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Lamper, noun. “Someone who stays in one spot almost all day even if they are needed.” – Urban Dictionary

Long ago I had a desk job in a faceless corporation on the fifteenth floor of a glass skyscraper overlooking the Chicago river.  The performance of this job mostly required that I sit around waiting for the phone to ring at which point I would answer it and help someone work through an easily solvable problem with the internet connection that my faceless corporation had provided them with.

Sometimes the faceless corporation did something really stupid and caused mass outages and the phone would ring constantly for a few days but most of the time it was quiet and I would spend my time working on the iMac I had told them I needed in order to provide support for the approximately three customers we had who used Apple products but which I really used to format and print my music.  Or if I was musically sated I would spend my time exploring the internet which was actually fun in those days.

I had many favorite sites back then at the very dawn of the twenty-first century including the Spark which had really fun interactive content like the Death Test in which you answered a series of questions about your personal habits and it told you the exact day you would die. They also had the Jerk Test, the Slut Test, the Love Test, the Purity Test and too many more to remember.  I took them all and was paid to do it.

Sometimes I would be taking one of these tests whilst talking to a customer and instead of asking him if he was using a DHCP server I would get mixed up and ask how many people he dated last year.  Oops. My other go-to at the time was the Urban Dictionary which was dangerous because it so frequently made me laugh out loud which was strictly forbidden. Unless of course a customer said something funny in which case you were allowed to politely titter.

I forgot all about these early websites until recently when I was working on a new piece and struggling to get my initial idea.  For me at least I can’t just go ahead and write the music without a title because then I will enter into a mighty struggle to name the piece once it’s composed and my titles are guaranteed to be stupid. We’re talking things like Orbulisms, Back in a Nanosecond, or Contrasting Similarities.  It’s just better for everyone if I have the inspiration for the piece, title and all, before I even get started.

So for the first time in nearly twenty years I returned to the Urban Dictionary looking for amusing or otherwise interesting terms that might inspire music.  I was a bit disappointed because it’s now crowdsourced and seems to be largely people writing definitions for their own names. For example Catherine is “an amazing individual who beasts at everything.”  While this is certainly true for some Catherines, how can it be true for everyone in the world named Catherine?  It throws the validity of the dictionary as a whole into question if you ask me.

At any rate, there’s still quite a lot of good things there and I easily found the three I was looking for which include Toxic Grace, Nonomonon and Fade to Grey, all of which will be defined later in an attempt to keep you engaged, a trick they taught me when I was in radio lo so many weeks ago.  Writing music with a concept in mind is so much easier for me than writing absolute music and so the pieces came quickly and the crisis was solved.  Now I’m thinking I might write a piece inspired by the Death Test.  I just have to do it before February 15, 2054.

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