My niece was visiting recently and she had some homework to finish. “Uncle Tom,” she said, “What is the difference between anger and exasperation?”

I said, “It’s mostly a matter of degree. Let me show you what I mean.”

I picked up the phone and called a random number. A man answered the call.

I said, “Hello. Is Phil there?”

The man said, “There’s nobody here named Phil. Next time, why don’t you check the number before you dial?” and slammed down the receiver.

I said to my niece, “See? That was anger. Now I’ll show you what exasperation means.”

A dialed the same number. The man answered with an angry shout, “Hello!”

I said, “Hello, this is Phil. Have there been any calls for me?”


When angry count to four; when very angry, swear.—Mark Twain

The best answer to anger is silence.—German proverb

Speak when you are angry — and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.—Laurence J. Peter

Anger is only one letter short of danger.—Unknown

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.—Buddha

He who angers you conquers you.—Elizabeth Kenny

Steel loses much of its value when it loses its temper.—Unknown

For every minute you remain angry, you give up 60 seconds of peace of mind.—Ralph Waldo Emerson

So long as a man is angry he cannot be in the right.—Chinese proverb

It is easier to swallow angry words than to have to eat them.—Unknown

He is a fool who cannot be angry; but he is a wise man who will not.—Unknown

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty: and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.—Proverbs, XVI, 32

Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.—Josh Billings

We boil at different degrees.—Clint Eastwood

The opposite of anger is not calmness, it is empathy.—Mehmet Oz

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The greatest remedy for anger is delay.—Seneca

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.—Marcus Aurelius

Keep cool; anger is not an argument.—Daniel Webster

When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.—Epictetus

Anger begins with folly, and ends with repentance.—Pythagoras

Anger at lies lasts forever, anger at truth can’t last.—Greg Evans

Anger should never be an overnight guest.—Neal Maxwell

Great anger is more destructive than the sword.—Tamil Proverb

Anger is something you never get rid of by losing.—Unknown

A wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.—Robert G. Ingersoll

No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.—George Jean Nathan


The other day I asked my wife, “When I get mad, you never fight back. How do you control your anger?” She replied, “I clean the toilet bowl.” I said, “How does that help?” She replied, “I use your toothbrush.”


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