Misdescription of Incompetence

Colleague describing a lawyer he does not respect, whose self-image is significantly at variance with the reality of courtroom outcomes. Why this person continues as a barrister, despite fairly consistent feedback as to unsuitability:

Even a blind pig can sometimes find a truffle.

Admired the wit and what appeared to be an appropriate description. Asked where the phrase came from. Colleague was uncertain.

Searched a bit, and couldn’t find much other than “English proverb”. Then found this discussion from 2007:

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 29, 2007

In Reply to: Re: A blind pig posted by Bob on July 29, 2007

: : : I just found this forum while looking up the saying, “Even a blind pig finds a truffle now and then.” It’s never made sense to me, and I found an old posting here that seems wrong to me. I understand it to mean that even a pig handicapped for the hunt gets lucky once in a while and finds a truffle. Applied to a person, it would suggest that even someone incompetent at a certain activity may succeed by luck occasionally.

: : : The problem with this is that, as I suspected, a pig doesn’t search for truffles by vision, but by smell (I looked it up), so a blind pig should be as successful finding truffles as a sighted one and needn’t rely on luck or occasional happenstance, as I do to hit a 3-iron well. Any thoughts?


: And I’ve always heard it as “Even a blind pig finds an acorn…”: so I tied a Google war to see the frequency of each variation:: hog/truffle = 39 hits: hog/acorn = 3170: pig/truffle = 450: pig/acorn = 2760: So it’s a close call between hog and pig, but acorns trump truffles. A good result with a 3-iron, however, remains in the field of capricious happenstance…

Both pigs and dogs are used to finding truffles. Talking about blind pigs finding truffles means someone has mixed up two aphorisms, since, as has been stated, blindness does not affect a pig’s sense of smell. It’s quite possible that rats could be trained to find truffles, as they have a keen sense of smell. However, they also have disadvantages for truffle-seeking. They can’t cover ground as quickly as pigs or dogs.

People certainly taking the time to clarify…

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