Notes to My Clone

Syd Weedon, 1/16/03

First of all: if, in fact, you do exist, you were created without my permission or approval. Now you know how it feels to be human. My parents loved me well enough when I was a little kid, but I’m not so sure they were totally wild about my grown-up self. I was definitely an accident. I didn’t have anyone’s permission to come into the world.

I can’t imagine how you can be expected to survive without my dad to explain to you why you are so crazy. I don’t know how you will get through your days without my memories of my generally decent childhood in Texas.

I guess I should tell you some things about the stream of DNA from which you have been drawn. You come from a long line of soldiers, ministers, teachers, carpenters, farmers, ranchers, a few artists and poets, a couple of drunks, and at least one murderer. Your DNA served on both sides of the Civil War and the American Revolution. You got killed in both of these, along with World War II and Vietnam.

As far as I know, no kings or queens have come from us. We are generally the rebels, the tyrant busters, the voices crying in the wilderness. Sometimes we win; sometimes we lose. It hasn’t always been fun. You were a guard at Nuremberg, a school teacher who got killed in an Indian raid, a cop in Bryan, Texas, a guitar player in Louisville, Kentucky, a Marine medic at Iwo Jima, a carpenter that built Marie Antoinette’s guillotine, a Druid priest, a country preacher in the coal fields of Appalachia, a lady in England who managed to live her whole life without accomplishing anything, a Confederate cavalryman who was buried in an unmarked grave, and many more. It has often been painful, but seldom dull.

You are the product of a non-rational age. Our planet is desperately over-crowded so what did we do? We figured out another way to make more people! Makes perfect sense to me. We love ourselves way too much. We fear death because we don’t believe in anything but our damned machines. We’re good at science. Damn, we’re good. We can reach right in and tinker with the building blocks of life and make sheep, and frogs, and kittens, and now we’ve done it to ourselves. Of course, we don’t have clue about what we’re doing. We like to play God. If our wisdom matched our skill, we might get something done.

Who are you? Are you my child? My brother? Are you my father’s son? It’s a good thing Daddy is already dead, because I don’t think his old heart could stand having two of us to worry about. He always worried about me too much. You would have liked him, though. He had a quick smile and warm brown eyes, not like our cold blue orbs. I can tell you one thing you’re not: you’re not a spare parts kit for me. I don’t want to live forever. I don’t want to be here when the sun burns out. Eternal human life – oh, joy – the rest of eternity to get just more pissed off than I already am. That’s one place I can put your mind to rest. I won’t come hunting you for your liver or lungs. When my number is up, I’m out of here, and I will personally kill anyone who tries to get in the way.

You’re not my son. I have two sons. They came into the world the old fashioned way. I had sex with their mother and nine months later they were born. I held them in my arms when they were still covered with their mother’s blood, and crying with the shock of suddenly being dropped into this cold, bright world. That’s how someone gets to be my son. I’m done with that. There won’t be any more. Bringing those two kids into the world was the hardest thing to do that I’ve ever done. It almost destroyed me and their mother. I gave them each a piece of my soul. I don’t have the strength to do it again.

You’re not my brother. You didn’t begin in my mother’s womb and grow up with my family. You didn’t prowl those little Texas towns on bicycles, fish in the Navasota River, or run up and down the Kentucky hills in a ’67 Chevy with me. If you had been my brother, you would have had to fight me, and I would have had to win because I was first, biggest, fastest and toughest, and you would have grown up hating me just a bit because you’d know that you really couldn’t whip me. As it is, you don’t even know me. My brother would know me.

No, neither brother nor son, you’re the perfect logical contradiction. You’re me/not me – my body, perhaps my soul, but without my memories and my scars. Do you have my soul? Did enough of it cling to that single nucleus to give you what you need? I think it must have because I feel you somehow. Sometimes, when things are still, I can see you. You look lost.

You’re curious about me, aren’t you? You found that old notebook of mine and studied every word as if it were holy writ. Sorry, I meant to destroy all of that stuff. We do the same thing in our own psychotic way. We rush away from our past as if it were a burning building, and then when it’s all safely lost, we go back and pick up the charred fragments and try to piece together a story.

Did you get the four extra canine incisors? I hadn't told anybody about those. I bet it shocked the hell out of Dr. Frankenstein.  I had to have four of them pulled and I still have 32 teeth.  This phenomenon resulted in a number of annoying jokes about my turning back the hands of the evolutionary clock.

That little ache that sometimes appears late at night when you're too tired to be thinking about something else is probably the lady that I never was able to really get over. She was a lovely thing who took off on me when I was deeply into my craziness. I don't blame her a bit, but it hurt just the same.

You feel like you are an alien, a citizen of many worlds but at home in none. You think this is because you are a clone, but it is not. I am a citizen of many worlds. I have found no home, and that includes my own skin. When people ask me where I grew up, I say, “In a suitcase.” Adjust to it. It doesn’t go away.

Your mind has the capacity to hear its own music. It’s better than heroin.  A good guitar helps. I have always loved guitars, especially acoustics which are hand built with fine wood. You can put yourself into the most wonderful of trances – go anywhere you want to in your mind. I guess you have a mind, or do you only have a brain?

You can hear the sound of your nerves, the impulses, sensations and memories bouncing around the cabling in your head. Sometimes it makes you crazy. You can hear the poison in the concrete and buildings. You can hear the Earth breathing. You’ll wish you could turn it off but you can’t. You can only learn to live with it and pretend it isn’t there. God will take it away, but only when he takes everything else away with it.

You don’t have my scars, those accidents of history that mark me uniquely. There’s a nasty one on my upper lip that makes me look like a veteran of a bad fight but I actually got it as a little doodle when I was climbing on the bathroom sink to snoop in the medicine cabinet. I fell and cracked my mouth. There’s another one right over my heart that I got climbing a picket fence at the age of 6. I have a solid gold molar and a smallpox vaccination. There’s a long scar on my left shin where I went over a waterfall in the Rocky Mountains and hit a sharp rock at the bottom. There’s another on my left shoulder where I walked into a nail protruding from a stage set – drove the nail in way too deep. It still makes me a little queasy to think about it.  

You don’t have these marks on your hide, nor do you have the soul scars that came from moving around so much when I was a kid, from the long scary nights of asthma and the weird drugs they used to give kids in the early 60’s when they really didn’t know how to treat the disease, from being a stranger in a strange land, from graduating high school with a 1-A draft card in your pocket convinced that you wouldn’t live to see 21, from lost loves, from a million little humiliations and frustrations that were trivial but seemed huge at the time, from 50 years of rage.

You don’t have my victories either: the moments when everything came together when I walked on water and raised the dead. I don’t like to boast so you’ll have to figure these out yourself.

You may find yourself haunted by the ghosts of warriors. It is something in your genes. The world's battles will play in your head, even though you may wish it to stop. The war will become a metaphor, a glyph of your existence.  This does not mean a love of or a desire for war – far from it. If anything, it's a longing for peace that never comes.

2003 Syd Weedon.
All Rights Reserved