Monday, February 2, 2009

Where’s My Mouthpiece?

"Where’s my mouthpiece?" isn’t exactly the most feminine phrase I’ve ever uttered but a real lady – who prefers to keep her smile intact – won’t fight without one.

A mouthpiece is required equipment in my kick boxing and submission grappling classes, but it seems kinda silly to require something so obviously necessary. Even if you have a decent dentist and a comprehensive dental plan, why would you put your chompers at risk? There are probably a few hard core pugilists who are willing to take it on the jaw sans protection. This is admirable in theory. In reality, missing teeth aren’t all that sexy.

I don’t know how this happened. I take care of my mouthpiece. I rinse it off after every use and clean it with Efferdent and Listerine. I carry it in a bright pink neon case. It’s easy to spot and hard to lose, or so I thought. The last time I had it was in my Saturday morning kick boxing class. When I went to pack my equipment bag on Monday the mouthpiece was missing.

I didn’t panic right away, assuming it had to be around "somewhere." After the second search through my gym bag, handbag, laundry basket, car and phone call to my martial arts school, I began to get a little teary. Could someone have stolen my mouthpiece? "Damn Al-Qaeda." One’s mouthpiece is as personal as underwear; neither should ever be shared, lent, nor acquired second hand. The idea of some freak with a dental fetish literally salivating over my mouthpiece is ever so slightly outside my comfort zone.

A sane person would say, "No big deal. Go to your Local Sports Shack and buy a new mouthpiece." Yes, but I do mixed martial arts for "fun." Clearly sanity is not one of my finer qualities.

Part of my angst is that a good mouthpiece is hard to find. It took me quite a few tries to get one that was comfortable; as much as wearing a piece of plastic in your mouth can be comfortable. I’m not looking forward to repeating the process.

The mouthpiece was also comfortable psychologically. With me from almost from the beginning of my training it’s like my security blanket; my mouth binky. It’s brought me this far and I had no immediate plans to replace it. I don’t even know how often it’s supposed to be replaced. I’m bad when it comes to stuff like that. I’ve got makeup that dates back a decade. I assume one day my eyeliner will just up and explode. Hopefully I won’t be wearing it at the time.

I’ve had the same mouthpiece now for more than two years. That’s probably way too long, but it’s disappearance is troubling. At best I wonder if this is some kind of ill omen. At worst I worry that any significant change in my routine will trigger a bout of Adult Onset OCD. (Try saying that three times fast.) And so I do what comes naturally in stressful situations. I go shopping.

The first replacement mouthpiece I bought was a disaster. I cut it, boiled it, shaped it and hated it. It wasn’t so much a mouthpiece as it was a full frontal jaw breaker. It felt like one of those hard plastic toys your Mom always told you not to put in your mouth, but of course you did, and earned an early visit from The Tooth Fairy.

I thought I’d step up my game and buy a double mouthpiece. "Ooh, ahh." The package promised more protection since it covered both top and bottom teeth. What it didn’t protect me from was the out of control saliva production. I slobbered worse than a Saint Bernard in a heat wave; and talking was completely out of the question. Whenever I tried to say something, I sounded like a cross between Jabba the Hut and President Bush. "Mission accomplished, Han Solo." [Visualize unattractive drooling here.]

After two trips and four tries I have finally found the perfect piece. I boiled it, fit it and love it; best of all: no excess slobber. I still miss my old mouthpiece in it’s pretty pink case. I hope it turns up. A girl can always use a spare mouthpiece. This is not the most feminine thought I’ve ever had, but a real lady likes to be prepared.

Thank you for reading The Urban Erma.

Please feel free to subscribe or visit again soon to find out about news, Leighann's TV appearances, live stand-up comedy shows or to join the mailing list.

No comments: