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Me & myself: the majestic (?) possibilities of getting your own replica

I believe that when we all wistfully relate that “I wish I had a twin brother/sister,” what we really mean is “I bet I would get along just great with myself.” Or, at least, that’s what I mean. And I hope it’s what you mean, too, because it’s a hell of a lot more interesting that way.

It’s possible that you’re the sort of well-adjusted individual that has never considered anything of the sort. If that is the case, then you’re either a) a cultural rarity, or b) a timeless, peaceful monk with a toothless smile – in which case, I would appreciate it greatly if you would teach me your indomitable martial arts, because I absolutely will not misuse them to further my own unsubtle sense of “good times.”

Being none of the above, I’ve thought a lot about meeting myself. I have the sort of ego that lets me seriously contemplate things like “How great would I be in person?” without any sort of chemical enhancement. And I ended up surprising myself a little. I’ll show you.

“Would we agree on things? “

This is why everyone wants a copy of themselves in the first place, isn’t it? We all want somebody who would get things the way we get them, without all the tedium of explaining, convincing, and threatening to withhold sex for a few weeks [1]. It would be amazingly easy to have somebody agree think that the same people are assholes, that the same TV shows are awesome, and that, as a matter of fact, not peeing for 2 whole days so that you can write the first three paragraphs of Moby Dick in the snow is an accomplishment, godammit.

Do Not Want
Do Not Want

If this whole magical clone thing were to go down, we’d get about half of what we wanted. Sure, your copy would have the same vices, desires, and tastes that you do, but you’d also both be in the tenuous position of reviewing every single thing about yourself. Observing and interacting with another you would be just about the quickest and least gentle means by which to strip away all of your pleasant misconceptions. After all, we live in a society comprised of individuals that, on average, don’t have the self-awareness to feel bad about making things like Twilight, Akon, and goddamn Twitter [2] economically viable concepts. Hanging out with yourself for more than an hour would be the emotional equivalent of finding Freddy Krueger using your toilet when you go to brush your teeth at night.

Which leads me to my next important point…

“Could I kick my own ass?”

If I had to, I would guess that this is one of those “boy” questions. Nevertheless, it’s a vital one, because – at least in my case – it’s an issue that would come up pretty quickly. Similar opinions and classic lit-oriented urination only go so far.

Simply try to imagine the sheer number of things you don’t realize that you do or say. It’s very possible that your breath consistently smells like an outdoor lavatory during mango season, for example. Sure you’re funny at cocktail parties, but those perfectly-timed bon mots about the economy mean nothing when you have the sort of laugh that makes bystanders think somebody’s waterboarding a donkey. Combine that with the fact that the person the least obligated has to put up with your sh*t is you, and it’s inevitable that unpleasantness could arise.

The main problem with fighting yourself is obvious: they’re just as good or bad at fighting as you are. They’re just as strong, and just as willing to hold up their hands and surrender, right before squealing like a frightened sow and trying to bite you on the ear. And hell, you know they’re going to do it, because it’s exactly what you’d do.

I’ve thought about it from pretty much every angle, and there’s really no clear way to win. I honestly think it would come down to a matter of environment: who’s closer to the whiffle bat, or the garden hose, or the partially defrosted chicken breasts on the counter [3].

In the end, there’s no clear winner. You won, but you also lost. It would be cathartic, though, and fun.

If this sounds depressing, then you should be comforted to know that, at least half-way through, I and I would start laughing our asses off. We wouldn’t stop of course, and it would go on until we were too tired, bruised, or wised-up to continue on. But I think it would take something like that before we could be sickeningly cheerful pals that we were meant to be.

“Would I share with me?”

I want a lot of things, and only the good stuff for myself; I also know that isn’t necessarily nice. I would hate to have to split my car. I’d love to split my rent, but I’d also like to know that when I go to the bathroom, it’s different and, in some small way, special [4].

I would get twice the value out of all the clothes I bought – with the crucial exception of underwear, in which case each me would be an island unto myself. It would be great to split a car with myself because we’d never begrudge each other the chance to drive, and we’d agree on music. We’d never snipe at each other for driving too fast or slow, and we’d agree that pulling over for a Happy Meal is an indulgence that need not be judged, or even discussed.

I would be my own perfect alibi. After all, how could I be herding an musk ox into the living room of a guy who wronged me and subsequently feeding it an entire box of Ex-lax, when I was at the bowling alley? How could I possibly have knocked out my sworn enemy with a brick and tattooed “balls here, please” on their forehead when I was enjoying the merry-go-round at the fair? “Sure I had motive, officer. Lots of motive,” I’d say. “But without opportunity, you pigs don’t have a case and you know it.” And then I’d put my sunglasses back on and smile, because that’s what you do when you’re an outlaw like we would be.

I also feel I’m the sort of goon that would enjoy riding a two-seater bicycle with myself. I really would.

My friends, though, have enough trouble with just one of me, I think. They like me for my bizarre advice and my absolute willingness to taunt the animals at the zoo. But two of me would get tiresome quickly. Sure, it would be fun at first, but you can only make so many references to Queen in one conversation before it’s too much. And, as I’ve learned, you can throw so many rocks and half-finished juice boxes before you have a full-blown gorilla riot on your hands. It’s a delicate sort of balance.

Ultimately, I feel it would be a doomed effort to fit two of anyone into one life. It’s just a matter of time until you find something you aren’t willing to compromise on, something that’s simply yours, beyond all concept of fairness.

dum dum dum
dum dum dum

See, I have this girlfriend, and just between you and me, I’ve sort of got a thing for her. And I’ll tell you, being with her while knowing I wasn’t with her is the sort of horrible, double-edged, “Twilight Zone” sort of proposition that I don’t really enjoy thinking about. Being part of some bizarre, perfectly isosceles love triangle is something I don’t have the emotional equipment for. Knowing how I feel about her, it’s impossible to imagine that another me wouldn’t feel the same way.

Now, she’s not the only thing, but she’s by far the most salient example in a life that I’m finding is filled with them. So maybe it’s a good thing, after all, that we don’t have the twins that we aren’t precisely asking for; we simply haven’t considered all of the logistics, the possible crime sprees, and self-knowledge that we almost certainly aren’t ready for. Maybe it really is better not to defy both quantum physics and a U.N.-backed ban on human cloning for the sake of some ideal companionship and just move forward. You were just going to end up chasing them around with a waffle iron, and you’ll probably forget all about it in five minutes anyway.

[1] If I’m being honest, this last one has never really worked, but it’s still a threat I make constantly – even to people I’ve just met.

[2] The fact that “to tweet” is worming its way into the modern lexicon makes me sigh so hard my ribs creak like a scary door in a Disney movie.

[3] I’m something of an unconventional combatant.

[4] I’m told I attach an inordinate amount of important to my bathroom time.

[5] We’d have to make a lot more food.

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Joe Sapien

Joe Sapien is a regular columnist. He is currently floundering through grad school and running up debt. He never got to be a bully as a child, but he would have been pretty good at it.

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