“Easily angered, extremely irritable, hot-headed.”

Chances are, you have a choleric person in your life. He’s the kind of person who get angry over everything, no matter how small. He shouts maniacally at inconsiderate drivers he encounters. He throws the TV remote control (which ultimately shatters into pieces) when the cable DVR doesn’t record properly. He belittles the fast food worker when his order comes out wrong. He blows up at the retail worker for a company policy that the worker has no control over. Dogs and small children are afraid of him. In other words, he is in a state of constant aggravation and will melt down at the smallest provocation.

I, on the other hand, am not choleric. Not even in the slightest. Believe me, there are times when I can put my bitch-pants on when it’s called for. I’m the first person who will kindly (but firmly) inform someone when the service is bad or when they’re being inconsiderate. My students will tell you that I’m a hard sell and I won’t put up with any kind of crap. As a child, I would get embarrassed when my mother would put on her bitch-pants in a store; I felt like she was making a scene. I definitely recall times I wish that I would melt into the Mervyn’s carpet.

Most of the time, however, I’m pretty low-key, almost to the point of being a doormat. I’m not a doormat. I’m just very selective with my anger. If I’m going to get pissed, I want to make it count. There’s no use in making my blood pressure go up over something as trivial as having to follow a horrible driver. I know when to stand up for myself and when to hold my tongue even when others think I should say something. Is there a word for that?

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