“Buy yourself a flatscreen tv!” was the advice given by one German graduate student to the other, after the latter struggled to carry his old television – Röhrenfernseher or cathode ray tube television – up several flights of stairs to his new, smallish, apartment. The old tv is, indeed, just that. Twenty years. It belonged to his grandmother, then to his parents.

This Wunderwerk deutscher Ingenieurskunst – wonder work of German engineering – a term once used ironically by a tv repairman – was built by a renowned German electronics company. Siemens. It continues to work flawlessly.

When the Röhrenfernseher – literally tube far see-er – some day gives up the ghost, it will be replaced by a flatscreen tv. But because the age-old German belief in not throwing anything out which still works applies to this truly durable German household appliance, it could see a few more schweißtreibende Umzüge – sweat-inducing apartment moves.

Crazy Germans!