Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Friday, June 5, 2015



It was one of the best OMG moments from Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Season Six. OK. Here's...like...what happened: Kourtney, Scott and Mason spontaneously decided to go to Paris. The highlight of the trip was when the family went to the Pont des Artes. Here, they followed the romantic tradition of the "Love Locks." It's easy. You buy a padlock, write your names on it and then fasten it to the railing of the bridge. Finally, to signify the permanence of your love, you toss the key into the Seine. (Or as Scott called it: "Umm. That River).

Never heard of "Love Locks?" Well the tradition began long before the advent of Reality TV. During the Great War, a Serbian couple were separated when Relja went off to fight in Greece. He fell in love on Corfu and never returned home to his beloved. Nada died of a broken heart, spending her last days moping on the Vrnjacka Bridge, where the lovers had met; years prior. To insure that other Serbian couples would not meet the same fate, the odd traditions of writing names on padlocks and fastening them to the railing began.

For decades, 'Love Locks' were found only in this remote Balkan village. Things changed when Italian author Federico Moccio incorporated the touching tradition into his popular novel, Ho voglia di te. Here, the young lovers meet at the Ponto Milvio in Rome. Everyone in Italy adores a romantic novel and the book became a bestseller and inspired a made-for-TV-movie. Then, Love Locks began to spread. In addition to the bridge over the Tiber, people also began chaining the Porte Vecchio in Florence and the Pont des Artes in Paris. However, when it became part of American Prime Time, the number of locks increased exponentially.

See, once the Kardashians do something, millions of people will emulate it. Whether it's Italian shoes, designer dinners, unique fragrances...or Love Locks...folks will buy it. Naturally, this meant a sudden and dramatic increase of visitors to this one bridge in particular. These days, before you even reach the Pont des Artes, Algerian street vendors are aggressively peddling padlocks for €3. If you do buy one, it's impossible to find any virgin railing, so people lock them on to another lock..which is already locked to another lock. It doesn't take a scientist to figure out what happens next: The railing falls over from the weight.

On Monday, Parisian city authorities began doing the inevitable: Dismantling the tens of thousands of padlocks. First, the bridge was closed to all traffic. Then dozens of workers began the laborious task of clipping off the locks with bolt cutters. Finally, a new, lock-proof, railing will be welded into place. The sad truth is that in today's world, once cute, obscure traditions hit the Internet and Reality TV, they quickly evolve into twenty-tons of iron falling into a river!

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