A gift horse in my mouth
The orthodontist peered into my mouth and poked at my retainer.
“Hmm,” he said. “This could use a bit of activation.”
“What's ‘activation,’ Doc?” I asked. “Some kind of term of art that orthodontists use?”
The orthodontist grinned at me (he had nice teeth). He plucked the retainer from my mouth and picked up a pair of stainless-steel needle-nosed pliers.
“It means your retainer can use some tightening.”
He tweaked the retainer's wire with his pliers and fit it back in my mouth.
I was breaking in a new retainer. My old one no longer fit because I had neglected to wear it after a couple of crowns installed by my dentist made it difficult to wear. The new retainer was supposed to coax my teeth back into better alignment, too, since they had drifted a bit during the retainerless years. Hence the periodic tightening. I mean, activation.
My colleagues at school were delighted with my newly discovered euphemism. Even the humor-impaired felt inspired to try their best:
“I like to get activated on Friday night.”
“I'm staying on my diet until my belt needs activation.”
“My students think I'm an activated grader.”
“I like babes in activated jeans.”
“Hey, if you're inhibited, will people say you have an activated ass?”
Hey yourself, guy. That last one didn't work at all. If you're not an orthodontist, beware of trying to use their lingo.