I love my husband's slightly intentional malapropisms. He is full of them:
- "If it were any closer it would bite you". This is what he says when witnessing my frantic search for the eyeglasses that are hiding on top of my head. As a child, my husband mistakenly learned this, instead of the saying, "If it were a dog, it would have bitten you." For years, he insisted his version was correct!
Thank goodness for the pointless-argument resolving properties of the Internet.
- "That's like six of one and a dozen of the other." For years, I thought he was being sarcastic when he said this. He's a mathematician for crying out loud! A few years ago, when I thought its casual irreverence particularly inappropriate, I called him to task.
He blinked at me, the picture of befuddled innocence. It then dawned on me that he had inaccurately encoded the idiom. (We'll be married 20 years next month; I should have known better. )
I carefully explained that the real idiom is "six of one and half a dozen of the other."
Looking at me with profound relief, he said, "That one never did make any sense to me."
- My personal favorite: "We'll burn that bridge when we get to it." This one conflates "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it." with "Don't burn your bridges."
The mangled idiom is sometimes more insightful and nuanced than the aphorism it replaces. I often prefer my own garbled and misunderstood song lyrics to the original, correct versions, when I learn of my mistakes.
After all, "Perception is in the eye of the beholder."