My clone could make scales lie

Genetic cloning: Dolly the sheep.
Genetic cloning: Dolly the sheep.
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If you could clone yourself, what would you use your clone for?

A thought-provoking question, posed not by Brian Cox (though surely it’s on a par with explaining why atoms are empty), but a seasonally harassed mother on Mumsnet.

It got a fair old flurry of posts.

“I would use ‘me’ to blow-dry the back of my hair, put the duvet cover on and check if my bum really does look big in this,” said one wit.

“My clone would sleeeeeep,” answered another, whom one assumes is either a breast-feeding mother or a parent who hasn’t yet twigged that the later you put your kids to bed, the longer you get in yours of a morning. The subject clearly sparked many a fertile female imagination; on-line conversation raged (how do these women have enough time to look after kids?)

Stressed-out sisters conjured up stacks of uses for other wholes (SO much more versatile, and obliging, than other halfs. Plus they’re going to do their chores exactly the way you would do them. And not at all the same as having a twin, as twins have minds and lives of their own).

One cunning soul took it all a slightly more worrying step further and revealed that, if she had a clone, she’d use it for “an alibi”.

Is she having an affair? Is she about to do her husband in? Should police be informed of her true identity?

In a far more legal way, I know where she’s coming from, though; remember when you were little, and you tried to blame all the naughty stuff on your little brother, whose grasp of the English language was so scant, he couldn’t actually defend himself? It would be like that, only easier.

Swiftly, though, a few online mothers inevitably started fretting as deep-rooted insecurities rose to the surface. “What if it was thinner than me?” whittled one. “What if it got a glamorous job and became more popular than me?” wittered another. “I would grow to hate her...”

Now I would never get clone-induced paranoia. My other me would be far too subservient, I’d see to that.

I’d make absolutely sure she never got to realise just how valuable she was to me, and always knew she could be dispensed from my life just as readily as she was allowed into it.

It’s pretty much how I keep Bloke on his toes.

How useful she would be, this other me. I would make her do all the household chores I hate so much, they get ignored. I’d get her to do the ironing so we never had a laundry mountain in the spare bedroom. She could clean the windows... I can’t tell you how long it is since I did them. Oh all right then, I will. Since I moved into the flat nine years ago, I’ve done them twice.

Of a weekend, I could stay in bed and pack her off to clean out the chickens and walk the dog. She could push the trolley at Morrisons and do the unloading and loading at the check-out while I read the magazines.

Some days, if I fancied a day off, I could send her to work. Though whether I’d want my name put to anything she wrote I’m not so sure of. Obviously, it wouldn’t be as good as my stuff.

And, and... If I go on a diet at New Year, I could send her to the weekly WeightWatchers weigh-in while I sit at home with the last of the mince pies.