Saturday, June 05, 2010

Attack of the Clones

In Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go," which is set in an alternate-reality England, a group of boarding-school youths discover they were cloned to provide organ transplants. The clones are kept separate from the people they were copied from, and though they're allowed to experience life and love, they eventually have to accept that they only exist to be replacement parts for people they'll never meet.

I feel like a strange version of this is unfolding in Elliot's toy chest.

It all started when Elliot became very attached to two things: his duck-headed security blanket ("Yaya") and his Antelope doll. He can't go to sleep without them and frequently carries them around the house. He's had both since he was born.

It became apparent early on that even though Elliot cherished Yaya and Antelope, his constant mawing of them would destroy them in short order. Elliot spends most of the night with Yaya jammed in his mouth and the amount of saliva he produces is shockingly large based on his body size.

So Kelly went out and found two additional Yayas and another Antelope.

I understand the practicality of it, but something about this seems viscerally wrong. I had a cherished security blanket when I was Elliot's age (my "Dodo"), and I was very sad when it was gone. But no one went out and secretly procured exact duplicates.

To prevent Elliot from being confused by the clones, I tried to make sure he never saw more than one Yaya or Antelope at the same time. But since we're constantly having to wash at least one of them, it's hard to keep track of where they are. Then I became concerned he would see them in different rooms and assume that teleportation was possible.

In any event, Elliot discovered the duplicates and is now starting to insist that he sleep with more than one at a time. If he suddenly needs all three Yayas, does this mean we need to buy six or nine to ensure that he never has to suffer when they "die"? What kind of horrible arms race have we gotten into?

Future parents, please learn from our mistakes.