I have always believed that Yogi Berra’s amusing statements were not spontaneous errors. They were clever plays on word patiently withheld until it was appropriate. When he said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” he was just time-releasing a line held in reserve for maximum effect. And the effect was hilarious!
I once had a battalion commander who probably did the same, but we were never sure.
An event whose impact has already past evoked: “That is water under the dam.”
When asked just how he might be expected to predict an action, he somewhat reflected a Star Trek capability: “I can use the Viking Mind Mold.”
When enjoying a one-up on a fellow battalion commander: “The shoe is in the other court now!”
He told of a soldier who had died in his unit in Vietnam after being careless: “He bit the farm.”
His warning to me: “You are treading on thin air, Arthur!”
On the generous budget for Reforger 84: “The amount, Getlemen, (it was always Get-le-men, never Gentlemen) is gastronomical!”
Never did he betray such malaprops with a smile or gesture. I think the power of the statement came from our never being absolutely sure.