Monday, October 11, 2010

That's Mine! Yes, it's mine!

For a long time we’ve had this concept of a person duplicating himself. Often we see this on ads, a woman cleaning house divides into several copies of herself and the work gets down, of course that is to illustrate how much easier life would be with whatever product they’re selling. It’s an interesting concept because we wouldn’t mind letting someone else go to work so we can take time off, but it would never work.

Can you imagine if you could just divide yourself in two? You would run into problems right away. Which person would do what? If you’re a naturally bossy person, both of you would be telling each other what to do and neither of you would do anything. If you’re a natural follower, both of you would wait for the other to decide what should be down and neither of you would take charge of the lead. (On a side note, I think that is why God designed marriage the way he did.)

I’m somewhat fascinated with the concept of one person becoming two because both people would have equal ownership of everything that the one person previously owned. I own a house and a car. I can do what I please with it, but if I suddenly split in two there would be another man who had as much right to that house as me. One of us could go find another house, but neither of us would want to. We could share the house, but one of us would end up with the smaller bedroom. We’d have to flip a coin or something.

But what if the person who splits is married? Can you imagine a woman trying to decide which of her two husbands she’s going to keep and which she’s going to imagine to be his brother? It shouldn’t matter which she keeps, so she could flip a coin too, but it seems like a strange way of doing things. And I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy who loses in the coin flip. He was married to a woman he loved and who loved him, but then because of the luck of the draw he is out and his double is in.

Fortunately, that isn’t possible in real life, but it could make for an interesting story. It has plenty of conflict. Several science fiction writers have hinted at the concept when they bring in a character from an alternate reality, but there’s always something that designates one to be the person who is the real person and one to be the alternate. About the closest I’ve seen to what I’m talking about is when Commander Riker was duplicated with the transporter on Star Trek. But enough time had passed before they were brought together that one of the two had already established his claim to all the stuff and moved on. I’m not sure I’ll ever write a story like that, but it does seem like an interesting concept.