Almost The Same

by Amy Zidell

Posted 08.07.01

There's been a bunch of stories about cloning all over the place lately, almost like the stories themselves are cloning. A local news channel featured a segment on cloning family pets. I wouldn't consider doing that until cloning technology is more reliable. Fido with three eyes isn't a good idea. The Drudge Report, reports some cloning project supposedly taking place in international waters with some two hundred women expected to be impregnated with cloned embryos. There's also a story about a former West Virginia State Senator who recently pulled financial support from a French scientist that was to clone the former representative's deceased son, who died two years ago at age 10 months due to heart defects, according to the Sunday Gazette-Mail. These are just examples of what people are seriously considering. Unless they've figured out how to fix what genetically predisposedly killed off their dearly departed, cloning the person would likely just put the clone and everyone else through the same tragedy again. Of course for the clone, it would be first time misery. Maybe misery does love company. All this cloning buzz reminds me of an offer a former boyfriend made to me some years ago.

In the ultimate case of wanting his cake and eating it too he suggested, "I wish that I could clone myself."

The intention was internally sincere as was my follow up question, "Which one would I get?"

This was apparently a minor detail he neglected to figure out. He was stumped and speechless. Either condition alone was rare, the combination near impossibility

To the unanswered question plastered on his face I explained, "Do I get the clone or the original?"

This deeply probing query resulted in enough synapses to fire at once to cause a rapid change of subject. I guess that even with a clone there was still too much fear of the chance that he might get stuck with me. I really hate to think of myself as that sticky, that's just so unkind.

I guess he thought a clone might possibly be capable of being better to me than he was. Maybe the clone could open himself up more than the original. Talk about emotionally unavailable, he thought a stand in was a good idea.

Despite this twisted, partially sweet, completely strange and disturbing suggestion, there's an element in that muck that's not such a bad idea. There are potential practical aspects, but they could only be realized once replicating is doable. Cloning has that troublesome aspect of cloning a baby of the cloned subject. So unless I had wanted to wait 18 to 21 years to date someone 30 years younger than myself, the cloning concept wasn't going to work for me. Maybe he wanted to raise himself from infancy in a fractured nuclear family. That's really scary.

Forging new paths is often scary, but imagine the possibilities -- genetically engineered dates and mates. Just think, a dash more obsessive compulsive predisposition DNA and you won't even have to remind him to put the toilet seat down or take out the trash. A little tweak around those primal hunting characteristics and that workaholic will be snuggling with you every night.

There is a down side to this engineered perfection. No matter what characteristics you program, would they ever really be good enough? You might ask yourself, "Do they love me or do they love me because I made them that way?" And truthfully if a woman could 'fix' their better half in advance, who's to say what the result of all that unspent need to change someone would have? Of course there's also the possibility that once all is said and done you might just change your mind, or, lose interest because of a lack of challenge. That would mean there would be more pre-trained people out there that would require re-training to meet your specifications when you got together, and then we're back to square one. AOL personal profiles would be impacted specifying things such as, 'Designed for Enhanced Sensitivity,' or for purists, 'Certified Non-GMO,' or 'Not Genetically Modified.'

So far, I've only looked at possible genetic manipulations from a woman's perspective. I think it's safe to say female modifications would be more complex and varied than those a man might desire. I imagine men would look to swap the chromosomes responsible for speech with those that controlled the need for reproduction. No doubt breast size would be maximized, and he would likely want to minimize areas responsible for that part of the memory which has that nasty tendency to remember verbatim what he said seven months ago. The result would be a larger breasted woman, who always wanted sex, and didn't talk much. Of course, the Frankenstenian aspect would be that she would no longer be able to tell him where anything was and man would starve, eventually dying out.

Too many cooks can spoil the stew. Better to leave Mother Nature to her own devices, she's done pretty well so far.

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