If I met me, I’d hate him

MY wife says I’m one of a kind.

It’s the way she says it that bothers me. More relief than admiration.

She says it’s the reason she’s opposed to cloning. She says she couldn’t handle the washing or the cooking for two of us, and the sleeping arrangements would be bizarre.

She made me realise I’m opposed to human cloning, too. I’d always thought it would be rather fine to have another one — or two — of me in the world. It would certainly do the place a lot of good.

Then it struck me with great clarity that if I ever met me, I’d hate him.

For a start he’d be competition. I’m the bright boy in our family. At family gatherings it’s me that makes people laugh. I’m the one who wins Trivial Pursuit and pipes up with answers to crosswords other people are doing.

You think I want to hear that same note of smug triumph, or see the complacent gleam in the eye, of another me?

I have this annoying habit of not getting to the point of a story; of not getting to the point of anything, actually, especially if it involves physical labour. You think I want to watch me loafing in front of the television, or pontificating in the pub about the State of the Country?

And then there’s the possibility of a takeover bid. I have this nasty feeling I might come home one night to find the door bolted and the lights out and my wife at the window saying: “But you’re here, in bed, with me…”

The scientists poo-hoo all this, saying a clone wouldn’t be exactly the same as the original; that they would have different personalities because they had different backgrounds.

That’s the problem! Having two of me would be bad enough. But what if the other one were better?

What if my wife is calling down from the window: “But you’re here, in bed, with me, and you’re not drunk and you’re better than, well… you.”

This last phrase heavy with portent and — dare I say it — satisfaction.

This is where the scientists say: “But we’re not talking about cloning people; only bits of people.”

I am not reassured. Which bits, I want to know. I can think of some that would be useful (and that might help protect my rightful place in my own bed); and a new liver could be handy; but other than that, I’m not so sure.

I suppose if they can isolate bits of DNA from a strawberry and whack it into a salmon to make it pinker, or DNA from a penguin to make a lettuce that doesn’t get frostbite, then they could create a new me, with knobs on, if you’ll pardon the expression. A me with the alcoholic capacity of a brewery; a me with the sexual appetite of Zeus.

I mentioned this to my wife and she showed interest. She wanted to know if it was possible to isolate the DNA strain that did the washing up, or mowed the lawn, or that talked rubbish.

We agreed that one of a kind was plenty.

I went to the pub; she went to bed.

I just hope the door won’t be bolted when I get back.