Tag Archives: Rocks-Paper-Scissors

Why I don’t think cloning is going to work (or, Welcome to Cloney Island)

I forget where, but I heard somebody or read something about clones the other day. It was some crazy imaginary scenario where a guy goes into a medical facility in the future because his liver or his heart is failing. They’re going to clone him, and then take out the clone’s organ and do a transplant. They guy walks in, they do they procedure, and he gets up to leave but he’s strapped to the operating table, and all of the doctors are like, “Sorry clone, you’re not going anywhere.”

Because the clone has all of the guy’s memories up until the point of cloning, that’s what it feels like. Right? I don’t know. I’m totally pro-cloning. I would clone myself in a second. It wouldn’t be exploitative. I’d be more than willing to share half of my life with a clone. The immediate upside is that I’d only have to work half as many hours. We could just take turns. So that would be great.

But the obvious downside is that we’d be spending double the money on food and drink. Clothes wouldn’t be a problem, because I have more than one pair of clothing. But laundry detergent use would definitely double. Still, I think it would be worth it, absolutely, to be able to go to work half the time. There are so many ways to split it up. It’s like I would only have to work two days a week. Or, I could work a full week and then have a full week’s vacation, and we could alternate.

Most clone story problems happen because a guy makes a clone of himself and then realizes once the clone exists that there is just too much stuff that he’s not willing to compromise with himself. Like the organ donor story that I started out with. If you want to get cloned, you have to go into it assuming that you’re going to be the clone, because maybe you will be. Who knows whose memories are going to belong to which one? And what if the cloning company is run by a bunch of incompetents, always mixing up who is the clone and who is the original?

I’m just saying, you plan it out in advance so that if you were to wake up tomorrow as a clone, you’d be happy with all of the decisions the original made in advance. Equal power sharing. Equal work time. And yeah, an extra kidney if something goes wrong. Livers would be problematic still, the same with hearts. But kidneys, eyes, hands, anything that there are two of, you’d be fine.

Unfortunately it’s never going to be that easy. The first people to get their hands on cloning technology will definitely be the ultra-rich. And everybody knows that the ultra-rich are basically a bunch of selfish a-holes. They don’t want to compromise on or share anything. They earned it, the right to own everything. They’ll take the above scenario, the organ harvesting I’m-not-the-clone-you’re-the-clone story and they’d think about it, they’d acknowledge what would have to be a pretty unpleasant scenario for the clone, and they’d just say, well screw that guy, screw that clone, screw myself. I need an extra heart and I don’t care if I have to bring into existence an identical version of myself to do it.

I would love to clone myself and then challenge the clone to a race, or a game of basketball, or rocks-paper-scissors. I’ve never lost rocks-paper-scissors. Not even once. Maybe we’d walk up to each other, eye-to-eye, we’d both go “rocks-paper-scissors says shoot.” And we’d both draw rock. That’s always my first move. And then I always go scissor. And then scissor. It goes rock, scissor, scissor, rock, scissor, paper, paper, paper, paper, paper, paper, rock, paper, paper, rock, paper, scissor. I always do that combo because it’s unbeatable. But that’s as far as I’ve ever gone. What would it be like against myself? Would it just be an eternal tie? We’d be standing there, for days, rocks-paper-scissors shoot: paper, tie. Rocks-paper-scissors shoot: paper: tie.

And the days would go by and people would come up to us and go, “Robs, you really need to take a break, stop for even just a second, go to the bathroom, take a drink of water.” But neither of us would quit. You know why? Because I would never quit. So therefore the two of us would never quit. But eventually the physical demands of everything that people had been warning us about, food, water, bathroom breaks, they’ll all have taken their toll, and we’ll both pass out at the exact same second.

And we’ll both wake up in the hospital, and the doctors will be saying, “Sorry Robs, but you didn’t go to the bathroom and didn’t drink any water to the point where all four of your kidneys failed at the same time.” And we’d be shocked, but the doctor would tell us not to worry, he’d say, “Don’t worry boys, your insurance covered some pretty fancy procedures, and we were able to clone the two of you. So as soon as your clones are all ready, we’ll just harvest their organs and give them to you.” And I’ll open my mouth to say, “I don’t know how I feel about that doc,” but I wouldn’t be able to actually say it out loud, because my mouth is taped shut, and my arms and legs are strapped to the hospital gurney. And I’ll break into a cold sweat as I realize that I’m the clone here, and they’re going to harvest my kidneys. And my head is strapped down also, but I move my eyes as far as I can to the side and I can see another me, also strapped in, and two more of me to his side, laying down on the operating table as the doctors tell them not to worry, that the procedure will be over and done with in no time, that there’s nothing to worry about, this is a very common operation we’re talking about here.

This post is super good

For most of my life now, I’ve been preoccupied with a certain question: if I could have one super power, what would it be? This question is inherently difficult because there is always the argument over what constitutes just one super power. You might think it would be enough to say, “I’d choose the powers of Superman,” but what is Superman if not just a collection of various super powers? There’s the flying, the super strength, the ice breath. It’s a total copout. And that’s why Superman is just this huge loser. And that’s why all of the Superman movies are terrible. What about Spider-Man? He’s definitely got a lot going on, Spidey-Sense, wall-crawling, he’s kind of strong. But in this case I don’t think it would be fair to be limited to choosing just one of his kind of mediocre powers.

I think that in Spider-Man’s case, you could argue that his one power is a collection of weird spider-like attributes. All of his powers together make him a little more super than the rest of us. But then again, you have Superman, where any one of his powers would usually merit their own superhero. It’s obviously just a little too much. So when choosing super powers, I’m going to argue that it has to be something less than a god, but obviously more than a human. If you, after reading what you’ve read so far, say to yourself, “well I’ll just pick Batman, he’s pretty cool” then the joke’s on you, because Batman doesn’t have any powers. And if you really said that to yourself, and really didn’t know that Batman doesn’t have any powers, then something is wrong with you, because what, you’ve never seen a Batman TV show or one of the very successful Batman movies? Actually, Batman is super rich, which sounds about as realistic of a super power as any other.

My approach to the super power question has evolved as I’ve grown up. When I was little, it was enough for me to read Spider-Man comics and then wish that I could be Spider-Man. But he’s been around since the sixties, and after spending nearly two decades of my life following his many adventures, I’m just not sure that Spider-Man’s powers would be compatible with the kind of lifestyle I’m used to. Even if I were smart enough to invent my own web shooters, for example, which I’m not, I doubt that I’d have the balls to use them to jump off of tall buildings and swing around the city. What if I missed? I’d be dead. Maybe I’d sneak out of the second story of my house every now and then, but I probably wouldn’t, because there is absolutely no reason to. I’d most likely be more comfortable using the front door.

Now that I think about it, most of your classic super powers seem kind of just a little too much for what I would want in my life. I wouldn’t be able to pick anything too dramatic. What would happen if the media got wind of some guy that could suddenly fly or run at super speeds? The government would have that person confiscated and dissected very quickly. If I can fly, what am I supposed to do, fly away from a government fighter jet sent out to bring me in? I would need super speed on top of the flying, which would technically be picking two powers, which I already labeled as copping out. Also, if you could fly, and you didn’t have super strength, wouldn’t you have to keep yourself in ridiculous shape just to be able to go any significant distance? It’s like, everyone can run, but for how long can they keep it up? It has to be the same with flying. It just sounds like way too much work.

And then I think about the super powers that you could keep hidden, like mind reading, or invisibility. But I think that these powers would just suck the humanity out of me. If I could read everyone’s thoughts, I might not like what I’d hear. And unless I saw every movie or TV show before anyone else, I’d constantly have the endings of everything just totally ruined. And even if nobody saw anything before me, there would always be the chance that I’d run into one of the show’s writers, and then not only would that season be ruined, but all the potential ideas for any future stories would also be prematurely revealed. In the case of invisibility, I think that would turn anyone into a huge creep, because wouldn’t you have to be naked all the time? There are no easy answers here.

I think that what I’d like best is a really obscure kind of super power, one that would grab everyone’s attention as it was happening, but afterwards, everyone would just be kind of like, “eh, I’m over it.” I think I’d have to pick as my super power the ability to win at rocks-paper-scissors every single time. It’s the perfect supernatural gift for where I’m at in life right now. Just think about how many ridiculous chores or arguments I could completely avoid. “I don’t feel like taking out the trash either. Rocks-paper-scissor you for it?” And I can’t think of anything else I’d like to do more than to go out to a bar with a group of people and, after we’ve all had way too much to drink, making the announcement that I cannot be beat in rocks-paper-scissors. Everyone would object, thinking that I’m full of shit, and people would start lining up to prove me wrong. I wonder how many rounds I’d have to play before a hush would fall the entire bar, people slowly gathering around to see me beat the odds every single time, over and over and over again, and eventually someone starts clapping, until the whole place is going nuts and lifting me up on a chair parading me around the room chanting, “Rob! Rob! Rob!”