“Tell me Frank, why should I tolerate you?”- said Tipsy without any specific emotion.
Frank was absolutely up to the task of answering this question. He had rather a high opinion of himself, for which I suppose he could not be blamed. Like so many other things, it was a failing all too common in members of the human species who shared his gender.
“Because, my dearest- I amuse you,” he said. “And there are not many in the world who are equal to the task. In fact I would go to the extent of saying - that the chances of you ever meeting one of the men who could amuse you for life is vanishingly small.”
Tipsy, despite herself, was a trifle amused. She had to grant Frank that. There were not many who could amuse her for long. Frank wasn’t really bad - for a man, that is. They all have their failings - but some are better than others and you do want to keep a few of them around; even if just for the, what do they say these days, diversity.
“All right Frank, I will grant you that - you do amuse me at times and yes that isn’t a characteristic shared by any appreciable fraction of men. But saying that you are among the best of men isn’t saying much at all - is it?”
Frank wanted to stand up for those of his ilk. Those to whom nature had dealt a rather harsh blow. Those, for whom nature had removed a significant portion of perfectly reasonable emotions and generally infused pompousness.
What could men do? This was their biological plight and society had done them no favor - it had rewarded the most pompous; the most arrogant and the most abrasive. Nature and Nurture; when tired of debating each other; go out for a drink and conspire to fuck up the character of men. Men have no chance in this fight. They lose miserably and then go ahead and brag about it - such is the fate of men.
For such men, for himself Frank wanted to stand up. He wanted to make a statement. But he did not want to sound weak or apologetic - he wanted to prove that he was amazing even if it meant betraying half of humanity - those most like him.
“I agree, my dearest, other men do not set a very high bar but I love you and that should solve everything, ” said Frank desperately hoping that he would suddenly change the nature of the game.
“Frank, my dearest love, there is some merit to you argument but as I become more and more capable of amusing myself without necessarily involving any other human presence - I am faced with the question of your presence; and its pros and cons”
Frank felt gallant. “I can protect you against the bad people out there. There are a lot of bad people. Bad people do bad things. Bad is not good.” Frank’s vocabulary was suffering from a sudden squeeze.
Tipsy pondered for a moment. “Really! Frank. And what would the approximate gender of these “bad” people be?”
Frank did some mental calculations. Then, Frank did some sentimental calculations. Rounded off to at least 10 decimal places, the gender of the people he wanted to protect Tipsy from was male.
“But you can’t kill all the men.” said Frank, throwing all the men under the bus. “And therefore you need me around to protect you. From other men. That’s why men are useful. They can fight off other men” The argument sounded much more powerful in Frank’s head than when he said it out aloud. '
Tipsy wanted to move on from this topic- Frank did have some utility though she couldn’t quite put her finger to it.
Just then, motioned by the writer, the waiter arrived on the scene.
He addressed Tipsy. He knew that Frank's existence was largely ornamental and Tipsy made all the decisions though she sometimes let Frank have the mistaken belief that his preferences also mattered. Manipulating men was altogether too easy - a bit of reinforcing their strong belief that they were amazing.
“Dear Ma’am, would you be interested in messing up the signaling mechanism of your brain’s neural network by consuming some ethanol. I am told it helps ameliorate the effects of sitting in the company of an imbecile”- the waiter ventured.
Frank was offended. He told himself he would have punched the nose of this pompous ass if that wasn’t the surest way of ruining this night out with Tipsy.
Tipsy meanwhile, started looking at the drinks menu and ordered a few.
Frank started thinking of the meaning of life, whether machines could be conscious and how long would it take for the drinks to arrive. If he were granted a wish to have any of the three questions answer - undoubtedly he would have picked the third. The mystery of how long would it take for the drink to arrive had perturbed him for much of his life - but it wasn’t getting resolved today.