Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neil Huntington on his pregame show was asked how he can juggle playing to win vs giving inexperienced players a chance to play. He answered, “You walk that balance.” This is a combo of “walk that fine (or thin) line” (balance two competing ideas or groups) and “balance (something) against (something else)”, meaning to compare two things, typically one positive and one negative. in order to make a decision). This is a subtle but excellent conflation, as the two ideas involve competing ideas. Also, the speaker may have been thinking of gym class, walking the balance beam in gymnastics class. A shout out to Bob Marchinetti for hearing this one.
The election is over, but the malaphors continue to flood in. This one was heard on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. Discussing Kelly Ayotte’s (R-NH) response to the question of Donald Trump being a role model, James Pindell of the Boston Globe uttered this gem. It is a congruent conflation of “walk a thin (fine) line” and “thread the needle”, both meaning to skillfully navigate through a tough dilemma. “Toe the line” might also be in the mix, with the speaker thinking toes do the walking. A big thanks to Sally Adler for hearing this one and sending it in!
This gem was overheard on MSNBC. Correspondent Katy Tur was commenting on the Republican National Committee (RNC) walking a tight rope with respect to Donald Trump, and ended by uttering this malaphor. It is a congruent conflation of “thread the needle” and “walk a fine line”, both meaning to strike a balance between conflicting or different forces. Perhaps she was thinking of threading a fishing line? A big thank you to Louis Mande for hearing this one and passing it along.