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If you’re happy and you know it dress alike

Before you venture too far into this week’s column, I feel it’s only fair to warn you that what you are about to read is so sickeningly cutesy-poo that if you have an aversion to sweets, this is guaranteed to make your teeth hurt or possibly make you puke.

I love my wife, and in 43 years I hope to have been married to her for 46 years. (No, that’s not the vomit-inducing part of the column, smartass.) But if my wife and I ever start to dress alike, someone please do me a favor and kill me.

I bring this up in light of a recent article from the Modesto Bee about Ray and Honey Smith of Ceres, Calif. The two retired 65-year-olds have been married for 46 years now, and for the last five years they have dressed alike every single day. They wear different underwear (at least I hope they do), but everything else — shoes, pants, shirts and hats — is exactly the same.

You may be wondering why on Earth any two people would want to do something so ridiculous. Well, according to Ray, “The reason is we wanted to let people know we’re happy.”

I imagine if I saw them, the word “happy” wouldn’t be the first thing that came to mind, but I tend to be a rather cynical fellow. I oftentimes assume people who aren’t dressed alike are mentally challenged, so it would just be in my nature to think something similar about the Smiths.

Kudos to both of them, though, for the happiness they’ve found with one another. Forgetting for a moment the whole dressing alike thing, it’s impressive enough that the former high school sweethearts are still together after getting married at the age of 19. I don’t know what the odds are of pulling off a feat like that, but I’ll wager that the Smiths are bucking the national trend.

Lest you think that equality is the key to their relationship, however, you should know that theirs sounds like any other marriage — by which I mean that Honey not only wears the pants in the family, she also picks them out, along with the shoes and shirts, for both of them each night.

“But sometimes I get to choose the color we wear,” said Ray, clinging pathetically to his last remaining shreds of individuality and dignity.

“No, he doesn’t,” said Honey, putting him firmly back in his place.

The couple has matching pajamas, matching watches, even matching fanny packs, and to choose from each day, they have over 100 matching Hawaiian shirts and a rainbow assortment of dozens of pairs of Crocs clogs. The one thing they don’t have is matching hair, though Honey graciously offered to shave hers off to match her bald husband’s before he told her it wouldn’t be necessary.

If all this sounds more like a sickness than just the doings of a happy couple, there might be some credence to that notion. There are definitely some things about the Smiths that seem a little obsessive-compulsive. For instance, they make a point of going to the Vintage Faire Mall in Ceres every Tuesday. Oh, and did I mention that

they dress alike every day of their lives?

If it is indeed a sickness — and I think it must be — it brings up a rather interesting sort of chicken-and-the-egg scenario. You see, much of the Smiths’ clothing, upon closer inspection, bears a familiar pair of mouse ears, and each month, the two of them pile into their trailer and spend a week at — you guessed it — Disneyland, the hap-hap-happiest place on Earth.

So the question is: Do the Smiths go to Disneyland so often because they’re crazy? Or did going to Disneyland so often drive them both insane?

Well, to be honest, the Smiths do seem to have a lot of life’s tougher questions figured out. They’re happy, they’ve been together nearly a half-century, and they have a loving family with three grown daughters and nine grandchildren. (One grandson reportedly tries to match his girlfriend’s clothes, which would make the sickness seem hereditary, but I’m willing to let that slide.)

Thus, I’m left to believe that the Smiths are good people corrupted by the insidious evil that is Disney. Is that really the case? I don’t know, but just to be on the safe side, I think I’ll be avoiding Orlando and Anaheim on my family vacations.

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Todd Hartley

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12 2008

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