Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Rocket Surgeons?

Tonight on the news, state Senator Stacey Campfield of Tennesee mixed his metaphors remarkably when he said, ‘We aren’t asking the kid to be a rocket surgeon, we are just asking . . . .” ┬áHe failed to make the choice between rocket scientists and brain surgeons quickly enough.┬áSenator Campfield was defending his bill to tie a family’s welfare payments to the grades its children make in school.

2 Responses to “Rocket Surgeons?”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I’ve heard this used in the past, in cases where it was clearly a self-deprecation, the user joking that he/she couldn’t handle either rocket science or brain surgery, and, what the heck, couldn’t tell the difference.

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    I’ve seen this as gamer slang in multi-player online games for about a decade. The phrase “rocket surgeon” also appears in Urban Dictionary as early as 2004, where the original use is credited to comedian Chris Rock. It’s credited to Steve Krug on the Way with Words site.

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