The quotation of indefinite origin - people have been debating its roots for a number of years to arrive at no conclusion. It's easy to imagine it as the witty retort of Calvin
to his parents' prodding, or the reaction of Zaphod Beeblebrox to a dubious Arthur Dent
. Maybe it's from a Simpsons
episode, or Back To the Future
, or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
. What about Dilbert
? Some Steve Martin
or Woody Allen
film? Could've sworn
it was from The Hudsucker Proxy
All of these have been combed through, word by word. There are some close calls, but nothing exact.
The phenomenon of the quotation of indefinite origin is perplexing. It transcends regional barriers - an Australian will give you the same reaction as a Canadian. The elderly and children alike have the same spark of recognition, the most literate to the least educated, the wealthiest to the most impoverished. Very few just shake their head and admit to ignorance.
The most widely accepted conclusion explains that it's just two vaguely cliched lines tacked together. You've heard each piece separately, and it's witty enough to be from some film or television show, but thusfar it hasn't been proven as a direct reference to anything. Even if it has been used before, it would have to be in a form of media widespread enough to explain its universal familiarity.
Moreover, if one tries to use a search engine to find results, all they'll find are other people on the same quest. Maybe it has no origin - and that's the beauty of it.
(Note: Since the quotation of indefinite origin has gained recognition, many authors have started using it in their own work. Assume that if something was written post-2004, the quote was taken from this debate, not the other way around.)