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I HATE MY CLONE

You have to figure that any year now they'll be cloning people left and right. Not for any pressing reason, mind you, simply because they can. They clone plants all the time, they've done it with all sorts of little lab animals and even the world famous Dolly the Sheep. People are not much more genetically complicated then sheep so it's a good bet some scientist somewhere is earnestly trying to clone a human. More likely a whole bunch of scientists and teams of scientists all hoping to be the first to introduce Baby X to the world, or whatever they call it. Probably some dopey dramatic science fiction kind of name like Progenesis or Adaman.

Yeah, yeah, there's laws against human cloning, and all sort of ethics questions too, but when something is possible, scientists generally go right ahead and do it, never mind thinking about the consequences. Think nuclear weapons, asbestos and DDT here. They just love to go Ta-Da! They can''t help themselves. Look at the iPod people over at Apple Computers. No sooner do they invent the tiniest iPod imaginable that can hold a billion songs and do lots of magic things than they go and invent an even smaller one that does even more magic things and before you can say microprocessor there's Steve Jobs at a big press conference acting like they've just cured cancer. Ta Da! I own an iMac computer from the same company and whenever I turn it on, guess what sound it makes to let me know it's up and running? That's right, it greets me with an electronic Ta-Da! It's one of my least favorite features on the machine.

Of course all the people who parted with a lot of their hard-earned for the first tiny iPods don't appreciate the Ta-Da all that much. Their whole cutting-edge aura takes a bit of a beating when the guy next to them is sporting an iPod the size of a cufflink that can run rings around theirs. I suppose it will be that way with cloning. The people who just have to be in the vanguard of technology will be ordering clones like crazy, probably never stopping to think that now they'll have a baby to raise. And if you're the type of guy who absolutely needs to have the very latest in techno gadgetry you probably don't have a girlfriend, never mind a wife. So who's going to bring up little Progenesis? You and your nerd buddies?

Or maybe there's women out there who figure this will be a neat shortcut to cut the lunkhead males out of the loop. Or if the science guys and gals can figure out a way to grow your clone in the laboratory there's a surefire way to cut down on the wear and tear on your body and preserve those perfect abs you worked on so long and hard. Then the world could be full of Olsen twins, those identical young anorexics who used to be child actresses but are now something else, nobody seems sure exactly what. They were pretty much raised in a sort of a laboratory, television studios and the public eye. Look how… hmm, how shall I say this kindly… unique… I guess that's okay, look how how unique they turned out. Sounds like one of those "Children of The Corn" deals. Not especially scary, but creepy nonetheless.

There's all sorts of possibilities once cloning gets popular. That movie, "The Island," where a giant corporation raises rich people's clones in isolation as replacement parts factories doesn't seem beyond the corporate mentality. If anything the clones in that movie were treated better than an actual corporation would treat a being they considered their property. The legal status of clones would have to be defined. Would clones enjoy the same rights as people born the regular way? Would they be your property? After all, they'll be an exact copy of you and a product you ordered and paid for. I can see clones becoming a sort of status symbol like a Hummer or a Rolex watch. Or maybe like one of those shivering little semi-dogs that eccentric rich women parade around with and adorn with jewels and funny little clothes. That's not a pretty picture. Imagine Paris Hilton parading around with an exact replica of herself? There's not enough Cyberspace to accommodate the resulting sex videos.

Which brings up another issue. What if you're an asshole? Does the world need a copy of you? Or worse, a whole bunch of copies? And if somebody is so very exactly like you, you'll probably wind up hating the poor son of a bitch and treating them shabbily until he or she screams at you and says "I didn't asked to be replicated!" And what if clones want their own clones? Maybe they'll look around at the way human reproduction has always been done and declare themselves an improvement on the whole process.The only trouble with that is that in a few generations the world will be lousy with look-alikes and we'll be looking back on the days when the world population was only a paltry six and a half billion since the rest of sure as hell won't stop screwing and making regular babies. That's not going to happen and clones will jump on that bandwagon with the same earnest abandon as any other human.

Sex is way too much fun and far too deeply imbedded in our hard drives to let anybody stop us, as a casual glance at history tells us. No laws, religions, moral codes, sets of ethics or parental commands have stopped us from populating the planet at breakneck pace, never pausing once to consider who's going to feed all of us. When our alternate brains take over, the ones located south of our regular ones, there's no logic involved until the deed is done, again and again and again and yet again. And still we're not done. A bit of rest and it's off to races once more and Voila! Six and a half billion served, with more arrivals every second of every day. And we want to add clones? You think the malls are crowded now? We'd better get busy and irrigate the Sahara ASAP.

And you just know that organized religion will jump in with some completely inappropriate and idiotic positions on cloning, with no shortage of deluded psychos announcing that they have received detailed instructions on the matter straight from God. With its usual flair for making a bad situation worse religion will inject all manner of guilt and condemnation into the equation, making the murky waters absolutely impenetrable and reasonable debate impossible. God's most likely response to the whole cloning question? "You're on your own here, people. Hey, I'm God, not a magician or Doctor Phil. You think you can do better than me, go for it! Get back to me and let me know how you make out or if you have something reasonable to discuss. In the meantime, good luck."

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