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The Slice: Sunny on the outside, but gloomy inside

I would not go so far as to call it a Spokane thing.

It probably happens everywhere.

But one does encounter a lot of grumpy guys in Hawaiian shirts here.

That has always cracked me up. I mean, aren’t Hawaiian shirts supposed to be symbols of laid-back mellowness and an easygoing vibe?

Sure. Yet it is not uncommon to cross paths with gentlemen thusly attired who seem mad at the world. Clerks, motorists, grocery shoppers, diners in restaurants, audience members – you name it.

At least that has been my experience.

What would explain this discordance?

Here are my theories.

• Dyspeptic people in all manner of apparel are drawn to my orbit. (Perhaps, but I sort of doubt it.)

• Those wearing Hawaiian shirts in the hopes of effecting a personality transplant are certain to be disappointed. (The shirt may say “Woo hoo!” but the guy inside is still the same bubbling kettle of resentments and hostility.)

• Forced frivolity winds up making some people snarl. (If the Hawaiian shirt is actually someone else’s idea, the host organism (wearer) can reject it or at least defiantly eschew the fruity-cocktail spirit it is supposed to abet.)

• Spokane likes to see itself as a flower-sniffing city populated by people who take life in stride. (But a case could be made that, because of a tradition of class resentment and statewide political irrelevance, it is actually one of the most uptight places in the West.)

• Some guys donning Hawaiian shirts are not in any way embracing a “Party on, Dude” mindset. (They are simply selecting a casual shirt.)

• Those who wear Hawaiian shirts every day are bound to get cranky every once in a while. (Though it seems as if it is almost always men – not women wearing these shirts – who get all grouchy.)

As always, your theories are welcome.

Slice answer: If your swimsuit could talk, what would it say?

Delilah Dixon said hers would say, “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

Warm-up question: When you were a kid, were you more scared of rabies or the prospect of old-style rabies shots?

Today’s Slice question: Where were you when “Jaws” came out in June of 1975?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email If “expo” was a verb, what would it mean?

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