Those of you with long memories will remember waaaay back in February of 2006 my dentist told me I need a "splint." I received it yesterday, and apparently in the intervening two years and seven months the terminology has changed to call splints "night guards."
I like the name Night Guard. It's a good super hero name. Imagine some thieves on the Portland docks, stealing boxes out of a warehouse. They stick to the shadows and work fast. A small noise catches their attention. They turn, pulling out their weapons to discover... NIGHT GUARD!
"Stay back!" they shout. But they did not anticipate Night Guard's ability to, uhhhh -- they didn't anticipate his power to, um. He has the power to keep his own teeth from grinding, especially at night.
"Beeware eefull dooers," Night Guard says, doing his best to enunciate. "Eye em... Nite Gardh!"
The thieves hesitate, their guns drooping like spring flowers in an unexpected frost.
"Now yuu must feer meye proestheteec toof!" Night Guard cries, opening his mouth wide.
The thieves run away and tell everyone that there is a new super hero in town. They aren't sure of his name, but he had one giant prosthetic tooth, so he becomes known in the criminal underground as... CYDENT! Like CYCLOPS but with one tooth instead of one eye! The Very Unpredictability of his unclear words stikes fear into that superstitious lot of criminals.
Meanwhile, restless because of his new prosthesis, Night Guard wakes from sleep thinking that he's suffocating. Other times he awakes, his mouth dry from sleeping with his mouth open. He gets out of bed, exhausted and short tempered. He begins to wonder if he shouldn't become a super villain. They are allowed to be irritable and difficult. And imagine the terror he could bring upon people. He stares out the window, brooding with the morbid tenacity of a chicken. A world of unlimited possibilities and unblocked vistas spreads before him, his choices infinite, his great power weighing on him like wet clothes, like bricks, like responsibility. "Eye muff mayke dis choyce weyslee," he says. The sun rises over the city, as if a challenge, as if in answer, as if an inscrutable parable sent by God. He takes out his night guard and gets ready for the day.