Jackie Speier (D-CA) uttered this nice malaphor on the All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC (11/28/18). Here is the context: “and I have no doubt in my mind that we will at some point, when the Mueller investigation is over, be able to put all the dots in a row and draw a line through them.” This is a congruent conflation of “get your ducks in a row” (organize your affairs) and “connect the dots” (to understand something by piecing together bits of information). “Dots” and “ducks” sound alike and the idea of connecting dots is similar to a row. A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one.
Some nice malaphor advice. I believe this is a mash up of “think outside the box” (think freely without adherence to old rules or ideas) and “connect the dots” (to understand the relationship between different ideas and experiences). The words “box” and “dots” are the culprits, both sounding similar. Not sure where “step” comes into play, but perhaps the speaker had in mind “step in the right direction” or “step in line”, or maybe even “walk on the wild side”? I know the speaker is a Lou Reed fan, so that is a real possibility. As in all great malaphors, there is a bit of a mystery how the brain produces one. A shout out to Lisa Davies O’Donnell, the malaphoree, who heard her husband Tim, the malaphorer, say this one.