Boy, is my face red. I totally forgot to celebrate National Coming Out Day earlier this month.

But my employer is culpable, too.

If I worked for Summa Health System, I would not have overlooked it, because that company’s ever-vigilant Diversity Advisory Council sent a memo to all of Summa’s department heads.

“In October,” it read, “we would like to focus on National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Attached to this memo is an educational flyer. Please post it in your department and share this information with your employees.”

Embracing gender diversity is a good thing. I know lesbians, gays, bisexuals and even a person who transitioned from a woman to a man, and I sincerely hope all of them live long and fulfilling lives. But I’m not sure I want their employers urging them to break open their closet doors in the workplace if they’re not already eager to do so.

As the person who sent me a copy of the memo noted, “Lifestyles have never disrupted our work environment. We are here to work, not worry about one another’s lifestyles or question them.”

Of course, your favorite columnist wouldn’t fit in very well at Summa anyway. Judging by another interoffice memo, in fact, he would require a complete personality makeover.

One page of that memo lists 54 “Words That Demonstrate Caring.” Among those words: “No problem.”

On another page we find a list headed, “Eliminate These Phrases from Your Vocabulary.” Among those 38 entries: “No problem.”


Summa’s accompanying explanation of why “no problem” is a problem gets a lot more ink than its nonexistent explanation of why “no problem” demonstrates caring, so we shall quote from that section of the memo.

“The phrase ‘you’re welcome’ implies that the speaker was pleased for the opportunity to be of assistance. In this way, it’s a powerful language choice for a service environment such as health care.

“In contrast, ‘no problem’ does not carry with it the same quality of intentionally making the effort to connect back to the individual that [sic] said ‘thank you.’?”


Ever helpful

Last week, my favorite newspaper ran a cute front-page photo of a little girl and a dog. It was taken at a reunion of Akron Children’s Hospital workers and families who had benefitted from the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

The caption read as follows:

“Nine-month-old Anja King of Cuyahoga Falls (left) gets a kiss from Doggie Brigade member Hannah.”

I’m glad we were able to provide clarity for readers who are unable to differentiate between a child and a dog.

Lesser evil

Like all the rest of us, Peggy Weaver, who lives in the Portage Lakes area of Green, is fed-up with the omnipresent political advertising on her television set. Just how fed up is she?

“I’m so fed up that I would kill for a Fred Martin car commercial,” she says.

Now THAT is fed up!

More plate fun

Alert reader Matt Sunkin sent me a photo of a license plate he noticed on the back of a pickup truck the other day while waiting at a light at Copley Circle.

“With all of the benign plates that have been turned down,” he wrote, “how did this one make it through the Special Plates Review Committee?”

Excellent query. The plate reads: “TRUCKYA.”

Mascot game

There’s still plenty of time to enter the Northeast Ohio Medical University mascot contest.

That would be the contest to select a mascot for a school that doesn’t have even one athletic team.

Don’t ask.

Anyway, as I noted in an earlier column, nominations are being accepted at

Although I didn’t ask anyone to send me suggestions, a handful of readers did. The best came from Ray Freitas of Stow, who’s lobbying for “Andy the Apex Appendix.”

He figures that name would be highly appropriate, given the circumstances of both the organ and the mascot:

“Nobody knows why he’s there, but he has to come out every once in awhile.”

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or