“Paint yourself blue”

User: It’s a shame this answer was the accepted one, when it lacks detail, and doesn’t address any of the ways that such a request from a recruiter could be cause for concern (or how to mitigate the associated risks).

Author: Brevity is the soul of wit. If you want the best way to mitigate the associated risks, paint yourself blue, face magnetic north, and waive [sic] a phillips head screwdriver your resume before sending it out. That will work just as well as any other method.

I silently chuckled at the imagery this ritual evoked. In particular, I was struck by the phrase paint yourself blue as it sounded weirdly familiar to my ears. However in my search, I didn’t find anything that exactly matched, the closest were: paint yourself silly, which is the name of a popular store in Nebraska, and until blue in the face.

Is “paint yourself blue” meant to be read literally, i.e. physically paint your body and face in blue? Or does it mean “go wild/crazy”, “do something foolish/childish” without suffering any negative consequences.

Is it an eggcorn? “a word or phrase that sounds like and is mistakenly used in a seemingly logical or plausible way for another word or phrase either on its own or as part of a set expression.” as defined by Merriam-Webster. For example, sick sense instead of sixth sense and very close veins for varicose veins.

And if it’s not an eggcorn, can someone explain why "blue" seems the best choice? The colour blue is usually associated with the sky, the sea, or with feelings of sadness.


The phrase "paint yourself blue, face magnetic north" sounded familiar to me as well, and it’s because something similar was spoken by the character Austin James in the 1988 TV series Probe, specifically in the pilot episode.

When I was eight years old, I took off all my clothes and painted myself blue. Then I climbed up on the roof of a house, I placed both thumbs on the base of a lightning rod, and faced the electromagnetic north pole. Why? Why did I do that?

Perhaps the author of your quote was remembering and referencing the line by Austin James as an example of doing something absurd for no apparent reason.

Source : Link , Question Author : Mari-Lou A , Answer Author : Dan Jurgella

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