Hugo and the Bug
Jeff Shultz und JMG Studio
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Four-year-old Katie Katterheinrich (The Bug) lives in the small town of Lowerlipton, just south of Upperlipton, a thriving town known for producing lip balm and various analgesic ointments. Although folks from around Lowerlipton speak fondly of the Bug, they often tell me there's not a lot that goes on there from day to day. Coming from a small town myself, I can believe it. Although I wouldn't want to be accused of spreading rumors or just plain making things up when talking about their town, a girl who rides a tricycle with a gorilla in tow might seem a little far-fetched, but it is real. At least that's what I've been told. I remember being four years old and living in a place called Plattsville. The most excitement you'd have there would maybe be a chicken on the loose running down the road or the prospect of the creek overflowing during a heavy rain. I'm sure, that like most kids, I would have liked having a big ape to pal around with. Someone who's fun and goes along with pretty much anything you want to do. I can imagine swinging with him from tree to tree, or maybe in our case, from barn to barn. Or just having the big guy in my room at night to keep away whatever I imagine is out there. Today I live in an area that's larger than a town with a population of thirty. My wife and I have three kids, one coincidentally named Katie. When I'm not playing football or bouncing on our trampoline with them, I'm in my room upstairs drawing comic books. Sometimes when I tell a person that I draw cartoons, I feel like I should be hanging upside down and scratching myself. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that this is what I do for a living. I kind of expect to hear something like, "You make a living at that?" Or I may get a blank stare at first, then they'll say something like, "So, I hear your tomatoes are coming up nicely." So I usually just try to keep it to myself. There's probably some lesson to be learned in this. Maybe it's to just be yourself and don't worry so much about what others think (unless your considering running around through town wearing just your underwear and a big, goofy smile). And that's what I say to the people of Lowerlipton. Just be yourself. And if people want to make up stories about you, then let `em. And Katie, you just keep on being The Bug. From what I hear, you and your gorilla are really going to be something to write about someday. As for me, maybe I will go hang upside down and scratch.