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 that, I Wrote the Book on It
!". There are two distinct contexts in which this gets used:
- A character is making a boast about their own expertise on a subject.
- A character commends someone else for being well-renowned on a given subject.
Generally, the "book" in question is just hyperbole and no such thing was ever published; although this can be parodied if it's claimed that they "literally
wrote the book on it".
include "X? I'm the king of X!", "I invented X!" and "X is my middle name!
" Again, usually hyperbole, except when it isn't
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Anime and Manga
- In Eleven Eyes, the reason that Kusakabe Misuzu's techniques doesn't work on Superbia is because the latter is actually Kusakabe Misao, the founder of her very techniques, who is also her distant ancestor.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- 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. That's 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 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!
- The "I invented" variation is used in The Santa Clause 3:
Lucy Miller: Okay, okay, chill!
Jack Frost: I invented chill!
- Played with in Patton: General Patton knows that Rommel literally wrote the book on tank warfare, so he reads it and uses that knowledge to predict what Rommel will do at their first big showdown.
- In the film of L.A. Confidential, when Exley and Bud White go to question the DA, at one point he tells them "Don't pull that Good Cop/Bad Cop crap on me, I practically invented it." At that point Exley just lets Bud go into full blown Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique. At the end, after the terrified DA has told them everything he knows, Exley sarcastically asks him if that's how he used to do the good cop/bad cop routine.
- O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Pappy O'Daniel says of himself, "I invented moral fiber!" (This in response to his political rival, also KKK member Homer Stokes, whose campaign claims that O'Daniel "lacks moral fiber".)
- An urban legend tells of a highly respected Criminology instructor with years of experience who taught at a state college for ten years. However, he only had a BA and growing credential inflation forced him to enroll in another college to get a graduate degree and keep his job. On his first day of class, his instructor asked him if he was related to the person who wrote the textbook due to having the same name... only for the "student" to reply that he wrote the textbook.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Mayor. "There's more than one way to skin a cat. And I happen to know that's factually true!"
- 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 Mash:
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.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- From the episode "The Best of Both Worlds: Part Two":
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 "Relics", where La Forge and Scotty are trying to restart an antique starship:
Scotty: Shunt the deuterium from the main cryo-pump to the auxiliary tank.
La Forge: Er, the tank can't withstand that kind of pressure.
Scotty: [laughs] Where'd you get that idea?
La Forge: What do you mean, where did I get that idea? It's in the impulse engine specifications.
Scotty: Regulation 42/15 - Pressure Variances on the IRC Tank Storage?
La Forge: Yeah.
Scotty: Forget it. I wrote it. A good engineer is always a wee bit conservative, at least on paper. Just bypass the secondary cut-off valve and boost the flow. It'll work.
- 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.
- In the episode "The One Where Ross Moves In":
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 One With Rachel's Sister":
Jill: (sobbing) I'm so sorry!
Rachel: Please! I invented that!
- 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 Whos The Boss He then proceeds to try to shoehorn his opinion on Abed, but it turns out Abed knew more than 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:
Gwen: It's Not You, It's Me
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.
- In Eureka, Allison literally wrote the book on space medicine... or at least her alternate-universe counterpart did, which is almost as good. (She apparently did all the same research, she just never got around to publishing her thesis.)
- Doctor Who gives us this gem:
- The Twilight Zone; The episode "He's Alive" centers around a neo-Nazi speaker getting tips from a man standing in the shadows. When the neo-Nazi accuses his benefactor of skulking in the darkness, the man answers, "I invented darkness!" He then emerges from the shadows, revealing that he's Adolf Hitler.
- From Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Joe The Condor's victory quote against Zero:
"You've got speed, I'll give you that. But your textbook fighting style isn't gonna work on the man who wrote the book!"
- In Super Mario 64, one of the Toads in the castle says that "Bowser wrote the book on bad."
- In Fallout: New Vegas the chef of White Glove Society offers the following appraisal of his culinary talents:
Philippe: I'm the fucking god of New Vegas brahmin fusion cuisine, that's who. No, no, that doesn't even give me the credit I deserve. I fucking invented edible food.
- In Mass Effect 3, Garrus invites Shepard to a friendly shooting competition on the Presidium. After Shepard makes the first shot, Garrus claims that it was an easy one and says "Long range, I wrote the book."
- Musaad Mayfield, optional bonus Scout of Valkyria Chronicles claims he wrote the book on trench warfare. Despite his frequent Hubris, he's likely not exaggerating much; his enemies have compared his ability to fight in and evade into trenches to that of a mole.
- Red Alert: Uprising, Commander's Challenge.
Hill: I wrote the book on tank tactics, boy.
- 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".
- In "The Great Money Caper", Homer and Bart have been scamming people when Grampa asks to join, saying he wrote the book on conning. Bart looks at the About the Author section on the back cover and sees a picture of a young Grandpa, showing that it was a Literal Metaphor.
- 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.
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: "I know regulations. I wrote half of them!" quoth Buzz.