I don't like endings. I hate goodbyes. I dislike the last day of vacation, the morning after Christmas, the final slice of pizza. I am sad when I finish a carton of rocky road, the last biscuit makes me weep, I grieve when baseball season ends. Endings are the pits.

Then again...

The end is also the best part of a good book, or a timeless song, or a movie. Take “Casablanca.” The final scene of this classic film shows the hero, nightclub owner Rick Blaine, delivering his gut-punching poetic lines to the lovely Ilsa.

The last dramatic minutes between him and Ilsa make the whole movie worth it. The entire film has been tediously mounting, building, climbing, and leading to Rick’s tearful farewell in which he tells Ilsa:

“...Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now... Here's looking at you kid.”

Here’s looking at you kid.

Boy. What a finish.

So endings are vital. Just think about it. The ending of a ballgame is when Sid Bream’s teammates smother him on the infield after he slides into home plate. Where overjoyed ball players dogpile atop each other until they break each other’s ribs.

The ending is the crescendo of a Brahms symphony, swelling to unsurmountable heights. The ultimate few bits of a masterwork which represent the fruition of a composer’s entire career boiled down to 120 seconds. The crashes of cymbals, the sustained whole notes from a string section. La fin. Das ende. Finis. конец. 終わり. The end.

Which is why I want to share something with you that might gross you out, but it’s kind of important. So hang in there.

I speak of a recent study that was done wherein volunteers were taken off the street to…