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  • arromdee: How is it that whenever someone makes wishes in this kind of story and they get twisted in bizarre and harmful ways, the last wish to return to status quo somehow never gets twisted in the same manner? You'd think that someone who wished it never happened would have suddenly been killed by a tornado last year, or someone who wishes her dead husband return to his grave would just turn him from a zombie into a vampire.
    • Actually, that has happened, though I can't remember the exact instance. The best way to phrase such a wish, however, is "I wish that everything would return to exactly the state it was in before I made any wishes, excepting my knowledge of the results of said wishes." (although if you can find a flaw in that wish, please inform me.)
      • If you live in the United States, the genie or whatever could twist that in to being "Okay, I'll send you and everyone else back in to the STATE you were in! Har har har!"
        • Or, if you don't live in the US, he could say, "I'm sorry, I cannot grant your wish, you weren't in a state at the time!"
    • The results of the wish would last for the rest of time. Having the complete knowledge of a whole universe which no longer exists could well make the wisher Go Mad From the Revelation.
        • So the best wish would be: "I wish that everything would return to exactly the state it was in before I made any wishes, excepting the knowledge I had acquired due to the results of said wishes."
          • Oh. The knowledge would exist... but you wouldn't remember it.
          • So it would be effectively time travel, but you don't remember. So then you find a genie, get to make 3 wishes... And because you're going back constantly, the timeline just stops for everyone else. Nightmare Fuel, anyone?
    • The idea I've gotten is that the wish-granters are A) operating on Blue and Orange Morality and trying to teach you...yeah, and to be happy with what you've got, therefore genuinely wishing it back to normal is fine, or B) partly controlled by the wishers genuine desires. "I may want to be rich, but deep down, I honestly wouldn't mind hurting X." "I value X more than Y," and so get X by losing Y. When the person finally learns the lesson, the feelings deep down are, "I want all these things...but I know this is the wrong way to get them."
    • Wishes being twisted around is not the spirit of this trope. You're thinking of Literal Genie or Jackass Genie. Be Careful What You Wish For is when someone wishes for something they think they want but the reality isn't what they imagined. Like if someone wishes for fame and fortune without realizing that fame means you get hounded by stalkers and paparazzi and fortune means much higher income taxes and having to deal with moochers and gold-diggers.
    • The classic story The Monkey's Paw already did this, though not on the final wish. The second wish was meant to undo the first wish that ended up killing their son. But he Came Back Wrong, so the third wish basically undid the undoing wish while leaving the original wish intact.
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