The German writer Thomas Mann said once: “Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.” Forget hours, I can’t maintain a mood for more than 20 minutes. Some people seem to be able to travel through various moods like a large supertanker, pushing through the waves of despair or joy and remaining fixed on the horizon in front of them. I, on the other hand, oscillate up and down like a crazy toddler on a playground swing. It’s not bipolar, just being a little oversensitive to external signals such as rainy days.

Some people choose to use mind-altering drugs to affect their moods, but I find the cheapest and healthiest drug to do that is music. If I am in a foul mood, down or dispirited or sad, there are two ways to go. One is to find a piece of music...

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