I have a lot of plates up in the air

Heard on a conference call, this is a great congruent conflation of “a lot of balls in the air” and “a lot on my plate”, both meaning having a great deal or too much to deal with.  My guess is that the speaker was also thinking not only of ball juggling but also plate spinning, both common juggling acts.  Thanks to John Costello for hearing this one and passing it on!

When all the balls are in line

Christopher Dolan, the California lawyer who is representing the McMath family who has a brain dead daughter, said regarding litigation against the hospital,  “What we needed to know is that when all the balls are in line that we could move quickly and not have to then have any impediments.”  This is a mash up of “ducks in a row” and “fall in line”, both meaning to have things properly organized.  “Stars aligned” might also be in the mix as that phrase also means things happen in an organized way and also line rhymes with aligned.   Also “many balls in the air” might be at play since the speaker used the word balls and was referring to many things happening, although not at once.  Thanks to Ron Marks for sending this one in!


I have a lot of balls in the fire

Ouch!  This is a mix up of “irons in the fire” (a number of jobs or possibilities at the same time) and “balls in the air” (many things happening at once).   A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha for sending this one in.