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This is David Brittan’s clone writing. It’s part of our new job-sharing arrangement. On alternate weeks, I will squeeze into his clothes (we are the same size-he squeezes into them too) and take over his duties-mostly playing with a Slinky while staring at a blank computer screen with not a thought in his head. And David will do my job, which consists of putting on weight while wallowing in barnyard filth. Despite our common genetic makeup, David and I have traveled separate paths. He is a person. I am a pig. And I am about as well suited to the agricultural lifestyle as Eva Gabor on “Green Acres.”

This is David Brittan’s clone writing. It’s part of our new job-sharing arrangement. On alternate weeks, I will squeeze into his clothes (we are the same size-he squeezes into them too) and take over his duties-mostly playing with a Slinky while staring at a blank computer screen with not a thought in his head. And David will do my job, which consists of putting on weight while wallowing in barnyard filth. Despite our common genetic makeup, David and I have traveled separate paths. He is a person. I am a pig. And I am about as well suited to the agricultural lifestyle as Eva Gabor on “Green Acres.”

From my earliest days on the farm, I have always been seen as different. Other piglets would squeal derisively as I sat on my haunches in a corner of the sty, leafing through Jacqueline Susann, Hog Farmer’s Quarterly, whatever was lying around the compound. (A copy of Valley of the Dolls, long since returned to the bathroom reading pile up at the house, has a small cloven hoof-print on every page; I wonder if anyone notices.) Sometimes, when there was nothing else to read, I would contemplate the labels of empty feed bags. Synthetic lysine? Threonine? What is this stuff, and what is it doing in my swill? These are the Big Questions pondered by thinking pigs, of which I appear to be the only one. It is a sad commentary on the narrowness of the porcine worldview-or, as I’ve always wanted to say, Weltanschauung-that a pig who is not content with the daily routine of grunt, guzzle, and wallow should be regarded as “poetic” or “sensitive” and shunned accordingly. Pearls before swine, if you ask me.

Actually, I haven’t a clue what other pigs think about, or any other farm animal for that matter. Being a pig is not like Babe. It’s not like Charlotte’s Web. The vocabulary of my fellow swine is limited to snorts and squeals. Wise old sheep do not offer guidance or protection. Motherly spiders do not embroider words of encouragement in their webs; there’s nobody to call you “radiant” or “some pig.” When you’re a pig, especially a transgenic accident like me, you’re on your own.

True, his nibs drops by now and then, but I’m sure he visits more out of obligation than any real sense of kinship. David was the one who screwed up the cloning experiment in the first place. In spite of repeated warnings to wash his hands before giving blood, he just had to grab one more fistful of pork rinds. The contamination, shall we say, influenced the outcome. This strange commingling of DNA-the brain of a human, the body of some anonymous donor to the snack-food industry-makes me, strictly speaking, a “chimera,” not a clone. Had things gone right, that would have been me on the cover of Time rather than some woolly-brained ewe. But David has been a real pal and a decent enough provider. I will never forgive him.

Do I sound bitter? Blame my environment: the herds of incontinent lowlifes, the prodding and shoving by farmhands, the inadequate reading material. David Brittan Hominidae has never been known to complain about anything, nor has he ever had cause to complain. David Brittan Suidae is a big whiner, and with good reason: I am a Mozart kind of pig in a Billy Ray Cyrus kind of world. David tries to soothe me by letting me vent about goings-on in the news. But this only brings up more bile. What did I think about cloning sheep? he asked me recently. “Imagine that,” I snorted. “Sheep. Stripped of their individuality.” Well, then, what did I think about the debate over cloning humans? I told David I thought it proved a connection between genes and intelligence: when the subject is genes, people become blithering idiots. “But with all you’ve been through,” he said, “aren’t you glad the president banned human cloning?” I replied that I would feel better about it if the president’s policy were based on reason instead of on a private metaphysical muddle.

Clinton’s rationale, I reminded David, was that human life is “born of a miracle that reaches beyond laboratory science.” This beautiful sentiment contained four shaky propositions, which, lacking fingers, I enumerated on my feet: (1) sexual reproduction is a miracle, (2) reproduction through cloning is not a miracle, (3) protecting miracles is an appropriate role for government, and (4) the reproduction of other animals is not miraculous enough to require government protection. “I ought to know hogwash when I see it,” I said. “But then, he’s the Rhodes scholar. I’m just a pig.”

“You should write my next column,” David joked.

“I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that,” I replied. “Look, old fellow. There you are, strutting around on two legs, meeting important people, sipping coffee in your private office. While here I am, covered with dung, waiting to be turned into bacon. How about a little equity?”

Good sport that he is, David agreed to grant me some of the privileges of being human. He, in turn, would take over some of the responsibilities of being a pig. I gave David a crash course in the body English of swine. In exchange, he handed me everything he had ever written, instructing me to absorb his jaunty style. “This ought to kill 15 minutes,” I thought. I gave the thin sheaf of articles a careful read, and then ate them.

What I didn’t tell David was that the threat of becoming bacon-the guilt card that caused him to take pity on me-had recently been lifted. Apparently the idea of serving a Schubert-humming philosopher pig along-side eggs and home fries raised serious ethical and moral questions in the minds of my handlers. They have decided, as a matter of good taste, to let my genes diffuse among the swine population for a generation or two before they grace America’s table. No longer a meat pig, I have been reclassified as a breeding pig. Ho, hum, I can barely contain my excitement.

Was it very bad of me to conceal this change of job description from David? We’ll find out when he returns from his first week as a pig. My heavens, here he is now. Smells bad. Looks mad. Gotta go. Ubba-the, ubba-the, ubba-that’s all, folks.

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