The Movie: Bowfinger, 1999 (Steve Martin, screenwriter; Frank Oz, dir.)
Who says it: Eddie Murphy as neurotic movie star Kit Ramsey
The context: Kit is having a “therapy” session at the headquarters of Mindhead, his Scientology-like cult.
How to use it: To remain calm.
For better or worse, I was a highly suggestible child. (Okay, for better or worse, I'm still a highly suggestible adult.) I think I was 12 when the first Book of Lists came out, and I read most of it at a neighbor's house while I was babysitting -- parts of it were much too racy for me to read at home.
It was the supernatural stuff that fascinated me most: stories of hauntings, alien visitations, mysterious disappearances, and -- especially -- spontaneous human combustion. The fact that I've always been afraid of open flames just increased my fascination.
Spontaneous human combustion and reincarnation share a spot in my system of beliefs; they're things I can't believe in, but really, really wish were true. It's natural to want reincarnation to be true, but spontaneous human combustion would be real evidence that it's still a world of wonders.
Not that I need it.