He’s teetering a fragile line

Ginger Gibson, Reuters Political Correspondent on the NPR show A1, was talking about Trump’s recent actions relative to the Roger Stone sentencing.  This is a mashup of “teetering on the edge” (to be very close to a dangerous situation)  and “walking a fine line” (in a dangerous situation where you could easily make a mistake).  Both idioms involve dangerous situations, and “line” and “edge” are closely related.  Not sure where “fragile” fits in, but “fine” has a similar meaning to “fragile”, to wit – fine means “having or requiring an intricate delicacy of touch” as in ‘delicate’, ‘fragile’, ‘frail’,” etc .”  Here’s where you can hear a recording: at 7:25. https://the1a.org/segments/the-news-roundup-domestic-2020-014-02/  

By the way, this is Ms. Gibson’s second malaphor.  See  https://malaphors.com/2018/05/18/the-buck-stops-at-the-top/.

A tip of the hat to David Barnes for hearing this one.

He’s tooting that horn all the way to the bank

This one comes from the Washington Post’s Daily 202  Connie Breeden, an attorney who is African American, said “This is going to be Biden’s last stand because he thinks that black people are going to support him just because of Barack Obama. He’s tooting that horn all the way to the bank. But people are savvier than that.”  This is a mashup of “tooting his own horn” (to boast or brag about one’s abilities) and “laughing all the way to the bank” (to profit from something that others regard as stupid or frivolous).  Here’s the link to the malaphor


Perhaps the speaker was thinking of thieves dressed as clowns robbing a bank.  That is certainly in several movies, including Quick Change.  A big thank you to Barry Eigen for spotting this one and sending it in.

You were out like a log

While I posted this one way back in 2012, it bears repeating as I think it is one of the purest congruent conflations out there, and a common one as well.  The speaker was talking about her lack of sleep the previous night but that her husband slept soundly, describing him as being out like a log.  This is a congruent conflation of “slept like a log” and “out like a light”, both referring to sound sleep.  There are a lot of the letter L in both expressions, contributing to the mix up.  A big thanks to Donna Calvert for sending this one in.  Glad to hear Bill is sleeping well in retirement.

He has his hands in a lot of pies

The contributor of this malaphor was also the speaker, and blurted out this beauty by accident.  It is almost a congruent conflation, as both “a hand in something” and “a finger in every pie” mean to have an interest in or involvement in a matter, but in the case of finger in every pie, it is involvment in everything.  “Fingers” and “hands” seem to be the culprit here, and I suspect, knowing the speaker, that his mind might have been on some pie-fighting scenes in a few 3 Stooges shorts.  A shout out to Martin Pietrucha for sending this one in!

All of the enchiladas were placed on the table

Discussing the unfairness of the Iowa Caucuses, former RNC Chairman, Michael Steele on MSNBC uttered this malaphor.  It is a mashup of “the whole enchilada” (everything) and “lay (one’s) cards on the table” (to be very candid about one’s position).  My guess is that the speaker was hungry.  A big thanks to Ron MacDonald for hearing this one and sending it in.

Congratulations Coach Reid! You finally got the hump off of your back

This malaphor was tweeted by former NFL player Brian Dawkins (safety for the Philadelphia Eagles):

CONGRATULATIONS COACH REID!! You finally got the hump off of your back. You have been a blessing to so many of us as a Coach yes, but also as a man. You’ve learned & given so much to so many… You Earned it!! LOVE YOU!!! #BigRed #SuperBowlChampion
This is a congruent conflation of “over the hump” and “monkey off (one’s) back”, both meaning to get over a persistent problem.  The speaker may have been thinking of a “hump back”, or perhaps a “hunchback”, but I don’t recall Coach Reid with one.  When I received this malaphor, I immediately thought of Igor (Marty Feldman) from the movie Young Frankenstein who deliberately swapped which side the hump on his back was located, saying, “What hump?”  A big thanks to Jim Kozlowski, loyal Eagles fan, for spotting this gem.

I have a job underneath the books

This was heard at an administrative hearing.  The speaker was talking about work that he was currently performing.  It is a congruent conflation of “off the books” and “under the table”, both meaning to do something in secret so that taxes won’t be paid.  Then again, maybe the speaker works in the basement of a library.  A follow up question hopefully was made.  A big thanks to John Costello for hearing this one.

If you liked this one, check out my book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available underneath on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205