The May visits to Ireland of U.S. President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II created a nice boost in tourist trade. Countries all over the globe have taken note. So have clever entrepreneurs who have seized the opportunity to "rent out" the services of Obama and Queen Elizabeth lookalikes to visit many different countries and promote tourism to those countries.
Reviews of the pseudo heads-of-state have been mixed. In some cases there wasn't even a suspicion that they weren't the real thing. But in others, there were problems. In Mexico, one lookalike for the Queen was a dead giveaway as a fraud. She wore a sombrero instead of a dignified hat, and she forgot to carry a pocketbook. Yikes! A native Mexican reported, "To me she didn't look like the real thing at all. I could spot the phony tiara from a mile away. She must have picked it up in a box of Cracker Jack. And her smile was just as phony."
In general, the Obama lookalikes seemed to do better. All except those who had personal contact with the public, that is. A woman in France reported that she was delighted to get an autograph from the U.S. president (wink, wink). But when she shook his hand, she was startled to receive a handful of black shoe polish instead of the thrill of a lifetime. "A disgrace," the woman said, shaking her head sadly from side to side. "They weren't even smart enough to hire a black man for this gig. C'est dommage."
The lookalikes have received so much attention around the globe that they've signed a contract with the Where's Waldo? folks. Starting in a few weeks, a book (Where's the Imposter?) about their adventures will be sold at fine bookstores everywhere. And at not-so-fine ones as well.