostly empty crates, books sorted, moving towards midnight finds himself somewhere similar; not wanted to buy a fucked up teddy bear, but among memories, “Now I am on the last half-emptied case and it is way past midnight. Other thoughts fill me than the ones I am talking about—not thoughts but images, memories. Memories of the cities in which I found so many things: Riga, Naples, Munich, Danzig, Moscow, Florence, Basel, Paris… Memories of the rooms where these books had been house… O bliss of the collector… For inside him there are spirits, or at least little genii, which have seen to it that for a collector ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them. So I have erected one of his dwellings, with books as the building stones, before you, and now he is going to disappear inside, as is only fitting.” I believe Benjamin creates something beautiful in talking about his things. I believe our common knowledge of living in the NOW is off, or at least not well understood, as the now is filled with memories, some painful, some pleasant. To demand we go and live in the now, whether it is simply through the senses, or buying it up, we cut ourselves off from that immense thing that is both within and without us: this tapestry of stories woven of words and concepts and pictures and sounds and records in time only we know. I do not wish to shut the door on these, but to learn how to live with them and love them. Some of my things, some of them, help me do that. And for now, that is enough.
 The most notable Deadpool is a 6’7” plaster statue that stands in the cornered window of the store. It’s kind of cool for a minute or two (his eyes are wide and skeptical), until you remember it takes up a lot of space and really can’t do anything and it’s pretty fragile (which seems all the more bizarre given how bulbous his muscles are), also there’s seven different types of Deadpool t-shirts, most of which show him eating some kind of Mexican food (and I’d originally planned to write about how odd it was people staked a piece of their identity in liking Mexican food out of all foods in particular until I remembered that staking a piece of your identity in something you physically consume on a possibly daily basis makes a whole lot more sense than the entire bizarre business of representing yourself through choices in media consumption as if those choices somehow speak to your true fiber or value or anything weighty at all [but of course I then remembered also that I have a Deadpool t-shirt somewhere along with a batman t-shirt, a Star Wars t-shirt, a Stalker t-shirt, a Solaris t-shirt, a Silver Surfer t-shirt etc. etc.]) the rest of the t-shirts just show Deadpool’s face with as much an expression as his mask allows; then there are the movies themselves (in dvd, bluray, and 4ktv, dvd special edition, bluray special edition [the special and regular being released simultaneously with little notable difference beyond the covers] the amount of choice here really pokes holes in the big American idea that choice is freedom, especially if you’re drowning in choice, it begs the question is anything at stake when I choose something here? And to be honest you don’t even need to read on to the rest of all the Deadpool stuff I’m gonna list, I just really need to list it all so I can get it the fuck out of my brain) and there was actually one actual Deadpool comic in FYE: Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe (perhaps one of the most banal and exploitative stories written about a character that’s already easy to fuckup. He just kills everyone. It’s terrible, but still at least there’s some comic stuff in there) the rest of the 47 items all being various figurines and action figures of Deadpool (interestingly enough, the larger the actual figure the the more defined and filled out his crotch area is. I don’t know why this is or what to do with it. I honestly don’t. Go ahead and speculate [oh, but, the 6’7” statue seems immune. I’m guessing it’s crotchless so as not to upset children) and the rest of the figurines are some form of Funko Pop. Fucking Goddamn Funko Pops. The gentrification of figurines laid bare. Funko makes all sorts of kinds of vinyl figurines of varying offensiveness in their blandness (there is a line called Dorbz for example that makes all figures ovoid and smiling like some hellish combination of Joan Miro and It’s a Small World [one of those things already being terrible, the other wonderful and now sullied in its modern consumer incarnation]). In fact the whole Funko ethos and aesthetic might simply be this: swallow every pop culture character and shit it out as a big headed, black-eyed, chibi, kawii figure. Ghost Rider? Big head and eyes with cute flames. Agent Scully? Big head and eyes with read hair? DALE COOPER (one of the best characters to every exist), guess what? Big head. Big Eyes. Cup of Coffee (at least the fucking coffee applies). Funko reduces everything interesting or unique about design into one highly profitable pile of steaming plastic and dead black eyes. Also, I may have ended up with over ten of them. I don’t know how or how to reconcile this with my hatred of them. Oh, there’s also a Deadpool coloring book. The part of me that liked Deadpool is now withering and coughing and just all around on its last legs after conducting this research and writing it. And yet, a part of me still wants that ¼ scale highly detailed, becrotched, Deadpool action figure whenever I see it. I’m human, and therefore insatiable left to myself.