My dream has always been to get a ventriloquist dummy that looks exactly like me. I would call this dummy Little Jen and we would travel the world together, dispensing our own brand of folksy wisdom and performing card tricks.
None of my friends have ever encouraged this dream. In fact, most characterized my fantasy as 'creepy.' So you can imagine what my friends thought when I set up a laboratory in my home and attempted to clone myself.
Only my mother championed my cloning efforts. 'I just hope I'm alive to witness you going through the hell of trying to potty train yourself,' she said with a snort. (Let's just say that learning to use the potty did not come easily to me and leave it at that. It's important to note, though, that I'm fully trained now and only have the occasional accident when I feel threatened or am forced to listen to Celine Dion.)
Cloning, however, proved to be a bit trickier than I had anticipated. It involves more than mixing a few toenail clippings and saliva in a petri dish and sticking it under a pot-growing light. Over the course of several years, I crammed various bits of my body into test tubes filled with a variety of mixers and garnishes, but had little success.
The closest I came to reproducing myself was when a couple of my eyelashes fell into a vodka-tonic at a cocktail party. The next morning I woke to find a tiny creature with a lot of hair climbing out of the glass. I was thrilled, but noticed immediately that something wasn't quite right. For instance, it spoke in a very thick Eastern European accent and had a strange compulsion for polishing my silver. After all, this was supposed to be my clone and, believe me, no clone of mine would ever polish silver.
The little creature's obsessive dusting made me nervous, but I must admit, the house never looked better. So I let it hang around, even though it rang up enormous phone bills talking to some mysterious characters in Budapest and ate every maraschino cherry in the house. I finally had to insist that it leave, though, after I came home to find it sipping a bottle of rubbing alcohol through a straw and saying really hurtful things to my dog.
Many of my friends have asked me why I have made such extraordinary efforts to duplicate myself in both wooden and human form. Typically, the conversation goes like this:
Friend: 'What the hell is wrong with you?'
Me: 'Absolutely nothing! Who else possesses such a rare combination of devilish good looks and raw animal charm? I'd be doing the world a favor by making plenty more of me.'
It seems, though, that I'm the only person in the world who holds such a high opinion of myself. Last week, for example, I confided my cloning hopes to a potential love interest. She smiled politely and then stood up and carefully backed out of the restaurant.
So, it's back to the laboratory. Obviously the only person who will ever appreciate me is another me.