Malik interrupts to talk to Luka, who shushes him impatiently because Mark's words are too perfect and pure to be sullied. Oh, if only he knew what was coming. Brace yourself, sweet Luka. "Lots of times, I thought I should've chosen a different career, or gone into private practice -- something easier, less grinding, more lucrative," Carter reads. "But since I've been gone, I realized that outside of what I'm doing right now -- sitting on this beach with my family -- staying at County all those years doing what we do on a daily basis was..." Carter pauses here; then his voice catches in a warm way that indicates that he's touched and surprised to read they way Mark finishes that thought: "...the best choice I ever made. I know what you're thinking, but trust me, it's not so hard to appreciate once it's over." Carter stops and laughs. "I think that's the Mai-Tais talking," he giggles, eliciting a laugh from the enraptured masses. Except for Susan, who snaps, "Shut up, keep reading." To which Carter says, "Fine, you read it," and makes sure to give her a paper cut on the handoff. Sigh. No? Okay, fine, no. Instead, Carter obeys. "As much as part of me would like to believe that the ER can't go on with out me," he reads, "a smarter part realizes that you're an incredible group of doctors and nurses who approach every day with such skill, compassion, and thoroughness that when it comes to patient care, I know my absence will hardly be felt." Haleh snorts sadly and says, "Hmm, I'm not so sure of that." The camera, meanwhile, has panned across a group that includes Lily, Lydia, Luka, Malik, Gallant, Abby and Haleh. They're all, as you might expect, chugging A Hero's Last Drops of Wisdom.
"As for friendship and camaraderie, well, that's another matter," Carter reads, and here I swear I expected Mark to have written, "You are all a boorish bunch of freaks who hate each other. Learn to get along and stop trying to get inside each others' pants." Except then, this would be A Hero's Last Hypocritical Diatribe, and we can't have that. No, instead, Mark writes, "In order to leave, I had to go the way I did, but I wouldn't want any of you to think that that meant I didn't value each of you and the years that we worked together, or that I didn't have things of a more personal nature to say." The camera stops on a profile of Susan, facing right and in the foreground of the shot. "Most of you, I think, have an idea of what those things might be without me writing them down, but still," Carter reads. Susan blinks back tears, because she thinks this is a giant fucking cop-out and that he should've bloody well said some of those things in person before he pissed off to Hawaii to get drunk and surf.