Sure, clones are cute when they’re small. But the rivalries. Oy.
Just some general notes on the care and feeding of clones.
1. They will always want to dress exactly the same. It’s a group identity thing. Try to get one to wear a different shirt or maybe some pants while the others are wearing shorts, and they all start screaming in this weirdly-synchronized, air-siren-like way, which is damn annoying. Since you’ll no doubt have tattooed the bottoms of their feet or the back of their neck or where ever with the usual identifying barcode, what do you care? Let the idiots all dress the same. The good news is that clones apparently have no fashion sense and will be happy to wear cheap T-Shirts and denim more or less on a constant basis. Wal-Mart fashions were made for clones.
2. Many of you will think that once you’ve created a clone, you can get it to do all your work for you while you lounge on the deck, drinking a frosty mug of brew. What is rather more likely to happen is that your clone will be just as lazy as you are and will tell you to mow your own damn lawn, and then grab the remote to watch Sports Center. Adding additional clones does not help the situation; what you end up with is a couch full of people who look just like you, mocking you about your work habits. You want someone to mow the lawn, hire a gardener.
3. Your clones will be under the impression that they are also married to your wife. You need to nip that shit in the bud, like, pronto.
4. Clones are naturally apprehensive about their purpose in life, so they are understandably somewhat humorless when you answer their "why am I here?" questions with answers like "why, to be harvested for organs, of course." Especially when that is, in fact, why they are here. Really, people. Don’t tell them. It just makes them jumpy and liable to come after you with handy tools.
5. Tangentially related: Evil clone? Never happens. Bitter, sarcastic clone? Every freakin’ time.
6. Clones eat like the proverbial horses. They will tell you that it’s due to shortened telomeres, or body fatigue from being forced to grow into an adult body or whatever. It’s all lies, despicable lies. Clones will go through a week’s worth of food in two days, and then you’ll just have a chunky version of yourself grazing in the pantry. Establish "you pay for what you eat" rules early and often or you will never hear the end of it.
7. If you have more than one clone, they will blame the other ones for whatever terrible things they did (i.e., "it wasn’t me who ate the last donut/vivisected the cat/tried to asphyxiate you while you slept — It was Clone Two!"). Early on you will be able to counter this through the fact that even though clones have the same DNA, they have different fingerprints, but then they get wise and start wearing gloves. They’re sneaky, you see. Simple solution: GPS chips embedded in the shoulder before you first wake them up, otherwise they’ll dig them out with a screwdriver or butter knife or something, and then aside from a having an unchipped clone on the loose and wreaking havoc, there’s all that blood you have to clean up. And no, the other clones won’t mop it up for you. See point number 2.
8. One good thing about clones: They are endlessly fascinated by the folks who come to the door wanting to talk to you about Jesus. Also telemarketers. Indulge them (it’s harmless enough) but under no circumstances let them near your credit card numbers.
9. Games of "Rock Paper Scissors" with a clone always end in a tie. At first it’s kind of cool. But then the clones just can’t let it go.
10. Eventually your clone will get the idea of cloning itself. You might think it’s a bad idea at first — everyone knows that a clone of clone is like a second generation photocopy, and it becomes slightly more smudged, and then next thing you know you’ve got a drooling idjit that looks like a mashup between you and the late Marty Feldman — but on the other hand, by the time your clone gets this idea, you’ll have realized that all your clone is good for is sitting on the couch and mocking you while it eats your food and tries to trick your wife into having sex with it. Doesn’t your clone deserve to be similarly afflicted? Sure it does. Be warned, however: Your clone’s clone will still want to sleep with your wife. They’re just that way.
(So, did I mention I’m editing a special edition of Subterranean Magazine in Spring 2006 with the theme of Science Fiction Cliches? I — and my elite cadre of clone assistants — are accepting submissions now! All the details are here.)