Listeners Find Reason to Gloat in Hard Times Shady oak trees and solar panels are secret sources of happiness amid economic turmoil, listeners reveal. Steve Proffitt joins Madeleine Brand to share these and other gloats.

Listeners Find Reason to Gloat in Hard Times

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Back now with Day to Day.


Last week, we asked you to share a little secret with us. We wondered: Is there something, given these hard economic times, something that you find yourself gloating about? We asked you to write us in 100 words or less, and we got lots and lots of responses. Here to help share some of them, our senior produce Steve Proffitt. Hi, Steve.

STEVE PROFFITT: Hi, Madeleine. Our listeners really came through on this one. Some of their comments were almost like little short stories.

KELLY WEADER (Caller): Saturday morning was a hot and steamy one in Michigan. I slept comfortably under a cool sheet. I live in a tiny, 800-square-foot house in the shade of a giant oak tree, where I never need to use AC. I rose from bed, closed all the windows, and headed outside to the garden. I'm staying fit and saving money, too. This is Kelly Weager(ph) from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

BRAND: Here's another interesting gloat from Michigan, Grand Rapids this time. Kathleen Russell(ph) writes that she's into simplicity. She says she has a small, energy-efficient house in the city. She has a solar panel that she uses to power her radio.

PROFFITT: Kathleen drives a fuel-efficient Honda Fit, but her real reason to gloat?

BRAND: I have no husband or kids, she says. That saves a lot of money.

PROFFITT: Thanks, Kathleen.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PROFFITT: We got a lot of comments about folks who drive hybrids and do other stuff to try to save the planet and to save money, too.

RICK WATTS (Caller): Hi. This is Rick Watts(ph) in West Hollywood, California. Yes, I am gloating because I do drive a hybrid Escape and changed totally to compact fluorescent light bulbs and by being frugal, saved $180 a month off the electric bill.

PROFFITT: Rick Watts, cutting down on his wattage, his amperage, and all that other stuff.

BRAND: Scott Duncan(ph) of Lexington, Massachusetts, has a gloat for all those hybrid-driving gloaters. Listen up, Rick Watts. He says he has an SUV but uses less gas than hybrid drivers. That's because he bought a house only a mile and a half from where he works, and that means he can save gas for the weekend, when he tows his boat to the shore.

PROFFITT: Besides, Scott asks, what can you tow with a Prius?

BRAND: OK. Listener Kate Pitman(ph) is gloating in Massachusetts because she has never had a credit card.

PROFFITT: Melissa Path(ph) is gloating because she moved to Europe, got a job paying in euros and now, she needs far less of them when she converts them to dollars to pay off her student loans.

BRAND: Lots of listeners found a silver lining in things that are ordinarily considered bad news.

ALEXI VAN BURNE (Caller): The rising price of oil and the increasing outbreaks of salmonella make me secretly the tiniest bit happy. Importing garlic from China and eating mass-produced tomatoes grown in California, Canada and Mexico just doesn't make sense. Perhaps someday soon, locally produced goods and foods will finally have a chance. From Alexi Van Buren(ph) in Water Valley, Mississippi.

PROFFITT: And Madeleine, here's one of my favorites, from Howard Mitchell(ph). He's from Jericho, Vermont. He says he experiences an inner gloat when he's traveling on his sailboat.

BRAND: The wind takes me where I want to go, he writes, and the solar panel keeps my food and beer cold.

PROFFITT: Howard concludes, if I was just a better fisherman, I could really gloat.

BRAND: OK. Now, remember, we asked you to keep your responses to 100 words, so let's wrap it all up with this one.

KAREN HANSON (Caller): I grew up Darien, Connecticut. Dad was a chemical engineer for a large oil company and a conservative Republican. He taught us to conserve things like oil. I drive an old Honda del Sol that gets 36 miles per gallon. I live in a little house because I don't need a lot of space because I don't accumulate a lot of useless stuff. And yes, I am a vegetarian. Finally, I only used 74 words. This is Karen Hanson in Huntington, Connecticut.

PROFFITT: Thanks, Karen. Thanks to everyone who wrote and called. Just sorry we couldn't share them all, Madeleine.

BRAND: And thanks to Steve Proffitt. You know, after we taped that, one gloat came in that I really have to share with you. It's from Jake Waxman(ph), writing in from western Massachusetts. I don't pay taxes, Jake says. I live in a large house with a fixed-rate mortgage, which I don't pay, complete with heat and air conditioning. I eat whatever I want. Don't pay for gas for my SUV, and I'm unemployed. What? Jake Waxman concludes his gloat with this. I am a high school student, and I live with my parents.

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