The elderly man explained apologetically that he had lost track of his wife and was preoccupied searching for her. His new acquaintance said that by coincidence his wife had also wandered off and suggested that it might be more efficient if they jointly looked for the two women.
Agreeing, the older man asked his new companion what his wife looked like. “She’s a gorgeous blonde,” the fellow answered, “with a body that would cause a bishop to go through a stained glass window, and she’s wearing tight white shorts. How about yours?” The senior citizen wasted no words: “Forget her, we’ll look for yours.”
Jack was a long-time friend of mine and an excellent, but somewhat eccentric, businessman. For about ten minutes every year he would get the urge to sell his company. But those moods – perhaps brought on by a tiff with regulators or an unfavorable jury verdict – quickly vanished.
In the mid-1960s, I asked investment banker Charlie Heider, a mutual friend of mine and Jack’s, to alert me the next time Jack was “in heat.” When Charlie’s call came, I sped to meet Jack. We made a deal in a few minutes, with me waiving an audit, “due diligence” or anything else that would give Jack an opportunity to reconsider. We just shook hands, and that was that.
When we were due to close the purchase at Charlie’s office, Jack was late. Finally arriving, he explained that he had been driving around looking for a parking meter with some unexpired time. That was a magic moment for me. I knew then that Jack was going to be my kind of manager.