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This Week in Freudenfreude: A $32.43 Check, a 30,835% Tip

"Diner leaves mega-tip, staff is left in tears" is a pretty old trope, but also a pretty good one, such that anytime there's another entry in the genre, the story tends to spread like wildfire.

This being the case, perhaps you've already heard about the latest variant. It was a slow day at Mason Jar Cafe in Benton Harbor, MI, when a customer named Mark came in for lunch on his way to a close friend's funeral. Mark wanted to honor his friend, and so he left a big, big tip, namely $10,000. If you've got that kind of scratch, that's as good a way to honor a friend as any, we'd say. The tip was split among nine staffers, so each of them got a nice, unexpected $1,000+ bonus that day.

What does this have to do with politics? We do not know, exactly. However, we found the story on The Hill, which is a politics-centered site, just like ours. It was in their "Changing America" section, which has the sub-sections "Respect," "Sustainability," "Resilience," "Enrichment" and "Well-Being." It would seem that the folks who run that site have reached the same conclusion we did, namely that it's useful to have the occasional item to take the edge off the tougher stuff. And if you have to bend a little to squeeze in something that's positive, even if it's not all that political, oh well.

A new study, just published this week, affirms our intuition (and that of The Hill staff, presumably). It was already well-established that negative news is a downer that undermines a person's mood. What the new study looked at was the next step. That is to say, what if the negative stuff is followed by something positive?

Their findings were not surprising. Based on their work with 1,800 study subjects, the researchers found that even a brief bit of positivity can cancel out a pretty big chunk of negativity. Also, humorous items are good and helpful, but items highlighting acts of kindness—like, say, a $10,000 tip at a restaurant—are even better.

In short, Freudenfreude of the Week, which has been a part of the site for about a year and a half (see the first one here) is here to stay. (Z)

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