This is a wonderful malaphor involving the phrases “off- the- cuff” (speak spontaneously without rehearsal) and “shooting from the hip” (speaking frankly). Phil Jackson, in deciding to take over the New York Knicks, uttered this malaphor at the beginning of his acceptance speech. Click on the link below and then click on the video in the link.. He says, in the opening sentence, that “I’m shooting from the cuff.” Thanks to Martin Pietrucha for hearing this one and passing it on!
Phil Jackson shook hands with New York Knicks owner James Dolan, walked gingerly to the podium and comfortably lifted the microphones to fit his 6-foot-8 frame.
“I don’t have prepared remarks, as you can see,” Jackson said, practically bragging. “I’m shooting from the cuff.”
This is a congruent conflation of “off the top of my head” and “off the cuff”, both expressions meaning to speak without much thought or preparation. It is similar to the 9/16/12 post “he said it off the top of his cuff”. This malaphor came all the way from South Africa. An African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson during a radio interview, in avoiding difficult questions, responded with the opener: “Well, off the cuff of my head . . .” A shout out to Allan Muir for sending this one in!