I see where a Korean biotech firm plans to charge $150,000 for cloning pets, using disputed input from a renegade scientist. The first buyer’s a disabled woman who wants to recreate the valiant companion animal that saved her from an attack. Noble stuff, huh? Supposedly she’s getting a $100,000 discount. Otherwise, it’s actually more than I paid for my house a decade ago.
A pretty hefty price tag for love!
Truly, and just when folks are working so hard to reach an accommodation with death and dying, grief and loss, an insidious development like this comes along, objectifying uniquely special beings in our lives, commodifying them into “things” not just able to be duplicated but manufactured and maybe even mass-produced, too. The profit motive preying off people’s pain. Parasitic capitalism at its worst.
Nevertheless, I’m tempted. Rather than resurrect my dear dead pets Froggy the Dog, Freda Pup and Ninis Pussycat, why not literally go for broke and clone a few heretofore irreplaceable folks I’ve known and appreciated?
- “Plugs McGonigle,” not his real name, killed in a car crash at age 37. A genius performance artist/writer/musician from North Philadelphia, “Plugs” astonished friends and foes alike with his feats of verbal prestidigitation. Can we clone him from that eye-patch he wore for effect in a photographic artwork?
- My engineer father Leonard. Here’s Daddy’s chance to finally get it right, and go the distance instead of abruptly checking out without even leaving a note. I have the homemade slingshot he used to protect his precious strawberries from garden critters. Can we clone him from that? I bet he’d fix my broken portable DVD player no one wants to bother to repair.
- Yetta, my mother. I never knew how much I really loved her until she was gone. Wearing her former wristwatch just isn’t enough. Sure, it makes me feel close to her. But I’d much prefer her input on how wacky the world’s become, or what she thinks of, pardon the expression, the presidential candidates. Maybe they could clone Yetta from her lovely beaded lilac silk wedding dress she wore at 19, when her whole life stretched before her. This time, she could become the lawyer or fashion designer she always wanted to be!
- My brother Marty, dead over a decade, from Kaposi’s Sarcoma and AIDS. Amazing, still no cure. I’d clone Marty from some pre-illness DNA, so he could return and write those science fiction stories he always yearned to finish.
- My feisty Florida friend/ex-boss Bev, recently deceased. She changed my life completely with her advice, “Do what produces the memory.” Perhaps I could clone her from the holiday card she sent me ages ago, headlined “BELIEVE!”
- Bates, described by her life partner, David, as “painter, musician, designer, scholar, technophile, esoteric retailer, patriot to nation and civilization, and impassioned advocate of the right to keep and bear arms,” who died of leukemia last spring.
- The late Alexandra Grilikhes, gifted novelist, poet, teacher, editor and macrobiotic adviser, whose exemplary meatless holiday dinners inspired many to tread a not-always-easy path to health and wisdom. Although she’s already achieved immortality through her writing, including the astounding novel, “Yin Fire,” wouldn’t it be nice to have her back?
- Spoken-word artist Sandy Crimmins, performing her poems and stories with musicians, dancers and fire-eaters at bookstores, festivals, bars and broadcast, who died suddenly and unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack last summer, leaving a husband, children and family. I miss our chats.
Naturally, not everyone’s thrilled at this cloning trend. “Cloning’s unnatural,” scoffs my fond friend “Freddy from Fresno,” not his real name. “People and pets are born; they live; they die. We mourn. They stay dead. That’s the natural order of the universe. Deal with it.”
My thinking is, we’ve come to a very scary crossroads in the history of civilization. You know someone will really try to clone Christ from minute traces of DNA on the Shroud of Turin. Oh, wait, wasn’t that already a hit book or movie? I need to get out more, don’t I. Anyway, if it’s not clones, it’ll be androids. “Blade Runner”on your doorstep, trying to sell you “Fuller Brushes.” Take a right turn, all the better. Take a left turn, beware.
Of course, we could always clone the honest, decent, forthright, brilliant, visionary leaders America and the world so desperately needs to return to help guide us out of this horrid morass. Now, if I could only think of their names.
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