Growing up in Iowa, there were things I could count on each day: reports about hog and soybean futures, farmers discussing the weather and Paul Harvey’s broadcast. Everyone I knew listened to and trusted Harvey. During nearly 60 years as a national radio personality, Harvey’s grandfatherly voice, dramatic pauses and unique tone inflections established him as a trusted friend to many devoted listeners. I didn’t always agree with Harvey’s banter, but in one of his final shows he highlighted how he saw the best innovations and ideas emerge during difficult times.
I recently visited my maternal grandparents in Germany. Ever since I was young, I have been cognizant of wasting things, like water and electricity, at Oma and Opa’s (Grandma and Grandpa’s) house. I think their strict household is a result of the direct effect World War II had on them and the high taxes and energy costs they pay today. Even households not run by octogenarians are efficient; during my visit, my mother’s best friend in Germany, Irmgard, proudly presented her new bathroom, complete with a tankless water heater and waterless urinal.