Friday, April 17, 2020

Jake is amphoteric

I don't know anything about science, but I know the the word "amphoteric." Back in the glory days of Big Hair, I worked for a hair care company. Perms are generally formulated with either an acid or alkaline base. Acid perms make loose curls and waves and are better for color-treated hair. Alkaline perms create tight curls and are recommended for thick or coarse hair. We created a buzz with an "amphoteric" perm, which could function as either an acid or alkaline and create loose curls on thick hair or tight curls on dyed hair.

I also know a little about COE and conventional trucks. I've written about a wide variety of topics over my looooong advertising career. But I'll save my knowledge of big rigs for another time.

Back to hair chemistry. Sort of. Whenever I deal with someone who changes quickly, adapting immediately to changes in the environment, I think, "Ah! He's amphoteric!"

Jake is amphoteric. He's the marketing director on my team. For years, he was the loyal lieutenant of Mr. Senior Vice President Ben. He was Ben's confidante, cheerleader and henchman. Yet when Ben ignominiously departed and was replaced by Meghan, he became totally Team Meghan. Ben who? It was chilling to witness.

So I was impressed -- okay, perhaps "weirded out" is more accurate -- when Jake called my cell for the first time ever in our professional relationship. He referred to my boss' retirement and Thursday's layoffs, and he wanted me "to feel supported." When I didn't pick up (I didn't recognize the number), he followed up with an email. I promptly thanked him for reaching out.

Calling me was a nice thing to do, and Jake is not nice. Clearly I must matter, or Jake wouldn't have bothered.

Photo credit: photostock at