When discussing a problem that they had been trying to troubleshoot for a rather long time, the submitter’s coworker exclaimed “At this point we’re just shooting ourselves in the dark!” This is a mashup of “shooting yourself in the foot” (to damage or impede’s one’s own plans) and “a shot in the dark” (a guess or estimate). The words “shoot” and “shot” are the culprits here. As the submitter, Ian, says, “Perhaps a bit darker than either taking shots in the dark or shooting ourselves in the feet, but it certainly got her point across.” This one reminds me of one of my favorite malaphors posted on this site, “It’s a crap in the dark.” https://malaphors.com/2012/12/26/its-a-crap-in-the-dark/. Now that’s dark!
A big thanks to Ian for sharing this one.
This tortured malaphor was spoken by Tunch Ilkin on Steelers radio yesterday during the Steelers/Browns football game. Tunch is a wonderful commentator and ex-Steeler, and is known for his colorful language describing Steelers games. This time he seemed to have several thoughts buzzing through his head, as he wanted to say, that the Steelers had “shot themselves in the foot” (do something that causes problems for yourself), given that a seventh turnover had just been committed. Perhaps the shooting idea conjured up bullets and the phrase “dodge a bullet” (evaded something) or “took a bullet” (sacrificed), both meaning the opposite of what he wanted to say. The “threw” part of the phrase was the errant pass by the quarterback, resulting in an interception.
Sports media is a treasure trove of malaphors, many of which have been repeated on this website. A big thank you to my wife for hearing this gem on her way home from Costco!