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Todd Porter: This reminds us of the time when ... we laughed more

If you are still fortunate enough to be working, you’re probably doing it from home. And we all know working from home brings its advantages, the least of which is having a scale anywhere near a home-office.

Since the coronavirus pandemic changed our way of normal, I have been cooped up inside our downtown suite, 10 floors up overlooking downtown Canton with a straight shot to the mayor’s office and I could throw a rock and hit Judge Frank Forchione’s window at Common Pleas Court.

A couple of times, the judge reached out to see how we were holding up here and to make sure we were well. Forchione has a reputation for being the toughest judge on the bench in Stark County, but he also has a tender heart.

This started an exchange between us that ended with the kind of much-needed laugh we all deserve in the middle of the week. And I’ll share the judge’s one-liner in a minute.

But it got me to thinking ... what if I reached out to a handful of leaders around the community and checked in on them and then asked them this question: The “stay at home” orders reminds you of the time that ...

Now all of them were warned they likely wouldn’t top Judge Forchione’s answer.

Here is what some said being locked inside, working from home, reminds them of:

Randy Gonzalez, fiscal officer/economic development director for Jackson Township:

“This is like waiting to get your ankle bracelet off after months of house arrest. Or 30 days shy of getting your driver’s license when you were 16.”

Nate Moore, head football coach, Massillon:

″‘Groundhog Day,’ minus Bill Murray.”

Dennis Saunier, CEO and president of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce:

“It feels like I’ve been immersed into a movie trilogy of ‘Castaway,’ ‘Groundhog Day’ and ‘The Shining!’”

Kathy Catazaro-Perry, Massillon mayor:

“It reminds me of the summer going into junior high school and I was nervous, scared and excited all at the same time. Not knowing what it would be like and it seemed like it would never get here.”

Robb Hankins, president and CEO ArtsinStark:

“Reminds me of how much easier it is to be lazy at home vs. when I’m at the office. Discipline, maintain your discipline.”

Ralph Lee, chief human resource officer Kenan Advantage Group:

“Being in solitary confinement and being in witness protection program. That is how I feel. You can not talk to anyone and wearing these mask I feel like I am hiding from someone.”

Janet Creighton, Stark County commissioner:

“To quit sweating the small stuff.”

Tom Bernabei, Canton mayor:

“It’s like being in first love all over again 37 years ago with Bebe, when she wanted to spend every waking moment with me, and vice versa!”

And then there was the judge.

Forchione said he hasn’t felt this way since “like the sixth grade when I got grounded the whole summer for throwing an apple at Sister Ruth.”

And if you know Forchione’s aim with a ball, or apple, you know he missed.

“That upset my dad the most,” the judge said.

In each of our worlds, we need a little smile. The judge provided one this week.


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