People can be really mean.
Everyone gets into a mean mood once in a a while, but some people are fundamentally mean. They may know how to keep themselves in check so that they can operate in polite society, but they can only go so long before their fundamental meanness slips out.
I have a business relationship with a man who has a mean streak a mile wide. The whole mile wasn't revealed to me all at once. At first he seemed like a clever guy with a critical turn of mind and a gift for sarcasm. As he got to know me better and felt more at home with me, he started sharing more of his opinions.
He thinks this person is stupid. That one is fat. A third - who knows what she does all day? Probably sits at her desk playing solitaire instead of working. And how about that guy - the ugly one? Lucky for him that he married his high school sweetheart, because no one would date him.
These pronouncements are usually followed by an evil cackle. The mean guy obviously gets a charge of delight from putting other people down.
He's even been mean to me.
Sometimes I wear crazy socks to work. The rest of my outfit is all placid and beige and whatnot, but hidden under my trousers and over-the-ankle boots I might be wearing canary yellow, or rainbow stripes, or socks with birds all over them. One time when I was seated with my legs crossed, my pants rode up enough to reveal a sliver of crazy sock. The mean guy saw, and laughed at me. Not with me. At me.
He raised one eyebrow, smirked, said something like "Really? You wear kids' socks?" At that moment all I said was "Well, life is serious enough, don't you think? I like to liven it up a little." He sneered. But we were about to start a business meeting, and I didn't care all that much at that moment what he thought about my socks, so that was the end of it.
But after the fact, when I had a chance to think it through again, I got pretty ticked off. I don't know why he feels entitled to be The Judge of Everyone, or The Determiner of Sock Age Appropriateness, but it's a bunch of b.s. Next time he says something mean, I'm calling him on it. I'm just going to say, "Wow, that's really mean." I don't know what will happen, but if I can get him to think twice before opening that sour mouth, I'll call it a victory.