Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Another You

Imagine if a couple of crazy bio-engineers knocked on your door one morning and presented you with an almost identical clone of yourself. It looked like you, walked, talked and acted in the exact same way as you do; it had the same scars and wrinkles, the same weight and fitness levels, the same dreams and ambitions… the exact same potential…

The only difference, they said, between this new you and the older model you inhabit is that when the recent arrival set its mind on a task, whether great or small, it was able to apply tireless dedication to the job of completing that task.

Rather than sitting on the couch, eating comfort cream cakes because you broke your healthy-eating pledge within 12 hours, after succumbing to the understandable temptation of a milk chocolate Hob Nob, then decided you were a complete failure at everything and always had been, the driven you – having lapsed for an almost identical, tasty biscuit - would be out on a brisk walk, taking the opportunity not even to start again, but to continue, recognising that a biscuit does not herald personal Armageddon, and that a few extra minutes of stomping the streets will soon burn off the calorific content of the sneaky snack.

And while you’re glaring at the computer monitor - obsessed with levelling up your Norwegian Forest Cat character on World of Hello Kitty Craft - your facsimile is getting on with the creative projects that you could, without all the procrastination, have finished literally years ago. They’ve just written ‘The End’ on that first novel you’d given up pretending to yourself you’d ever finish, and it only took them weeks of disciplined work to get it done, at last.

Your clone decided to give up the bad habits you shared. It made the choice and just did it – no whining and no looking back. It breathes fresh air, eats mostly healthy, nutritious food, takes regular exercise. If it goes out on a social whirl, it drinks responsibly and arrives home conscious, able to make it out of bed with ease at dawn the next day, while you’re still groaning and kicking yourself at Sunset, nursing a hangover so severe that you become convinced that an Eastern European government agent must have spiked you with some cruel and agonising poison that was leading you through to a lingering, miserable death.

With the money it saved on cutting out all the unnecessary and impulse purchases (of diet drinks, chocolate bars, tobacco, wine, etc.) even its bank balance was looking healthy.

Without doubt, even though the two of you were on exactly the same footing, with the very same potential, before the experiment began, you can guarantee that ten years down the line (and barring the occurrence of an unfortunate accident or ailment), the clone is going to find itself in a much more comfortable position in life, compared to the apathetic, unmotivated, self-defeating Mark I who blew that same decade on hope and good intentions.

And ten years later, to the day, those mysterious men come back to check on their experiment. The clone has done so well, won awards and even become something of a minor celebrity, so the scientist can’t even take it back to the lab for the thorough autopsy they were so excited about performing.

You look at this other you and realise it doesn’t look like you any more. It looks like how you wished you looked. It has achieved things you wish you had achieved, been places you’d always hoped to go but never actually made it to…

And then the bio-wizards reveal the awful truth…

… that there was never any difference between you and your double. You were perfect copies and all along, you were always just as capable of invoking the same determination that would have allowed you, too, to live your life to the same fullness.

(P.S. If you've enjoyed this and have the will and ability to contribute to my ‘fighting fund’…  donations would be most welcome through PayPal, at ‘Lesism@btinternet.com’. Anything would be greatly appreciated!)


  1. Except you were human - and loveable. x

    1. best comment. should have been at the end of the article!

  2. Great post Les! So great to take a look at your life and realize the only real obstacle in the way of all the things you want is YOU. And thank goodness that's something we can change!

  3. Karen Jolly tiene razón, nosotros somos el principal obstáculo para realizar nuestros sueños.

    El paisaje de la fotografía es muy bonito.

  4. wow - thanks for the encouragement this morning - it was the inspiration I needed to become a more determined self.

  5. Good piece.

    In 1994 I came across a diary entry I wrote in 1984, in a diary I didn't keep for more than a month or so. It was a revelation. In the intervening decade I'd done a lot of things - moved from Manchester to London, changed career, done lots of different jobs, rising to management in all of them, made another complete career change and started in a different industry... Lots of other things too that I could look at and say to myself, truthfully, that I had succeeded with.

    BUT what I wrote in 1984 was what I wanted for myself - and it dawned on me as I read it that I felt exactly the same ten years later, as I had when I'd written the entry back then. I had the distinct understanding that I had let this last decade HAPPEN to me, that I had slept walked to where I was, and that if I didn't do something about it, suddenly, I'd wake up in another ten years and look back and think 'where the hell did that next decade go as well?'

    So that was nearly twenty years ago and I'm still walking away from being asleep back then.

  6. LOL. Yep. Got it. OKOK.
    Awesome post, Les!

  7. Beautiful. My "other" would be much less ADHD. Working on it. Love this!

  8. Mark, So many people reach the end of their lives and never have this realization. I hope you're able to challenge the inertia while remaining compassionate toward yourself. --Maybe it's the fiction writer in me, but I can imagine the clone story ending in some kind of weird double suicide--the clone being a reminder of all one is NOT. I guess this points to the need for self-compassion in these challenges.

  9. A lovely and at the same time bothersome story.
    Some truth in there for all of us. The same as the Michael Neill - Supercoach story of the guy who went to Heaven and found Heaven with everything that he could wish for and more. At the same time he was told not to go into one particular room. Despite the fact that he was in Heaven, temptation got the better of him and he went into that room. The angels were sad for him. 'Why are you sad for me?' said the man. Well, because those are all of the things that you could have had in your life, but you didn't think you deserved them or were worthy of them and for which you just never asked'.

    I've found being able to ask for help makes a big difference when/if we learn how to. Understanding that we achieve our best with the help and support of those around us, without being too embarrassed or too ashamed to ask for help.
    Errmmm just re-read what I've written, time to start asking!
    Best Wishes Les and Thank You for the reminder

  10. This is a great little read. Thankfully Im very motivated and do most things I want, but we can all a better us.

  11. Very insightful. We have the power inside us to do great things.

  12. How true. It's all in our minds.

  13. I'd kill it, dispose of the body surreptitiously, steal its identity and live the sweet life.

  14. Awesome read with so many interesting implications. I will be following you....Les Floyd!!!

  15. I deal with this challenge on an almost daily basis. There is a lazy, self-defeating "me," and an energetic, dream believing "me2." May the best woman win!

    Thanks for the inspiring post.

  16. I LOVE this little story! Would you be interested in contributing it to an Anthology (Fairy Tale Project) I am doing? For more info, go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1537636026518164/