W. Eugene Smith's loft telephone, circa early 1960s.  Photo by Sonia Katchian.

W. Eugene Smith's loft telephone, circa early 1960s. Photo by Sonia Katchian.

The photograph above, by Sonia Katchian, was published in the JLP book.  Long a mystery was the word “FLURB” on the bottom right of the phone, and “FRILD” (if that’s what it is) on bottom left.  For some reason I never thought to Google those words.  I did that today, after a Facebook exchange about the phone with Smith’s daughter, Shana Rasmus.  According to the Urban Dictionary the definition of “flurb” is this:

Noun. n. (Flerb) Any person, male or female, living or dead, that is either immensely disillusioned, or is so enamored with the concept of role play, that they will dress and make accessible to themselves all of the following; A) Clothing in excess of five pieces of garb, weighing more than a legal twenty five lbs., B) Stage make-up that completely hides their face and identity, C) Backgrounds and stories, preferably histories, about how their chosen alter-ego came into being, D) Weapons that have no practical application on any battlefield, anywhere, and E) Names that include any of the following: An animal, a color, a plant, a mineral, a creature of world mythology, names from cultures that never existed, names from cultures that existed a long time ago, or names from cultures yet to exist, example: Sir Archduke Grand General, Priest of the Lemonade Stand of Gruesome Demise, Mr. Artimestriastidonicles Storm-death-doom-wolf-shark-black-white-red-dragon-sword-thorn-silver-hallibut, the Fifth, Esquire.

That is just about perfect.

Still working on “frild” (or whatever).

-Sam Stephenson

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