Some people learn from their mistakes. Some people have to have life pound its lessons into them. And some people get pounded and keep doing it anyway. We are accustomed to saying of this kind of person that he is self-destructive, or even that he has a death drive. But I wonder: do we say this out of an unacknowledged jealousy? As a hedge, to reassure ourselves that though we never reached those heights, our more ordinary lives are superior?