Twenty years as a designer has taught me a myriad of lessons. As I become more reflective in my (ahem) old-ish age I realize more and more that I learned the only lesson I ever needed when I was nine. I won first place from the Oceanside Humane Society in their annual bumper sticker contest. I attended with my big brother to accept my prize. There were quite a few people, at least it seemed that way for a 4th grader. There were dogs of all shapes, sizes and colors. We meandered through the crowd to the area for the presentation of awards. I waited anxiously once the ceremony began, I could only think of two things. One, how much would they butcher our last name, and two, don't trip over anything as you walk to the podium. I triumphantly accepted my ribbon. I walked around beaming with pride. As the kids say today "I was feeling myself." My head was in the clouds. I began to think how my art could change the world. Just as my delusions of grandeur (ROTJ reference) began to overtake me - I felt something grab my hip. I looked down and saw a doberman pinscher latched on to my fleshy little hip. There were tears and apologies from the owner. Back then people weren't as litigious. We certainly didn't sue. My big brother picked me up and told me I'd be okay. I didn't realize that would be the bane of my existence. It doesn't matter how well your work/performance/art/design is received, there will always be haters to bite you on the as....hip. It didn't stop me then and it doesn't stop me now—bring on the dogs.