Ikea monkey

As they grimly devote themselves to the task of reviewing 2012 — filled, as it was, with declining poll numbers, widespread public disinterest and no achievements whatsoever — Canada’s members of Parliament are today filled with undisguised envy for one figure.

One who will be long remembered by history. One who is recognized from coast to coast to coast. We speak, naturally, of Ikea Monkey.

Canada loves Ikea Monkey. Members of Parliament? Not so much.

Ikea Monkey became Canada’s best-loved, er, Ikea Monkey over the weekend.

As chronicled in a Pulitzer-winning report by Sun Media on Sunday , Maryam Shah wrote how the monkey in question — a rhesus macaque, youngish, somewhat stressed — had decided to explore a North York Ikea store on a Sunday afternoon. It was in its owner’s car, and it somehow got out.

“It’s a smart monkey,” a Toronto police spokesman said, and he would know.

Normally, voluntarily going to any Ikea location on a Sunday just before Christmas is a clear indication of mental illness.

But Ikea Monkey was driven to the Toronto-area store, one assumes, and left to its own devices.

Being “a smart monkey,” it got out of the car it was in, and likely went in search of “banan,” which is Swedish for “banana.”

(Other helpful Swedish banana-related phrases: “Och som stoppade en bil med banan?” and “Bananskalle, jag satsar åt dig,” which mean, respectively: “Who disabled an unmarked unit with a banana?” and “Listen, you stupid banana head.”)

Anyway. The Ikea Monkey delighted Ikea shoppers, who snapped photos that were immediately uploaded to the Internet. Some of the best Twitter tweets about Ikea Monkey: “BREAKING: #IkeaMonkey named Raptors starter. Can’t do any worse than humans.” And: “Peter Gabriel’s latest: “Shop the IkeaMonkey.” And: “It’s a lot of laughs until you recall Planet of the Apes started like this.”

Actually, those were all my tweets. I thought they were pretty funny, if I do say so myself.

But the point — and there is a point to this Swedish simian exegesis — is this: Ikea Monkey, in his little tailor-made shearling coat, and his thoughtful custom diapers, became more famous than any Canadian politician you can name.

Faster than you can say Instagram, the image of Ikea Monkey — natty, cute, and understandably bewildered by Ikea-issue Allen wrenches — went all around the planet.

Nearly 3,000 news stories. Tons of social media updates. Untold numbers of fake Twitter accounts.

(Personal favourite: #IkeaMonkey4TOMayor. He can’t do any worse than the incumbent.)

In the years to come, as social historians debate the enduring significance of Ikea Monkey, one thing will emerge as an empirical fact: In just a few brief moments, Ikea Monkey became the best-known Canadian of 2012. The whole world knows about Ikea Monkey, now.

For Stephen Harper and his government — who never seem to do much of anything, parliamentary majority notwithstanding — Ikea Monkey provides a cautionary tale.

To wit: When a rhesus monkey becomes better known, and better admired, than you (and in record time, too) it is perhaps time for a change in approach.

My advice? Dress the Conservative caucus up in little shearling coats and diapers, and make them visit shopping centres on weekends.

They’ll do a hell of a lot less damage to the country.

And, who knows?

Maybe they’ll get better known, too!

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