January 2, 2003

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if these Star-Trek look-a-likes really have cloned a human being? I realize that this seems a bit unlikely, particularly given the cult's headsman looks more like a goat herder in his white robes than a scientist. However we all know that the technology is out there to do some of the procedures necessary for such an undertaking. Plus, stories coming out now indicate there is more than one group like this and they have entered a competition similar to the space race trying to be the first to create a human clone. Still when you see this spokeswoman on all the news programs telling us how the human race was actually genetically engineered by space aliens, you can't help but be a little skeptical.

I'm not going to delve into the ethical dilemma of human cloning. I won't argue the values of some forms of the genetic manipulation for medical research nor will I try to scare you with tales of everything that could go wrong (there are plenty of movies out there like Sixth Day which give some theatrical representations of what human cloning might or might not do.) Instead I will simply ask why anyone would want an identical copy of themselves, especially like the alleged baby Eve.

While I realize my children will have traits from both their father and mother (we're praying they have my teeth and the dentist is hoping they have mom's dental defects) they are not just a little Chris or a little Karri. That means they are not stuck with my shortcomings, meaning there is still hope they won't be short, overweight and may actually be good at sports. Okay, so maybe only the height issue is totally controlled by genes, yet you get the picture. If Abi was a clone of her mother there definitely would not be a closet-full of dresses and a set of pompons in her closet.

To me the little differences are what makes a family interesting. Speaking of family (enough with the deep thoughts of cloning and on to lighter topics) I have to pass on a couple of amusing happenings from the holidays.

I still have a mental image of the time-tested question - how many in-laws does it take to plug in a DVD player? In my endless wisdom, as well as my total lack of technical knowledge I remained on the couch and watched as more and more family members were recruited to assist in getting the movie machine hooked up to the TV set in the backroom. (The big screen TV was being monopolized by the new video game). The room quickly filled as another and another came to offer their advice, none of which worked. I'm glad we didn't have any light bulbs go out.

If that wasn't enough amusement for everyone, there was the flu pool. Abigayle had the honor of starting our family down the road of non-stop trips to the bathroom thanks to the stomach flu. Katie was next then Karri and finally myself. Fortunately it was just a 12-hour or maybe 24-hour deal. That made it a little less painful to watch as one after another of the family was stricken with upset stomachs. So not only was there a run on toilet paper and bedside bowls, but we also had to have a notebook to keep track of all the bets as the family members wagered on who would be the next victim. Odds were low for Betsy and Melissa, both medical workers that had the flu shot. The others were fair game, with Brent receiving the highest likelihood of contracting the bug since he and his wife were staying at our home. That proved a good bet as he was first to go down along with little cousin Zoe. Great grandma was next, despite only brief contact with the group on Christmas Eve. Grandpa came in third with uncle Rodney seen visiting the bathroom a lot right before they hit the road back to Springfield. You see if the family was all clones we wouldn't have been able to have so much fun, as we all would have the same immune systems and would be equally susceptible to the flu.

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