A Walking Success Story

     BELLINGHAM, WA -- With her first purchase of Birkenstocks, Kathy Sheehan is now an official resident of the Pacific Northwest.
     After wearing black loafers, huaraches, sneakers, hiking boots and various dress shoes for her first year in this "city of subdued excitement," Sheehan purchased an authentic pair of Birkenstocks in late June 1995.
     "These ugly shoes are the official stomp ... er ... stamp of approval that I am now a Bellinghamster," a proud Sheehan said of her classic blue nubuck Birkenstocks.
     All her life, Sheehan, a native of Cambridge, Mass., has had difficulty finding shoes to fit her high insteps and unusually wide feet. Yet, she refused to purchase sensibly-fitting Birkenstocks in the past because of their unfashionable looks.
     "The funny thing is: I'm finding several of my closest friends in Philadelphia are now admitting to owning Birkenstocks. But they never wear them outside the house back East!" she said. "It's as if these shoes are some deep, dark secret that they've hidden for years."
     Sheehan bid on a free pair of Birkenstocks at a charity auction where The Haole Boys were playing. "I did it as a joke," she said. "I had sworn I wouldn't be caught dead in those ugly clod-hoppers. Then, no one beat my bid and I was stuck with a gift certificate to a shoe store in Seattle."
     Of course, they are the most comfortable pair of shoes she's ever owned and she now wears them everywhere.
     Sheehan notes the popularity of these cork-soled shoes in the Northwest is evidence of the Big Weather Lie. "These shoes can be fatally damaged if immersed in water. If it really rains here as much as people say it does, then how come everyone's shoes aren't ruined?"