This was unintentionally uttered by Caroline Carleton. I think it is a triple congruent conflation of “pull yourself up by the boot straps”, “make something of your life”, and “pick yourself up”, all meaning to improve by one’s own efforts. This might be the first congruent conflation trifecta posted. “Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps” refers to pulling on high boots by means of the straps or loops attached to them at the top. Origin of the expression is early 1900s. A big thanks to Caroline Carleton for sharing this one.
Another from the sports world. Molly Shafer heard this one on her local sports cast referring to a Buffalo Bills injury – “Could it be serious? It could be, but he was able to pick himself up and scrape himself off.” This is a nice blend of “pick yourself up” and “dust yourself off”, both meaning to prepare yourself to continue doing something that you unexpectedly stopped doing. “Scrape someone or something off the pavement” may also be in the mix. Thanks for sharing Molly!