We’ll be walking a tightrope around coronavirus for some time

Paul Jackson, global head of asset allocation research at Invesco, was discussing investing amid the coronavirus crisis.  “We’ll be walking a tightrope around coronavirus for some time.”  This is a mashup of “walking a tightrope” (being extremely careful and precise) and “tiptoeing around” (avoiding confrontation).  Here is the link:  https://www.cnbc.com/video/2020/05/11/well-be-walking-tightrope-around-coronavirus-for-some-time-investor.html

A tip of the toque to Barry Eigen for spotting this one in the news wilds.  And yes, Barry, I found a circular tightrope (sorta).

Calm your jets

This was uttered by a driver who was being tailgated.  It is a congruent conflation of “calm down” and “cool your jets”, both meaning to tell someone to relax or be less intense.  In researching this one, I found out that “calm your tits” is another expression meaning to relax or be less intense, so perhaps the speaker was thinking of this one as well.  Anyone know if that is an American or British expression?  A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha who said this one and realized he had malaphored.

You’re picking hairs

A father and daughter got into an argument about their calico cat, and whether her markings were splotches or patches.  The daughter said her Dad was being trivial, and then uttered this malaphor.  It is a congruent conflation of “splitting hairs” and “nitpicking” or “picking (something) apart”, all meaning to make small or overfine distinctions.  Hope no one has trichotillomania. A shout out to a familiar name on this website, John Kooser (aka “the Dad”) for sending this one in.

The chips are starting to crumble

This beauty was tweeted by Eric Trump a few days ago.  Here is the link to the tweet and malaphor responses:


It is a mashup of “when the chips are down” (when a situation has become difficult) and “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” (accepting the way things happen even if it’s not what you wanted).  “let the chips fall as they may” (let a situation unfloed without worrying about the consequences) is probably also in the mix.  It’s possible Eric was staring at the end of a bag of potato chips when he tweeted this, where all that’s left is the crumbles.  Of course the best method to dispose of them is to tilt the bag to your mouth as the picture suggests (tip of the day!). Either that or Eric’s digits must have been greasy when typing that tweet.  A big thanks to Dave Wells and Lou Pugliese who sent this one it at the same time.

Getting right up my goat

My recent post “Is Papi pulling your goat?” (https://malaphors.com/2020/04/27/is-papi-pulling-your-goat/) prompted malaphor follower Claire to write: “I always use the phrase ‘getting right up my goat’ which I think might be a malaphor.”  Yes, Claire, this is a congruent conflation of  “get (one’s) goat” and “be up (one’s) ass”, both meaning to irritate of annoy someone.  This mixed idiom is an improvement over the other two, I think.  Might also be a new yoga expression.  A big thanks to Claire for sharing this one.


Plenty of hurdles to climb

This malaphor was found in the The Boston Globe (below), announcing this year’s NFL schedule and discussing the New England Patriots’ challenges.  It is a mashup of “mountains to climb” (difficult challenges) and “clearing a hurdle” (overcoming an obstacle).  For some reason,  the phrase “clearing a hurdle” gets mixed up with other idioms a lot.  I have posted many on this website, including “And I’ve only jumped through the first one of these hurdles”, “we’ve jumped over the last hoop”, and one of my all time favorites, “we have so many hurdles to cross”.  https://malaphors.com/2014/04/25/and-ive-only-jumped-through-the-first-one-of-these-hurdles/  https://malaphors.com/2014/02/15/we-have-so-many-hurdles-to-cross/  https://malaphors.com/2018/01/23/weve-jumped-over-the-last-hoop/
Perhaps the writer was thinking of the great Jimmy Cliff song “Many Rivers to Cross” when he wrote this.  A big thanks to John Costello for spotting this one and sending it in.  here’s the link:

Patriots’ 2020 schedule released: Open vs. Dolphins at home; back-to-back games in Los Angeles in December

With multiple trips to the west coast and one big one to visit the defending Super Bowl champions, the Patriots have plenty of hurdles to climb this season.

Every one of us has a ticking time bomb on our head

Speaking on NPR’s Marketplace, Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers, said this one when she was referring to the difficulties being experienced by small businessess during the pandemic and associated business shutdowns.  It is a mashup of “price on our head” (an amount of money offered as a reward for one’s capture) and “sitting on a ticking time bomb” (a situation that will eventually become dangerous if not addressed).  Maybe the speaker was thinking about the Erie pizza bomber?  Not sure, but a big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one!