Two guys were told that part of their pay would be made when their work was successfully delivered. They were told to consider it “the carrot at the end of the tunnel”. This is a nice mash up of “light at the end of the tunnel” (the end of a difficult period or job) and “carrot on a stick” (reward that is promised as an incentive to complete a task). This malaphor is probably caused by carrots and sticks having similar shapes. And maybe Bugs Bunny sitting in a tunnel pulling carrots underground? A big thanks to Bob Newstadt for hearing this one and passing it on. An additional shout out to his quick-witted friend Nax Paul Mendler for responding to the speaker with, “don’t you mean the light at the end of the stick?”
If you enjoyed this mixed idiom, you will love my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, now available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205.