The Greco-Roman world recognized four humors or moods, if you will: sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (analytical and quiet), and phlegmatic (relaxed and peaceful). Most of the tine, I am phlegmatic (easy going), but there are other times when I can whip through the other humors in record time. For instance, this morning, I woke up feeling a bit sad (melancholic). I had no particular reason to feel that way, I just did. But there was nothing wrong with the world that a good cup of coffee could not put right.
Later on, my wife and I headed out to the golf course for some exercise, and I was up for that. It was a great day, the golf course seemed almost deserted, and I looked forward to a good time (sanguine). Well, when we played the first round, things were okay. Our play was as crappy as it usually is; no big deal. However, on the second round, there was a foursome ahead of us that dragged the game out and did not let us play through, which is a rudeness. I may have made some pointed remarks after the third hole where they held us up, but then again, maybe I didn’t say anything too loudly. I felt like yelling at the people, though (choleric).
Anyway, golf is just a game, and once I regained my perspective, I realized that nothing would be gained by giving way to righteous wrath. I refrained from venting when we passed the rude players in the parking lot. I was cool (phlegmatic) and very proper, my usual state. Even following behind these four people for an extra forty-five minutes, I was able to get back to a calm and easy-going state.
So, dear reader, if you find yourself going from one humor to the next, fear not; you are not alone. I suspect we all do so from time to time. In fact, maybe that’s what makes us human.