Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Begun, This Clone War Has

I trust everyone has seen the first couple Alien movies. They're certified classics of cinema––hell, even the atrocious third movie has gained something of a cult status. But then there's that fourth film in the franchise, Alien Resurrection. That hackneyed, forgotten bastard child of the series. It's the one where Winona Ryder plays an awkward robot, only it's on purpose this time.

If you don't remember the fourth film, or didn't even realize there was a fourth film, you probably aren't alone, so let me bring you up to speed. Having committed suicide at the end of Alien 3, Ellen Ripley is brought back to life in the fourth movie as a clone using a combination of human and alien DNA, effectively setting up the premise for one of the worst movies of the 1990's. There are lots of bloody deaths and loads of stilted dialogue, but the best part of the movie comes midway through when Ripley stumbles upon a room filled with more clones. Looking around, she realizes that she was not the first clone, merely the first successful clone. She finds herself surrounded with test tubes containing failed, malformed Ellen Ripley clones.

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Then Ripley sees the clone that was obviously crafted right before her. It's nearly human, though hideously deformed. It speaks to her, and Ripley goes apeshit.

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This final failed clone seems to be the only one who realizes what a shitty movie Alien Resurrection is, and understandably requests death as a means of escape.

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Ripley proceeds to destroy the room with a flame thrower.

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There's quite a bit more movie after that, but I can't remember what happens because I never make it more than halfway through without falling asleep or deciding porn would be more interesting.

There is a point to this little tangent, and it's this: the idea of having a doppelganger is a concept that's always stuck with me. When I was a child, I had a malicious babysitter who convinced me everyone had an evil twin, and if you ever met your twin, he would try to murder you. Then in middle school, one of my classmates claimed there was a mysterious third Olsen twin, but she was so dreadfully disfigured that they never allowed her to be seen in public. Being naive and gullible, I believed him.

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Mostly, I've always hoped that somewhere out there, a clan of failed Adam clones were waiting for me to find them. I want to find them. I feel like hanging out with a bunch of ugly, misshapen versions of myself at all times would make me seem that much more desirable to others. Unfortunately, recent events have led me to believe there maybe be no such clone family waiting for me.

Several weeks ago, I attended a house party across the river. I was having a fine time until a noticed a fellow who looked strikingly like me, only better. Much better. Girls were hanging off this dude and fawning over him like he was a Jonas Brother, and not even the one fat one.

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At that point it dawned on me. Maybe I was the failed clone of someone else. It all made so much sense. I wracked my brain, pondering whose doppelganger I might be. It could be anyone. People often tell me I look like a handful of famous people, but always with a bit of added insult thrown into the mix.


The more I think about it, the more likely it seems. Maybe I was genetically engineered in a test tube. Perhaps I escaped from the Zachary Quinto Beard Farm.

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I know one thing, though: if I ever come face to face with a clone of mine, I doubt it will be a genial interaction. I figure one of two things will probably happen. Either I will murder him and feast on his heart in hopes of gaining extra strength and intelligence, or I will be seduced into having carnal relations with my clone. And come on, don't even act like you've never thought about boning your clone. We all have. It would be the perfect opportunity to find out what it's like to make love to yourself, and possibly address your sexual shortcomings. IT'S RESEARCH, PEOPLE. Nothing more than that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Future Father of the Year

Kids love me. Like, they're downright obsessed with me, and I can't fathom why. Whenever I'm around a child, I become instantly uncomfortable and irritated, and yet those sticky little gremlins gravitate toward me like a moth to a flame.

Back in high school, I tried babysitting in an effort to turn that youthful affinity into cold hard cash.

It didn't go well.

A couple of family friends needed a sitter one day, so I agreed to take care of their daughter while they were gone for the day. I arrived at their house just after lunch, and they gave me a brief rundown of the rules they'd laid out for their daughter and listed the phone numbers to call in case of emergency.

"She just had lunch, and we gave her a popsicle for dessert. She will ask you for more popsicles. Do not give her more popsicles." And with that, they left me alone with their offspring.

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So I gave her a popsicle. Who cares? She wasn't my kid. I fished a purple popsicle out of the freezer and watched as she tore around the living room in delight.

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After two more popsicles, she told me she wanted to watch a movie, which thrilled me. It meant the TV could babysit her for a couple hours, and I could zone out on whatever My Little Princess videotape she decided to pop into the VCR. I followed her into the living room, and watched as she fished an unlabeled VHS tape out from the cabinet. Its label had been almost entirely scratched off so I couldn't see what it was, but I didn't think much of it. She crammed it into the VCR, hopped on the couch, and continued slobbering on her frozen sugar stick as the movie began.

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We barely got past the credits before she lost interest in the movie completely. I should have known that a child on a sugar high wouldn't be able to sit still for long. I figured if I was ever going to calm her down, I should take her outside and let her wear herself out.

"You want to go play outside or something?" I asked.

"YES! LET'S GO SWIMMING!" She shrieked. She scrambled into her room and came back decked out in a swim suit and full-on snorkel gear. I expected a swimming pool in the backyard, but as she led me out back, gripping my pant leg in her tiny vice grip, all I saw was a vast expanse of yellow grass and a tiny inflatable kiddy pool sitting on a lawn. She grabbed a hose and filled the little pool up with ice cold water, and for the next 30 minutes I stood there as she splashed around screaming her head off.

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Sometime later, we were sitting in the den playing Pretty Pretty Princess (and I was kicking her ass at it). I got up to use the rest room, and as I was washing my hands (yes, ladies, I wash my hands) I heard a crash from the kitchen. I rushed out to find her in a dire situation.

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I helped her down, and promised to give her another popsicle if she promised to go to bed early (It was maybe 4 PM at this point). She agreed, and hopped into bed, sunlight still streaming in from the window. She demanded I tell her a bedtime story.

"Um, alright..." I began.

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Unfortunately, I quickly forgot my target audience, and my bedtime story veered off the tracks a bit.

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I don't think she slept after that.

Being the transitional 20-something guy I am, I periodically wonder if I want kids of my own someday. I lean toward yes, even though whenever somebody puts a baby in my arms, I freeze up like I'm holding a raw turkey stuffed full of dynamite.

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Mostly I fear that if I ever attempt to start a family, I'll end up cursed with octuplets or something, and I'm barely equipped to take care of myself. I think I could handle one or two quiet, well-behaved, self-sufficient kids, but with my luck, I'd wind up living some kind of TLC reality show nightmare.

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I suppose nobody is really ever prepared for parenthood, and I doubt I'd be an exception if and when the time comes to start my own little brood of demon spawn. I wonder if I'll be a good father. I have a sneaking suspicion I would be, despite my total lack of childcare skills. For starters, I don't know how to talk to kids. I literally can't imagine changing a diaper without vomiting all over the baby. At any rate, I hope I'll be a good dad. I suppose I'll find out when it happens, and hopefully my parental neglect won't lead my child to perish in some sort of drug-fueled Trainspotting-style disaster. Because fuck if I'm going to hallucinate dead babies crawling across my ceiling. No way, no how.