Is 'hangry' a real emotion?

Feeling mad and low on blood sugar? You could be hangry!
Feeling mad and low on blood sugar? You could be hangry!

"John, why are you getting so mad?"

I looked at Charlie with daggers. "What?" I responded incredulously. "Why am I so mad?" I then spewed a river of vitriol punctuated by waves of invective and expletives. The incident occurred several years ago when I was a magazine editor. Charlie, my boss and the editor in chief, had called my art director and me to a meeting with the production manager at around 4 p.m. to discuss some missed deadlines.

Although it was early in the 21st century, our magazine group was as old school as old school could be. We never electronically sent files to the printer. Instead, a driver picked the files up and drove them to the print shop. The problem, it seems, was that the driver was waiting every Friday afternoon until we finished the issue. Apparently, the driver did not like waiting and complained to the production manager who complained to Charlie. During the inquisition, I cursed and lambasted the driver, the production manager and the archaic way we released the files.

Charlie didn't fire me. Yet, I left with shaking hands, clammy skin and a sinking feeling in the dungeon of my stomach. I didn't have lunch that day, and perhaps I should have. As it turns out, I was traveling through the hot-headed intersection where low blood sugar and anger meet. It's an honest-to-goodness condition called being hangry (a cross between hungry and angry). I call it, "you better shut your piehole when you're on an empty stomach and talking to your boss."

Many of us are familiar with the feelings that low blood sugar produces. Crankiness sets in. Some of us get abusive, others downright hostile. Usually a glass of juice, a candy bar or some other well-timed snack clears the condition. Still, why do people get hangry?