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Losing my temper

Sometimes I get angry.  I try not to get out of control and yell and scream and pitch a holy fit.  Most of the time I am pretty successful in this endeavor.  Once in a while I do yell.  Most often it is at my kids, whom I love beyond measure.  I hate when I do that, but it seems that it happens most with the people I am most comfortable around.

I was being screamed at by one of our customers this morning when I began thinking about losing my temper.  Not at the customer, just about the idea of losing one’s temper.  Is it the same thing as getting angry?  I don’t think so.   I think the English idiom “losing my temper” is entirely appropriate.

Tempering is a process by which steel is hardened.  If done properly, it will also cause the steel to be strengthened.  A properly tempered steel blade will keep its sharp edge and be very hard to nick or break.  In the middle ages, I guess tempering was extremely important for sword blades.  Now I think about expensive kitchen knives.   I put one in the dishwasher, and guess what?  When it came out it could no longer keep its edge.  In the heating process of the drying cycle, the metal had softened.  The knife had lost its temper, as it were. (That’s right! I used the subjunctive mood!)

Regardless of the etymology of the phrase, I believe that this has a real meaning here and now.  If I lose my temper, I am endangering my edge.  I changed the structure of my relationship.  Who wants a dull blade?

When I used to sell knives years ago we were taught the dangers of a dull blade.  If you use a dull knife you are more likely to injure yourself.  The injury will be worse than with a sharp blade because it will be a ragged edge.  They are more difficult to sew back up than the straight cuts made by sharp knives. can you imagine a surgeon cutting with a dull scalpel?

In short, keeping your temper is very important to maintain your edge.

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  1. January 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Sage words, Brother dear. You ought to submit to Reader’s Digest. Love you!

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