James Tierney is a proud member of the online group known as the Society for Barefoot Living and, needless to say, when you spend most of your life walking around shoeless, a snowstorm is not something to celebrate. Known as Barefoot James, Tierney was the subject of brief that appeared in the New York Times Magazine this past Sunday and confided that he's often accosted by people trying to scare him with "apocryphal tales of broken glass and bleeding feet."
The Barefoot Society, by the way, was created in 1994 and has 1,457 barefootin' members in 60 counties. Tierney is one of handful who represent Washington in the group, which believes life is better, happier and healthier sans shoes.
We caught up with Tierney, 54, the other day and asked about his barefoot existence. "Well, there's a real stereotype in this country about going barefoot," he began. "It's associated with being poor or being crazy. I think there's always been a negative attitude about it in America.
Married with three grown children, Tierney works as business manager, treasurer and sometimes usher at the Renton Civic Theatre.
"I could do most of the tasks I have to do barefoot, but they want me to wear shoes when I'm ushering," says Tierney.
After many years of walking with protection, Barefoot James notes that his soles are now as hard as "rhino horns."
But not too hard to be able to withstand snow. "No, I can't make it for more than a few minutes."