“So what happened when you got to Paris with her?” Jessie went on to ask. “I bet you took her to all the romantic places like the Eiffel Tower and stuff…”
Joseph laughed. “I never really understood that,” he said.
“Understood what?” Samantha asked.
“Why people consider the Eiffel Tower romantic,” Joseph said. “I mean, it’s a nice tower and all, and it’s definitely groundbreaking and historic, but what’s really been romantic about it, other than it being in Paris?” That got Jessie out of her philosophic thoughts, and the girls shook their heads. “You know what the funny story about the Eiffel Tower is?”
“What?” asked Jessie first.
“Parisians hated it when it was first built,” Joseph said. The girls looked confused. “It was built for an exhibition in the 1880s to show how someone could use steel to build tall towers. At the time, and even now, it dominated the Paris skyline because they don’t allow skyscrapers in the old city. The locals thought it was interesting, but they were told that it was going to be torn down after the exhibition. However, the French Government decided to keep it as, among other things, a radio antenna for Paris.
“The locals were irate. They hated it and rallied against it, about how ugly it was and how it ruined Paris. It wasn’t until years later, and generations who grew up with it and didn’t know anything different, began to take pride in it and how other countries and people thought of it as the symbol of modern France.
“But some people didn’t let go of their anger. In particular, there was one Irish journalist who led rallies against the tower, and continued to write against it in papers and journals all his life. Finally, in the 1950s, a biographer came to follow him and write about his work and lifetime. The biographer was shocked to find out that this writer, this man who had rallied against the tower all his life, ate lunch there every single day, without fail.
“This young biographer was so astounded, he eventually got up the courage to ask the journalist why he ate there. The journalist just said ‘Because it’s the only place in the entire city where I can’t see the bleedin’ thing.’”