Close your eyes. (In your mind. Keep your eyes open to read this article, unless you know some other way.) Consider this:
Got that? Open your brain-eyes. My question is...
Do you fuck or fight yourself?
Now, that might seem like a false dichotomy, but I promise you it isn't. Further, I'm not trying to force the fight-or-fuck response simply because it happens to be the way I personally handle absolutely ever social situation, that's just a coincidence. And, to be clear, Fighting or Fucking aren't the most intriguing possibilities, they're the only possibilities, and I need you to understand that before we can get into the pros and cons of each.
Understanding The Fight-or-Fuck Response
When I bring this hypothetical up with people, I'm consistently shocked when some say they would just "talk" to themselves. If you're curious what you sound like, buy a tape recorder. If you're hoping to have a genuinely stimulating conversation, why have it with yourself? What value can be found conversing with someone who knows no more than you and can offer no fresh perspective on things you do know? There is nothing to be learned from someone who thinks exactly like you, you'd spend an hour just bullshitting and agreeing with yourself. Two people in a room with identical ideas who sit around confirming each other's opinions and beliefs is basically a circle jerk anyway, so why not go all out? [See: Clone-Fucking and You]
You may agree, but you may still think you don't need to do something as drastic as fighting or porking, but I don't think you're really seeing the big picture. The bottom line is no one else in the world will ever have this opportunity, and it is impossible to recreate the experience. It's just you who has been given this chance. You have an hour in a locked room with a clone of yourself. One hour and that clone disappears. Gone. If you're the only person in history with the opportunity to do whatever you want with a clone for an hour with no consequences, do you really want to waste it having a conversation that is inherently designed to go nowhere? That would be pointless, it's out of the question.
When we agree that "chatting" is taken off the table, we see that there's very little else left to do. There's nothing in the room to play with or watch or read. You can't go out and play pranks on people, you're locked in. As I see it, you only have two options if you want this experience to matter at all...
Clone-Fucking And You
For some people, brake lights are immediately thrown on at the prospect of having sex with a clone, simply because the clone is of the same sex.1 That's an understandable knee-jerk reaction, but I wouldn't say it's the full story. I'm going to ask you, as I do at the beginning of every column, to think about masturbating. You masturbate with your own hand or foot (if you're flexible) or tail (if you're a mutant). If the clone is you, then it is, theoretically, a physical manifestation of masturbation. This is just you and you, working towards your pleasure.
And here's something you should know about your clone up front. It has all of your memories, up to and including your decision to clone yourself for the purpose of fucking yourself. By making this decision, you're basically creating an inner contract with your clone going into the experiment. Your clone knows it has an hour left, and it knows why you cloned it and, hey, it's cool with it. It will have gone in with an internal resolve to let you do this because it is you, and is taking one for the team so you can experience something nobody else in the world will have ever experienced. That is one noble cause and, in fact, you should all follow this clone's example. Right now, make a deal with yourself. Agree with yourself to let yourself have sex with yourself, if you ever clone you.
Which reminds me: Clone-boning should, theoretically, be the most pleasurable experience you will ever have. Because this clone is working for you, and who knows you better than you? You know all of your complex turn-ons2, your favorite spots3 and your ideal sexual execution, ("sexecution"). Every weird thing you've ever been too ashamed to admit to another person, it's all fair game in the temporary clone brothel. Nothing is off limits. Two Yous, with an expertly-detailed map of your sexual preferences and nothing on their minds except pleasure for You, locked in a room for an hour.
It can be also be learning experience for all of you shy, awkward folks out there. Are you a good kisser? Is what you think of as "gentle caressing" more like "clumsy pawing"? Some people have a trusting enough relationship with their partners that they can ask these questions openly, and some people are just naturally gifted (Booyah). But you? This is how you find out.
The hang up that a lot of people have here is this: "Yes, my clone would theoretically know all of my turn-ons, but you know what probably my biggest turn on is? Women, and that's something the clone just can't provide."
This is true, but shouldn't put the veto on the whole clone-boning outright, because it overlooks the big, sweeping PRO in the clone-fucking camp.
Namely, the point is that, Hey, this clone disappears in an hour. You will never, and I repeat, never have the chance to full-on fuck yourself again. The experience, whether ultimately good or bad, is still an experience that you can only have this on time. And, as I said before, remember that you're the only one. The only one in history who could potentially know what it feels like to fuck yourself. Only one person in the entire world, in the whole spectrum of time can have this exact experience, that person is you. And you're going to pass? When I visited South Africa to find myself spiritually and lay low from some cops for a while, I made sure I sampled all of the local cuisine, no matter how smelly or clearly-made-out-of-monkey-brains some of it was because, shit, when would I be back to South Africa? Might as well slurp those brains while the chance presents itself, right? You probably regret certain actions you didn't take, trips you didn't go on, crushes you never talked to; do you really need another regret?
Because on your death bed, you will regret the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you passed up. Count on it.
Go ahead and get your clone-bone on!
But, while you're doing that, I did want to run one more thing by you. It's true that the clone is an exact replica of you and, theoretically, an extension of you (which is what makes the masturbation angle sound), however, you're not sharing a mind or, to be slightly more abstract, a soul, with your clone, not in the present, anyway. So, while he was at one point a perfect copy of you, the instant he came into existence, he started developing his own memories, separate from yours. By virtue of the very fact that he knows he's a clone should tell you that you're already different people. He's in the room with you experiencing life in a completely different way, interpreting the surroundings in a way that's specific to him. After even a few seconds of being alive, he's no longer your clone, he's got his own memories and experiences and opinions and everything else that informs someone's unique personality. He looks exactly like you, yes, and shares all of your previous memories, but he's not you, not anymore. He's just some guy.
And you're fucking him.
Clone-Fighting and You
I like the New York Giants. Sometimes they lose. (Off the top of my head, like the last four consecutive games, for example.) However, even when they do lose (four straight games, Manning), I'm often happy if the game is close, or if it's a good match up. If the game's compelling to watch. Sure, it'd be great if the Giants won every game (or even if they just beat the goddamned Eagles), but as long as it's an exciting and entertaining game, I can consider it worth my time.
To put it in boxing terms, I don't want to watch Tyson mow down opponents a quarter of the way into the first round. Or, to put it in late 90s World Championship Wrestling terms, I'd rather watch Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit grapple and wristlock for 85 minutes than Goldberg spear through the competition in 13 seconds.
I'm a person who likes close, even matches, is my point.
Now, there is no closer, more evenly matched fight imaginable than the one you fight against yourself. No one knows your intricate fighting style4 better than you; no one knows your weaknesses5 better than you; and no one is as intimately familiar with all of the shitty things you've done in your life --anything that might warrant a punch in the mouth-- as you are. And I'm a competitive guy as, I imagine, my clone would be, so this would just be a high-octane, non-stop, hate-fueled-thrill-ride of knuckles and cursewords that rocks all hour long. This would be the best fight ever. We might spend the entire time expertly blocking each other's moves like a couple of well-trained ninjas, or maybe we'll spend it alternating between groin kicks and recovering (from groin kicks), like a couple of really bad ninjas. I don't have to worry about the cops being called, or his friends showing up; we're just a couple of Daniels, doing some fucking deathmatching. And, at the end of the hour, I ultimately win, because he disappears. (Also because I'm so much stronger.)
Also, like clone-fucking, clone-fighting is a terrific learning experience, if you want to improve as a fighter. You'll spot all of your flaws and the weaknesses in your attacks and you'll learn what to avoid in future fights.
Further, the clone-version of you is basically a crash-test dummy. All of the anger that you bottle up inside --whether the anger is directed at you or the government or your Editor or whomever-- all of that anger is just boiling inside you, and you can't let it out day-to-day because man is a socialized animal. Well, here's your chance. Work out all of your aggressions, the door's open. No consequences, let loose and resort to common, street-rat savagery, guilt -free. It's been a while since I ignored Philosophy, but I'm almost positive there's nothing morally, ethically or legally wrong with murdering your clone that's going to be dead in an hour anyway. So, really, you know. Go to town. This could be the most well-fought and satisfying moment of your entire life. Plus, I think that motherfucker just looked at you funny. What are you waiting for, take him down!
Of course, while you're fighting him, I would like to call one quick thing to your attention. He's a clone and is in as good physical condition as you are, so you're a match there. But here's the glaring problem: He knows he's a clone. He knows it's only a matter of time until he disappears. You know how action movies make a big deal out of the tough hero "with nothing to lose"? That's your clone. He's the guy with nothing to lose. He's you, but with no strings, no concern for the future, and with a death sentence dangling right above his head. He's you at maximum capacity, accessing the kind of emergency reserve strength and speed that makes itself visible when the adrenaline that only accompanies desperation kicks in. He's you at your most brutal, thoughtless and primal.
Can you take that guy? Subquestion: Wouldn't it be easier just to fuck him?Conclusion
The conclusion isn't mine to write, it's yours. What do you do? In all of my studies with this hypothetical, women are overwhelmingly more likely to have sex with their clone than men are, a statistic that is as interesting as it is totally fucking hot. I'd be curious to see if that holds true with our audience, or if I just happen to surround myself with the coolest women on the planet.
So how about it? You're locked in a room with your clone, who, if he's anything like my clone, is smirking like an asshole.
Do you fuck or fight yourself?
_________________ 1Interesting sidebar: Whenever I bring this hypothetical up in real life, if someone's on the fence, their deciding factor is always wrapped up in the same-sex aspect of the situation. In fact, the people who wouldn't have sex with a clone almost invariably WOULD if the clone was, somehow, the opposite sex. Exactly like you, but the opposite gender. No one, without exception, gives any pause to the fact that they're fucking an exact replica of themselves, the whole freak-of-nature aspect never registers as a possible concern.2Having sex with a breathing human.3The genitals.4Punching, not getting punched.5The genitals.
I'll be taking next Friday's column off but, instead of leaving you with nothing, I'm thrilled to announce that Soren Bowie, (Agents of Cracked's own "T-Bone!") will be filling in for me. He's terrific, and I trust you'll treat him with the same total-absence-of-respect with which you treat me.