Goodwill ambassadors come in all shapes, sizes and yes, even species. And right now, a Canadian ground squirrel is proving to be the world's most effective diplomat, simply because he inserted himself into a now-notorious-on-the-Net photograph of a couple vacationing in Banff.
He upstages the happy, smiling husband and wife, and serves as a cheeky, toothy face of cheer and good will as he hogs the most in-focus portion of what is obviously a self-timed, carefully framed shot. Click here and you can see it.
Who can resist a squirrel with such an ego? He is a paparazzo's dream come true.
Now, of course, the PhotoShop jockeys of the world are going crazy with his image - taking the rambunctious rodent who crashed the vacation portrait and deliberately, digitally inserting him into photos. Through the magic of software, he is keeping company with everyone from politicians to scantily clad folks of dubious repute. It's called PhotoBombing! (Which brings us to Lesson #1: Never judge a squirrel by the company he keeps, particularly if he has been PhotoShopped!)
As the world embraces - and then replicates - his image, this little squirrel imparts humor and creativity, and has become a symbol of graceful adaptability, whether he is with royalty or roustabouts.
A small squirrel from Banff is taking over the world, one photo at a time. Put the squirrels in charge, I say, and let's keep the focus on them - with or without a digital camera.