Tuesday, September 6, 2011



I think I may have ventured into an area that I would have never considered in my previous 72 years.

Recently I read of a “study” about people who do not want to wait to find out how a book or movie ends. First, who does these “studies” and why? Are they funded by the taxpayers? Are they necessary? Well necessary or not, this particular one did help to alter some long held behaviors of mine.

The study discovered that some people just have to read the last pages of the book long before they are close to the end. They will fast forward a DVD to see if a favorite character escapes happily and unharmed. The study determined this did not spoil the book or movie for these people but actually let them enjoy the rest of the entertainment in comfort and ease.

In hindsight, had I known the ending of “The Sixth Sense” ahead of time I might have enjoyed the movie more and wouldn't have had to watch it a second time to see how I had been fooled. Still, that was one cool, jaw dropping ending and I am glad I waited.

I am assuming those “needing to know the ending” folks possibly also  believe in psychics and palm readers. That impulse to know how something will turn out ahead of time would make sense with life also. This is not wrong, it just is what it is. I have always been of the mind bent to slug it out to the end with out a clue. I love surprises and a natural path to conclusion. Could I change?

When my baseball team played a series on the West Coast and I just couldn't stay up for the end due to the time difference. I recorded the games and watched them the next day. Being able to fast forward through the commercials left me stuck in front of the TV much less and gave me back quite a bit more personal time.

Wow, this was great. I carefully avoided any news of a final score and would cheer my fellows on over an all ready determined game like it was actually happening.

Then I heard of the study and I thought I would experiment. Before watching the game the next day, I looked up the score. At first I thought it would keep me from watching a game we lost but oddly it didn't. It actually took the pain out of the loss.

My Marlins have perfected the art of finding a way to lose most of our games.  I learned to  recognize the beginnings of the all too frequent out of control inning, would feel terrible dread and groan, “Oh no, not again” yet hoping desperately I was wrong.

Oddly, when I all ready know we have lost, I get rather clinical. I enjoy the good and analyze the bad. Then if I know we actually won, the scary innings are no longer scary for I KNOW we will come out on top in the end. I am oddly relaxed yet still entertained and joyful for the win. 

Perhaps if the games actually counted for something like a possible post season berth, I might feel differently.  However, the season is really winding down and we are securely in last place so now all I watch for is to make sure none of my boys get hurt and for that occasional brilliant play. So now, even the games in a more friendly time zone are recorded and watched at a later date.

This is a behavior in years past I would have scoffed at heartily. With out that weird study, I would not have even thought of trying this.

This has NOT translated to my books or movie watching. I don't even want to try that.  It is enough that I have dipped my toe into the dark side of wanting to know the outcome with sports. At least for those games with no real bearing on the future of my team.  Pretty sure I couldn't to it with the World Series or Super Bowl. I haven't totally sold out.  

Do any of you  prematurely seek the endings of  books, movies, sports, and even life or  are you still purists and like surprises?


  1. Ha! Good one. I am not one to head to the last few pages and don't want to know until I get there.

    I was one of those that would (usually to a bad end) try to use Cliff's Notes in school. The time I wasted trying to get around reading......

  2. Funny you should bring all is up. I do not want to know the outcome of a book ahead of time and would never look ahead for a clue as to the ending.

    BUT!!!---if I miss a sporting event and go to watch a replay, I will not do so without knowing the score ahead of time...and, if my team has lost, I will not watch it at all.

  3. PS---The Marlins! You poor thing...

  4. I admit to having checked out the ending of a few books I wasn't really enjoying just to see if the ending was so fabulous that it made me want to read the rest of the book. Didn't happen, though. Alas, where the Marlins are concerned, we just go to bed hoping for the best and wake up and check the scores and groan.

  5. Nope I don't want to know how a film or book turn out, just I don't want to know how my life will end. Some things are better not known.

    I'm not a sports fan, so I have no desire to watch it at all!

  6. Don't give up hope with the Marlins. I live in southern RI and for years too many to count hope was all we had with the Red Sox (Curse of the Bambino) and Patriots.

    I have gone through a great deal of teasing over my habit of reading the last pages of books. It's not only knowing the outcome, but a well written ending tells a lot about the quality of writing itself.

  7. P.S. I've been reading your blog for months. This is my first post here. Most Enjoyable!

  8. I would NEVER skip to the end of a movie or book to see how it ends! I did, however, skip to the end of your post to find out how you handled your "study"!

  9. I've got to wonder if the people doing the study checked to see what the result was going to be before they put the results together!
    I enjoy mysteries because I like to figure it out for myself along the way. I'm not a sports fan, so I really don't care about the games. In movies, I also like to try to figure out what is going to happen. To me, it seems kind of like a waste of my time to know the end and then go through the motions to see how you get there. But that's just me.

  10. Now that really was a thought provoking post.... I read magazines from the back ...does that count lol
    I dont crave to know the end of a book or film ...I'd rather read/watch and be surprised ... and I get mad if some one tells me the ending but if I am following a reality show like Pop Idol and I know someone knows who is in or out,I have to know too. Like you with sport, it does not stop me watching or enjoying the show.

  11. Things are so different now - we had to wait nine months to find out if our baby was a boy or girl. I never want to know the ending of a book or movie before reading/viewing; why waste the time if I know what's going to happen?

  12. I hate knowing the end from the beginning. But I do know people who read the last page first. I guess it just eliminates the stress for them or something. Knowing the guy gets the girl...

  13. Never forget the scene in Air Force one where Harrison Ford (president) has arranged for his game to be prerecorded and told his staff to not tell him how it ends. Someone blows it however.

    Interesting blog and question. I once thought I would try my hand at scrying with a crystal ball. Bought the ball and everything. Then I thought about it and figured out that I did not want to know the future. As for stories, I have flipped to the end of some love stories, and if the person I like doesn't end up well, I never read the whole book. I like happy endings.....so there.

  14. I love the suspense of reading a book or seeing a movie all the way through. But, like you, I don't find the delayed watching of a sporting event when I already know the outcome upsetting at all. Rather, I enjoy the event more. Sometimes I wonder, too, about how these studies are funded and why!

  15. I usually don't look at the ending of novels, but I don't mind if someone tells me. I like knowing the ending of movies, but I don't fast-forward. I read reviews, especially if they caution they are spoilers!

  16. Well----I never skip ahead --but do get impatient if something drags on and on... We DVR lots of shows --and watch them at another time.. That is wonderful ---fast forwarding them through the commercials!!!!

    I guess I'm more of a scheduled person. I sorta like to know what I'm doing before I do it.. We do that on trips. We generally do alot of preliminary planning. Some people just get in their cars and go.. We just don't enjoy doing it that way. As you say, we are all different ---so to each his/her own!!!!!


  17. Never. It ruins it for me to know the ending.

  18. It never once occurred to me to do something like read the end of a book or watch the end of a movie. That's like cheating! Or it's like I have very limited imagination.

  19. Only occasionally am I tempted to flip to the end of a book to see how it ends. I want it to sneak up on my, just as I want the end of my life to do.

  20. Reading a book or watching a movie- I don't peek at the ending- just can't do it. That's not to say I haven't thought about it though! I would have thought the study would prove it does spoil the story to cheat.

  21. I always considered myself firmly in the camp of not knowing the ending ahead of time. However, your post made me realize I am not a purist. I have reread favorite books and watched DVDs I really enjoy more than once. And knowing the ending does not diminish my enjoyment at all. Weird but interesting study!

  22. I used to always read the end of a book about halfway through but that's not as easy on a Kindle so I don't do it often any more. Blessings, Marlene

  23. Barry,
    I can't believe I missed Cliff Notes. Think I was before them but the time I got to college late in life, they were available, just didn't use them.

    I thought I wouldn't want to watch a losing game but if I didn't watch them, my season would be almost over.
    By the way, we have won the last three of four Philly games. What ever you do, please beat them. We have proven it can be done.

    Except for beating the Phillies zillion dollar team recently--yipee--it has been a glum year.

    LLCool Joe,
    I totally agree with you on those things, especially life.

    Well I am glad you finally posted a comment. Thank you for following quietly. Hope you will now be more vocal.
    I haven't tried that yet but I try to never say never.

    Ha ha,hope that answered any questions you had.

    Ha, good question. Think they were bent that way or wouldn't have started the study in the first place.

    Stick to it Wanda. Once you dip you toe, who knows what is next.

    Interesting about sports being in another catagory.
    Funny, I read a newspaper backwards.

    That is why I can't reread a book or watch a movie more than once except on rare occasions like "Gone with The Wind."

    Mom of 12,
    That is exactly what the study discovered.

    I can relate to Mr. Ford's character. I once had to work during Super Bowl and almost killed the person who told me the score.

    Dr. Kathy McCoy,
    We just need to think of a screw loose premise and see who will pay us to draw a conclusion.
    You are right about the sports,I have enjoyed the games more.

    Now I know why people write spoiler reviews. I always avoided them but can see where they would be helpful for you.

    Isn't skipping comercials the best.
    I am a spur of the moment type.

    Me too for everything except sports for I found out.

    I have never been tempted for books or movies either.

    Me too, especially on my life. I so love surprises.

    Southwest Arkie,
    Oddly it proved the opposite. Those who do it seem to enjoy the book or movie more. Takes all kinds.

    I agree it was a weird study and the conclusions surprised me. I can watch a movie again only if many years have passed.

  24. Well, I must admit that I often wanted to see how a book endes. I read then with more happiness

  25. Absolutely! I cannot stand suspense. I never read mysteries. I have to know. It's frustrating when the last page or so leaves me thinking it could go either way, happy or sad. I want to know.

  26. Stichinby the lake,
    I hadn't thought about that. Kindle really would make it difficult.

  27. I KNOW! i saw or read that article somewhere and i was wondering WHY people would like to want to know! i can understand a little... really a little... but in the end i just love to read or watch and and the end find out about the end... haha if that makes sense...


  28. Reader Wil,
    I guess it would take the stress out of reading.

    It appears you are not alone in this.

    What can I say, I understood you perfectly.

  29. No I don't want to know the ending either, if I did I don't think I would read the book as I am entralled when I am reading and want that feeling, that must be part of the enjoyment of my reading the book.

  30. I never read the ending first. I hate spoilers. Once I was reading a very good book that a colleague recommended. I mentioned something about the book at lunch. She then proceeded to tell me the ending. I was so mad at her. In fact, I didn't even bother reading any more of the book.

  31. Myself I like the surprises. I have even put off reading the last few chapters of a good book, because I didn't want it to end. Go figure. What does that make me? LOL But yes, funding for something like this study is foolish I think. But then there have been a lot of funding for a lot of foolish studies, in my opinion. LOL Chilly here this morning, around 58, damp, since it rained through the night.

  32. I have to admit that I sometimes.. but only sometimes... sneak a peek at the ending of a book, but never when I first start reading. The times I do peek, it's a case of being somewhat, or a lot, bored with the progress of the story, and wondering if it's worth my while to continue. If I decide to continue, knowing the ending does not diminish my interest in the story. I don't watch very many movies, so am never tempted to try to look at the endind.

    I'm interested, now, in viewing The Sixth Sense, and promise not to peek. :)

    Very interesting post.

    Are you LOVING this cool weather?!!!

  33. If I known the score or emd, I move on to another game, movie.

    Two pre-season NFL games were replayed this year on another station and another day. One of the Cowboys which I never miss. I watched the game the first round and and no interest in the replay.
    I also had watched to other game.

    I never read the ending, unless it it is an otherwise dull book.

    But I do have a strange habit of reading catalogs, newspapers, and other types of light reading back to front.

    And today BLOGGER SAYS i HAVE NO BLOG, nary a one, when I go to dashboard. Geez, glad vacation is 4 days away.

  34. Guilty! I get antsy when I think a favorite character might perish and feel better knowing ahead of time. I am pretty sure this trait has kept me from starting "Izzy's Fire; Finding Humanity in the Holocaust." There is no such thing as getting the band news in one swoop by reading the end.

  35. Linda Starr
    Me either. If I hear a spoiler, it does just that, spoils the book for me.

    Retired English Teacher,
    Some one tells me the butler did it can make me see red.

    I have had books like that and I do slow down as I get near the end. That is the sign of a really good book.

    Hope you do, it is worth the watch.

    I too read newspapers backwards. Wonder what that is.

    The study suggests that it removes the stress from a book or movie and those who peek do not lose any enjoyment.

    Oops, I think it is too late for your Granddaughter. As long as she keeps reading, that is the important thing.

  36. Hi Patti!

    Well, somebody turned me on to the last page of the book thing when I was in jr. high and my mom got mad at me, she said it was cheating. So, I quit. I hide my eyes on the movie trailers, and will not watch a movie that I know will be sad. I'm probably one of the last ones to have never seen The Titanic.

    Now, the baseball thing, I have no problem with.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi today, I really appreciate it. I'm trying to play catch up!

    Take care,

    Kathy M.

  37. Yes. Troutbirder "the Purist." on books, movies etc.
    On sports I'm the "fair weather" fan. If my team is ahead I still through to the happy conclusion. If they're falling behind and its looks bad... I turn off the TV and check the paper in the morning. Thus prepared for losses. However, if they can back an won. Big surprise. I still love thos surprises. :)

  38. I can tell you who set up the study and did the research. That would be research psychologists. I have a degree in that field. Decided I was too old to set up my own lab, etc. after getting my degree. Sometimes studies are done so the researchers can be published to further their career.

    I never look ahead in a book, even if they drag on and on like you said. I can't stand to know how a movie comes out, either. Sporting events...hmm...not so much, but then well, we have the Rangers for football. I don't think I could have born to know the final score of one of the TCU frog's games last year though. However, if I did I would not have watched the game. There aren't many games I would watch much less if I knew the final score going in.

  39. Oregon gifts,
    I am not wild about seeing a movie that I know the hero dies in either.
    Glad you are with me on baseball.

    I would have expected no less from you and would have been greatly surprised if you were a last page peeper.
    When you team is as bad as the Marlins, you have to watch the losses also.

    Amber Star,
    Oh good, then they get paid by recognition and not by us. I can live with that. Thanks.

  40. Only three words? Gosh that's hard. Do they have to be related? Yours are related and make sense. Do they have to make sense?

    Looking at some of the comments to myleft, I think I am lost is good.

  41. No.....I don't want to know the end of something before experiencing it---Movie, Book, Play, etc., etc..... That takes the fun out of it for me, I'm afraid---though I have seen the endings of certain plays, by accident of fate---And in some ways it didn't matter---In others, it mattered terribly!!!
    I don't watch a of Sports, but I think I might feel somewhat differently about that---Not really sure though.
    An interesting question, Patti.