Half Empty - Aug 15, 2005

By Ariel Leve.

Recently, the South Koreans cloned the first dog. "Millie?" Liza asked, thinking they had copied President Bush's beloved pet springer spaniel. No, not Millie. A clone was made of an anonymous Afghan hound; the first time a dog has ever been successfully cloned. The effort took South Korean researchers nearly three years. Which of course made me wonder: would anyone devote that much time to cloning me?

Probably not. They'd give up after a few hours when they realised another one of me would not contribute anything useful to the world in any way.

As an only child, I've always wanted to have a sibling, but even better than having a sibling would be having a clone. How could I not adore her? We'd share everything. Finally someone would understand what it's like to be me.

But what if she didn't? Technically, she would be identical but she would have different parents and so chances are, she would be happy. That would be my worst nightmare. Someone exactly like me in every way, but optimistic and happy.

I can just hear my friends: "There's a party tonight - is your clone free?" Or, "Your clone said the funniest thing!" Or, "Your clone is so much fun. Why can't you be more like your clone?"

Liza would call and say, "I met a fantastic guy - is your clone seeing anybody?"

My clone would get all the attention and then, I'd end up jealous. Which would make me look even worse.

Liza has an identical twin, the closest thing to a clone. I asked her what it was like and she told me it's mostly great. "Except everyone tells her she looks like Jennifer Aniston whereas I'm told I look like Bette Midler. How is that possible?"

The best thing would be to have a clone who was more of a mess than I am. If my clone was worse off than me, that would be ideal. I'd get to feel sorry for myself and superior at the same time. I'd hang out with my loser clone all the time and it would remind me how lucky I am. It's not going to happen though. They may be able to clone a dog, but to clone me would be a recipe for disenchantment.