As a small boy nothing concerned me more than making my father angry. He had what could fairly be described as an indiscriminate temper. Something that brought a smile to his face today might well make him turn white-hot with rage tomorrow. And vice versa. As the youngest of six I tried to go to school on what worked for my older siblings in terms of trying to guess his mood and to try to divine how me would respond to what I did or said. I was fourteen when Dad died. I never quite figured it out. At one time I thought that I would ask any of the five who preceded me if any of them had but then I remembered he was dead and it mattered less than not at all.
Experience has taught me that I was wrong all those years ago. I was not wrong in expending time and energy trying to keep him from becoming angry. However I was wrong in thinking that making one who loves you (you hope anyway) and one whom you love angry is the worst thing you can possibly do.
Far worse than rousing a loved one to anger is letting him/her down. Anger - perhaps because it can burn so hot - often cleanses the palate. Disappointment lingers. It hangs in the air. Sometimes life proceeds at a pace whereby you pay scant little attention to its odor. But other times the pace of life permits it to occupy a far more prominent place in your day-to-day.
Even for those of us blessed with an impeccable memory it is likely that we cannot recall in detail each thing we have done that has angered one we love and/or who loves us. But the things that have wrought disappointment? Those we know. Always.