that which must not be named

Forgive me for being fuzzy on the details, but does anyone else remember the show Shazam! that used to be on when we were kids, on Saturday mornings on CBS? (After it was called Shazam! it became The Shazam/Isis Hour; that’s really when I became a dedicated viewer.)

If you never saw it, I can sum it up in one sentence: a normal teenager would look at himself in the mirror and say “Shazam!” and magically turn into– not Shazam, as one might think– but, according to Wikipedia, a character named Captain Marvel. And then he’d fight crime, or whatever.

This show really stuck with me, for its treatment of the power of language. Just one well-spoken word is enough to bring something great– or terrible– into existence.

If I knew that, why did I choose to end an essay on sleep deprivation I finished last week with this sendoff?

And to those smug mothers who swear their sleepy babies have not known a night waking since they came home from the hospital, I have two words for you: Coxsackie Disease. Oh, it’s coming. And payback can be a bitch.

Why, oh why, did I have to type those two terrible words? Not 72 hours later, Maddie started waking up at 5 am. Then 4 am. Then she stopped napping. And, yesterday, from the nurse practitioner, this verdict: “Oh, yup. I see the little blisters down there in her throat. Have you heard of Coxsackie Disease?”

Oh, ma’am, I am well acquainted. Let this be a lesson to you all. Some things are too evil to be named.