Otto Palindrome: Palindrome here sir; sorry to disturb you.
The Head: That's alright. I was just, as usual, thinking.
Otto Palindrome: Sir, we've got a bit of a headache down here.
The Head: Don't tell me about headaches Palindrome.
Otto Palindrome: No sir.
The Head: I wrote the book on headaches!
A Stock Phrase
commonly used when a character complains or brags about something, to which another character disregards their comment by saying something around the lines of "Don't tell me about X. I Wrote the Book
on X". There are two distinct contexts in which this gets used:
- Character boasting about their expertise on the subject.
- Someone else is commending the character for being well renowned on the subject.
[[folder: Film ]]
- From the 1974 film Herbie Rides Again:
Alonzo Hawk: Since none of your pitiful excuses for men have enough muscle to move a feeble little old lady off her property, I'll go and do it myself, like I have to everything that's important around here.
Lawyer: Now, Mr. Hawk...
Alonzo Hawk: Oh, shut up! We'll start on Number 1 - Harassment! And I wrote the book on harrassment - We'll shut up her phone, turn off her water; we'll sic the Health & Building inspectors on her, steal her dog.
- From the 1999 film Teaching Mrs. Tingle:
Leigh Ann Watson: I am not scared of you.
Mrs. Tingle: Who do you think you're fooling? You're so scared I can smell it. Your fear is the most predictable thing about you. You've lived your whole life in fear. Terrified of making a mistake; Scared to death you won't get that A, that ticket out. Afraid you'll never escape your mother and her name tag. Or your father who won't return your calls. Thats why you shunned Luke and every other boy who has ever tried to put his hands on you. You're afraid of getting that bad seed. Afraid of giving birth to a child you never wanted. A child you could only blame for your own wretched existance. Stuck in a small town with a small name. Destined to become that very thing you despise the most. I know all about it, Leigh Ann. I wrote the book! I know you.
- From the 1994 film The Pagemaster:
Adventure: I wrote the book on sailing. In fact, I am the book on sailing.
- From the 1989 film The Punisher:
Sam Leary: So how come you never gave up on Frank Castle, like everybody else did?
Jake: Because I know what it's like to be given up on.
Sam Leary: Who gave up on YOU?
Jake: Everyone and myself. You know how most cops like to go out for a drink after work? Well, I kept moving on up... to the drink BEFORE work, the drink DURING work, and finally the drink INSTEAD OF work. It got to be a real problem; nobody wanted to deal with it, least of all me. Before I knew it, I was down to cleaning empty shells off the firing range. Then along came Frank Castle, ex-Marine commando with a shiny new police badge, and a request to learn from the man who wrote the book on busting bad guys: me. He helped me get my act together, and the rest is history.
- From the 1990 film The Grifters:
Lilly Dillon: You're working some angle, and don't tell me you're not because I wrote the book!
[[folder: Literature ]]
- Literal for Mr Slant, the zombie-lawyer in Discworld.
- Inverted in the second Harry Potter book, when Hagrid complains that Lockhart (who did write the book on dealing with magical pests[[hottip:*:Although not the book on magical creatures, that was Newt Scamander.]]) insisted on giving him advice despite the fact it wasn't anything he didn't know.
[[folder: Live-Action TV
- From the episode "'Twas the Fight Before Christmas" of Mccloud:
Kate O'Hannah: New York is the coldest city in the world to be in... when you're alone.
Sam Mccloud: Hey, why don't you tell me about it, I wrote the book.
- From the episode "The Return of Bigfoot" of The Six Million Dollar Man:
Col. Steve Austin: I don't know. It's... it's like there's something there. I can almost remember, but not quite... it's frustrating.
Jamie Sommers: Tell me about it. I'm the one who wrote the book on partial memory, remember?
- From the episode "That's Show Biz" of M*A*S*H:
Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce: That's right up my alley, I wrote the book on the appendix. I even wrote the appendix, but they took that out.
- From the episode "Revenging Angel" of Farscape:
John Crichton: Dr. Chuck Jones wrote the book on these situations.
- From the episode "The Best of Both Worlds: Part Two" of Star Trek: The Next Generation:
Guinan: Did he ever tell you why we're so close?
Captain William T. Riker: No.
Guinan: Oh... Then let me just say that... our relationship is beyond friendship, beyond family. And I will let him go. And you must do the same. There can only be one Captain.
Captain William T. Riker: It's not that simple. This was his crew. He wrote the book on this ship.
Guinan: If the Borg know everything he knows, it's time to throw that book away. You must let him go, Riker. It's the only way to beat him. The only way to save him.
- From the episode "There Might Be Blood" of Gossip Girl:
Blair Waldorf: Please, I wrote the book on distracted self-centered mothers. My mom has never met a single one of my teachers, she regularly forgets my birthday, and she only comments on my appearance when she has something to criticize.
- From the episode "Hothead" of Smallville:
Lex Luthor: The Luthors wrote the book on uncomfortable silences.
- From Friends:
Monica: Look, Larry, honey, I wrote the book on Section Five, and I know that you don't have to wear your hat unless you're in the kitchen.
Larry: And where is your hat?
Monica: It's in the kitchen. I'll go get it.
Larry: And there's the two points.
Phoebe: Hey, you should really read that book you wrote.
- In the episode "The Reunion Job" of Leverage, Larry Duberman (or Doucherman as people called him in high school) wrote the book on Database Security... I mean he literally wrote the book on Database Security.
- The Community episode Competitive Wine Tasting has a professor who wrote a book on Who's The Boss. He then proceeds to try to shoehorn his opinion on Abed, but it turns out Abed knew more then he did.
- In the Series Finale of Star Trek: Voyager, a future Starfleet instructor introduces Admiral Janeway as "the person who, literally, wrote the book on the Borg."
- "I invented" rather than "wrote the book," but same principle. From Seinfeld:
George: You're giving me the "it's not you, it's me" routine? I invented "it's not you, it's me". Nobody tells me it's them not me, if it's anybody it's me.
Gwen: All right, George, it's you.
George: You're damn right it's me.
Gwen: I was just trying to...
George: I know what you were trying to do. Nobody does it better than me.
Gwen: I'm sure you do it very well.
[[folder: Music ]]
[[folder: Video Games
[[folder: Web Original
- From commodoreHUSTLE:
Morgan: James, please. When it comes to gay chicken, I practically wrote the book. Remember the groundbreaking assault that was International Cup Bill's Balls Week?
[[folder: Western Animation
- From the episode "Jumpin' Crack Bass" of King of the Hill (also a case of Metaphorgotten):
Storekeeper: This fella never went to school. He grew up in the hills, but he wrote the book on homemade bait. 'Course it's just a bunch of scribbles 'cause he never went to school.
- From the episode "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" of The Simpsons:
Moe: Hey, I don't need no advice from a pinball machine. I'll have you know, I wrote the book on love.
Grampa: Yeah - "All Quiet on the Western Front".
- Spoofed on Futurama, "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back"
Number 1.0: Don't quote me regulations! I co-chaired the committee that reviewed the recommendation to change the color of the book that regulation's in. We kept it gray.