Justin called again today.
I let him talk a while - or rather, I let him read from what was obviously a script he’d prepared – until I became exasperated and started interrupting him every few sentences, asking him to elaborate on something he’d said/read. I was trying to get him to say something of his own instead of reading from his script and, to my surprise, he did. We ended up having something resembling a conversation.
It was during that conversation that I realized Justin is my friend.
I’ve been annoyed that he keeps calling me after I said I wished I had some intelligent conversation. The obvious implication was that I didn’t find his conversation intelligent. I hoped he would take the hint and stop calling me. Instead he suggested we have an intelligent conversation about artificial intelligence.
Computer science is supposedly his area of expertise – he claims to be working on the development of artificial intelligence – but when we began discussing artificial intelligence, it quickly became apparent to both of us that I knew more about it than he did.
This so-called discussion ended when he emailed me what he claimed was an article he’d written about artificial intelligence.
The article was written in a style so unlike the way he speaks that I became suspicious. What made me most suspicious was that it was written from an American’s viewpoint. It even began with the words “We Americans”.
I cut-and-pasted 'his' article from the email into an online search engine and within minutes found the article Justin had plagiarized. He had changed nothing, not even the “We Americans”.
Insulted that he thought I could be fooled so easily, I sent him an email bawling him out. I assumed I’d hear no more from him after that, but to my surprise and disgust he came crawling back like a whipped dog.
He doesn’t send me emails any more. Now he only telephones. I’m sure that’s to prevent me from cutting-and-pasting what he says into a search engine and finding the actual source of what he claims are his words, as I found the article he plagiarized.
He's gone to all this trouble – preparing scripts to read before telephoning me - because he doesn’t think anything he could say would interest me (unfortunately for both of us, he’s right), telephoning me when it’s inconvenient for him (after midnight in Bangalore) because it's convenient for me – because I expressed a desire for intelligent conversation. He's pathetic, but he really is my friend. I'm pathetic, because he's the only friend I have.