The Elan of Escalation: One-Upping Meanness with Worse Meanness

For this holiday season, why don’t we all take just a sec to breathe when something like this happens. Ease a retail clerk’s tension with a joke. Offer to help a harried mom with her bags, or hold the door open for somebody with a stroller. Make a funny face at a crying little kid while you’re waiting in line. Smile, even if nobody smiles back. If nothing else, it’ll help your own mood.