Back to: Three wishes | Forward to: Nanowrimo

Another trick question ...

You get three wishes, hedged about as in the previous trick question (i.e. you can't ask for more wishes and you should be very careful what you wish for).

This time there is one additional constraint:

Whatever you wish for, your worst enemy — let's assume if you don't have enemies that there is someone you hate, loathe, and would happily see dead that is walking this planet — gets it doubled. So: if you wish for $1M, your worst enemy gets $2M, and so on.

What are your three wishes?

(No, I didn't invent this one; there are a couple of different solutions. Let's hear what you can come up with first, before I pull back the curtain ...)



I wish to have removed one kidney.


I want 1/2 of a critical mass.


Good idea. I'd go for a single copy of a nasty recessive gene and wish them homozygous.


Why not wish to be a good person?


I'd wish to donate one kidney to someone who is waiting for a transplant.

Actually, no, that's not what I'd do; I'm not that vengeful as to actually want someone to die just because they annoy me personally.

I would start by wishing for continuing good health throughout my life, then twice the money I'd need to live just above my current standard of living until a natural death at (say) 100 years old. I'd then wish half my current total assets away to be used in medical research, particularly areas around Parkinsons and Alzheimers.


I'd wish for a trillion dollars, a talking unicorn pegasus, and to have my stomach filled to maximum capacity with water.


I wish to lose half the glucose in my body. Lying down, after I ate a lot of sugar.

My enemy loses all his glucose and dies.


When I heard the joke I think the punchline went something like this:
I wish for a million dollars, a Ferrari, and to be beaten half to death. ;)

Getting into the spirit of it though, you can actually use this as a way to help you think positive sum. With that in mind, here are some of my first thoughts:
1) I wish my government put the needs of individuals before the requests of lobbyists.
2) I wish people in my country understood the importance of funding education.
3) I wish I could find a way to compromise with my enemy up to the boundaries of my own personal code of ethics.


Amusing, but do you *really* want to exterminate all your worst enemy's neighbours?

Let's have a sense of proportion here!


That is indeed one of the winning solutions.

The other I knew of:

Wish #1: I want $100M.

Wish #2: I want to lose half my earthly assets.

Wish #3: (yours)


Most of the three wishes in the previous thread were used in an altruistic manner that applied to everyone rather than just yourself (certainly mine were).

Curious then that when that everyone is explicitly made to include "Your worst enemy" that should change. I can't really think of anyone I hate enough that I'd deprive humanity of a really positive change just because it would also include them.


I'm with drmciver, the inclusion of my worst enemy as a beneficiary doesn't change how I'd use the wishes, just some of the detail.

I think the real challenge is to come up with a way to use the wish-multiplying effect to get extra benefit. I mean, three cures for cancer are no better than one, so with the global nature of the wishes to date there's no way to leverage the extra. If I could say "and I give my worse enemy three wishes" as one of mine, then assuming transitive enmity we both win.

So mine are (still) the usual complete understanding by humans of the physical universe, the wisdom to use the knowledge, and that no-one die unwillingly. Go on, give my worst enemy double that...


Oh that's on oldie but a goodie. How about a problem based on the Monty Hall question next?


First wish would be for many beautiful women to love and adore me.

Second wish to have 10 million pounds at my disposal.

Third wish to have the first two erase but have the memory of having all the good stuff.

Cos if I am going to give double to my enemy, he or she is gonna lose double from the third wish. Gee, aint I a stinker.


Am I the only one here who does not have an enemy I want to see dead?

There are people I loath, but I would not particularly mind if they get über-rich. Especially when I think a lot of sudden money can ruin one's personal life, unless used very carefully.

I think my previous answer (#95) stands. My enemy would get twice the safe valve, but I not not mind much - it is just a safe valve, nothing else.

Assuming only realistic, personal wishes, I'd still wish for $1M. People who I loath most are probably some politicians - and $1M won't made much difference to them, with all the money they sto^Wearned.


My personal favourite:
I wish for a woman who completely fulfills every emotional need I ever have.

I wish that every meal I ever eat should make me feel completely full and provide the exact amount of calories to keep me healthy.


As already commented, my wishes were altruistic last time and wouldn't change. I might take some schadenfreude from the fact that a world that I like would probably drive my worst enemy to distraction.

If I really had to wish, in the implicit spirit of the question, in such a way that I did to myself so my worst enemy got twice what I did and they were incontrovertibly better dead then:

1) The lost of 99% of my remaining life expectancy. Cause of death not to include disaster, contigation, serious risk to the life of others.
2) To halve the impact of #1 on anyone else affected by it.
3) To spend the rest of my life suffering from the worst migraine I've ever had.

Yes, they're nasty, but shouldn't really affect anyone except me and the target. I'm even protecting the genie from actually directly killing my target, but oh well. It amused me and made for 3 wishes rather than wasting 1.

Although my first instinct is not to change just because of the extra clause.


Alright, I really should be sleeping, but this is actually a fun puzzle now that Charlie mentioned the concept of proportion.

1) I wish for 15 pairs of comfy toe socks, US size 12.
(Would my enemy get 30 pairs of socks? Or would they be size 24? both? Maybe I better pick something that can be doubled in quantity *and* size, and still be annoying...)
2) I wish for a car that's 3/4 as big as my parking space
(If he got an extra car, I guess he could just sell it. :/ *My* first reaction would be "Great, where do I park this thing ... ?)
3) I wish to be married to the woman of my dreams. (This one is a no-op for me. Would my enemy be married twice? Is polygamy legal where he is? Or would he be married to a giantess? That would be kinda cool. Maybe she'd be the woman of his dreams *and* nightmares?)

To make sure I get the effect I was looking for when the wish is doubled, I should probably stick to one quantifiable element per wish:
1) I wish it was dark half the day where I am
2) I wish to physically age 1/2 a year per year I'm alive
3) I wish gravity was cut in half for me, for the next hour. (I don't *think* that would kill him as long as he's inside.)

And because I've been thinking positive sum and zero sum already, here's me thinking negative sum:
1) I wish for 1,000 enemies.
2) I wish to be written into their will as the primary benefactor.
3) I wish to donate, immediately, the maximum amount of blood that it is medically safe to do so.


Actually, in true genie spirit I choose to interpret the rider as "least competent enemy"... and thus wish a great enhancement of my natural abilities, great peace of mind and an additional ability to greatly benefit the world.


Do you all really have mortal enemies?

Anyway, I think Charlie's original wishes, in the previous question were kind of good, but he assumed that the god/magician/witch actually could use magic. If we instead assume magic is bogus, but that the being we met could indeed fulfill any potential wish and foresee its outcome, then we can make some enlightened wishes.

1: That the means, mechanism and theory of fulfilling wishes be published in a public, complete and reproducible manner available to all for free, forever, without restrictions.

2: That the means, mechanism and theory of foreseeing outcomes be published in a public, complete and reproducible manner available to all for free, forever, without restrictions.

3: That everyone learn and understand these immediately.


@Moz: The trick to getting more is using abstractions:
e.g., I wish to discover the cure for the 3 most deadly diseases in the world. Your enemy will figure out the next 6.


I wish for a Body Mass Index of 22 Kg/m^2

I wish for my blood pressure to be 120/80

I wish to remain awake at least 50% of the time


I don't believe in the death penalty for any crime, so even if there was someone I seriously hated, I wouldn't want to see them dead.

That being said, I think my wishes aren't going to match up with many of the others around here.

1. I wish everyone I meet will be persons with whom I could have happy interpersonal relationships.

Bam, never have to worry about running into that particular enemy ever again. Problem solved, and I can forget he or she ever existed. My enemy, however, will only meet people with double-happy relationship possibility, a number which supposedly would be much smaller. Hope they don't get lonely.

2. I wish someone would invent with a workable and sustainable economic system that eliminates poverty in a fashion both ethical and just to all parties involved and gets enough support to gradually make that system a reality without causing undue hardship during the transition.

Okay, now I don't have to worry about ever being poor again, and should have solved a lot of strife, so the world can be a better place. Thing is, I don't see a way of doubling this one without doing exactly the same thing, only better.

3. I wish to have a bank account that always has twice as much money as my enemy does.



In the joke I've heard on the subject the genie offered to give your enemy ten times as much. The wish was for a 10 inch penis.


John Bloom said: "The trick to getting more is using abstractions"

Yes, but most wishes like that have been of the form "solve all" or "cure all", which gets around that problem. Even Charlie has gone for the impossibly generic "I wish for universally positive outcomes" which I suspect is what opened it up for the other broad wishes.


I thougth the traditional answer was "I want to lose one of my eyes"?


I really don't see that the enemy criterion makes a difference. I can imagine hating someone enough to wish them dead, perhaps, but I can't imagine hating someone enough to wish any kind of harm on myself in order to cause them harm.

My own wishes, assuming that anything that violates strongly-known physical principles, or that changes the state of too much of the universe, is probably going to have a catch in it:

1) That all countries in the world peacefully transition to being stable liberal democracies, with constitutions that at the very least protect all minorities covered in the Human Rights Act from discrimination.

2) That an utterly safe, economical form of effectively limitless energy supply be discovered, allowing everyone access to as much energy as they wish, but that this energy supply be relatively difficult to weaponise (every form of energy can, of course, be used to hurt people, but there's a difference between a solar panel and a fission reactor).

3) That I have enough money that I can support myself and my wife indefinitely, and devote my work time to writing and creating music.

To be honest, even if Tony Blair (the person I hate most in the world right now) got all those things doubled, it wouldn't really trouble me...


Honestly, I don't have any enemies I hate so much I would muck up my wishes just to damage them.

1) I would wish to redo my life, but as a cute red-haired girl instead of who I am. Yes, I would wish that even without the enemy thing, and I have no idea how to double that anyway. Live as two girls?

2) Long and healthy life.

3) The ability to perform some minor magic.


I'm with Andrew Hickey here. I don't have anyone I dislike enough to actually wish them harm, just some people I don't want to spend time around.

1) Everyone in the world gets more empathic
2) Everyone in the world gets smarter
3) I get a billion pounds.

If my arch-enemy wants to enjoy their two billion pounds then that's up to them. I have a few fripperies I wish to pick up :->


I'd have to say that in many instances my worst enemy is actually myself; I have lousy willpower when it comes to things like diets, following through on projects, managing my money sensibly, etc.

It's possible that I have a more serious enemy I'm unaware of, of course, but I have no reason to think so.

Accordingly I'll go for a 40% reduction in violent crime, cures for 40% of cancer patients, and no bad consequences from either of the above.

Why 40%? so that the doubled result is under 100%, at which point I suspect Bad Things happen.


1. I want 1 million dollars.
2. I want a well-founded ocean-going sailboat.
3. I want to spend 5 years circumnavigating the world under sail.

Ok, so my enemy gets rich, but, he cannot sail, hates boats, gets seasick, and is now stuck at sea for 10 years. I wonder what he will do with his second boat?


If bad things happen, 40% of the human race dying instantly achieves your aims too... not what I think you're hoping for.


I suspect that #3 would trigger hyperinflation. Would it crash the banking system?


No, the only actual solution to #3 there would be for both of them to have bank accounts containing no money. Twice nothing is nothing.

Be careful what you wish for.


there's the 2 x 0 = 0 solution remember. Not so inflationary.


It's from an old joke, where the answer is "take my eye".
I'd either just wish something for bettering humanity, or, if wishes are for myself only, good health and lot of money. People I massively dislike/hate are stupid, and if they just get a lot of money they'll be worse off than they are.


A wish for sustained universal slack (i.e., everyone can live happily and comfortably without necessarily indulging in exertion), while it would not necessarily end competition for limited resources, would make such competition less problematic, because for the slack to be sustained this competition could not prevent other people from living happily and comfortably. I don't have any greedy sociopathic enemies, and even if I did, preventing them from preventing me from living happily and comfortably would be enough.


"let's assume if you don't have enemies that there is someone you hate, loathe, and would happily see dead that is walking this planet" ...

In order to consider the wish, I have to consider first the enemy. Given that I don't personally know such a person, I suspect that my enemy would be "the still-living individual who has done the most to increase violent crime - including rape, sexual assault, murder, arson, and so on - in the world." Whoever that is. The specific name of the person does not matter.

Given that, my wishes are easy:

1. I wish that I can reduce all violent crime in the world by 1/3 without making the world a worse place in some other way, within the next ten years.

2. I wish that I will be a good human being and world citizen, starting immediately.

3. I wish to acquire $25 billion dollars within the next ten years.

I think I could learn to like that enemy, given about ten years.


I assume that if there doubled wish is for my enemy, the single one has to be for me, without benefiting humanity in general (otherwise I'd go for the 40% improvements above)

For me this one is easy. I wish to gradually lose seven stone in weight through my metabolism burning more than I put into my body.

After that I'd be happy to wish for a big pile of money etc, cos my enemy isn't going to live to enjoy it.

Mind you I'd have to really REALLY hate someone to do that.


Skipping earlier answers, so apologies if someone else has remembered this one ...

Robert Sheckley
"The same to you doubled"

The protagonist wishes for an attractive women, to marry, who is just as much as he can handle

I like # 22


I wish my enemy to be eaten by squirrels. Problem solved.


If your enemy liked good food & drink, wish for a meal at McDonald's every day, washed down with a liter of "industrial lager".


Many clever and funny answers so far.

The one that immediately struck me was "warm, friendly thoughts about my worst enemy". But I guess that assumes it's mutual, and that might not be a good assumption.

So maybe, I don't know, "the motivation and the means to do good", plus whatever magic technology would be best to solve humanity's problems that I'm currently too sleepy to think of.


This question reminds me of an old story about a Polish peasant who got three wishes, and spread them over several years. Each time he wished that the Huns would attack Poland, and they swept out of the east, burning and looting into Poland before returning the way they came.

The third time, the Genie asked What do you have against Poland? The peasant said "Nothing, but this way the Huns hit Russia six times, coming and going"


Nah, I'll still wish for enlightenment for everyone, including my worst enemies (and the entity granting the wishes).

My second wish was that I'd simply follow in the spirit of the Occupy movement: that I would be inspired to turn half of my current, annual income into cash and use it to benefit society, and to do so for the rest of my life. My most dire enemies right now are the rich...


1) I wish to share with the world the knowledge of how to travel at the speed of light.
2) I wish to share with the world the knowledge of how to convert matter to energy at 100% efficiency.
3) I wish to share with the world the knowledge of how to convert energy to matter at 100% efficiency.

Then I throw away my answers and use the ones he/she shared. Too cheesy?

Or some other variant of "help everyone" so that their double-up version stacks with mine and ends up being 3 times the benefit for the same "cost".


Oh, and if I can't use trickery to produce an out-of-bounds error on the laws of the universe, I'd probably just wish for a billion pounds.

For that that much I'd probably be quite willing to forget about hating someone. They'd probably be someone for whom an extra two billion pounds didn't significantly change their wealth/lifestyle anyway. So the relative gain to me would be more than for them. :P


I wonder how many people are their own worst enemies? That would make many such wishes rather tricky...


1) 10 million dollars
2) Seeds for a cornucopia tree (that produces a human-perfect food as fruit) that would prosper in any Earthly environment
3) A 9 inch penis. How you like it NOW, ex-gf?


1) Six months holiday on Mingulay, starting April.
2) Free mandatory admission to half the folk festivals in the UK (on the assumption that would be hellish for my enemy), the year after my Mingulay holiday.
3) A psychotically jealous but rewarding partner


It occurred to me, while I still want my more general altruistic ones, one I could go for without wishing harm to my enemy would be:

1) To learn of one thing (according to the specification below) that I consider admirable that my mortal enemy does better than me (by some measure I consider reasonable) and a plan to help me improve to reach at least that standard.

Specification: New information if possible. If not, the item I need most motivation to improve, then most desire to improve, then the largest gap to close.

There. I become a better person. So does he or she. But we only improve in things we want to improve in and that the other does better. Who knows, we might even learn to understand each other too.


1: a precise guide to the stock exchanges for the next five years...they can have ten.
2: to be more interested in things. They can be twice as extra interested.
3: More social grace. They can also have twice that.

If I'm dealing with wishes, I don't have to curse them in one of my fallouts, I just have to make us both better.


I suspect a lot of the answers here are joking. I know I don't have any enemies like that, but my first impulse was to say "A great big plate of some food I like but that I know they're allergic to." Or maybe "exactly half as much of some deadly poison as is necessary to kill me." Not out of any particular vindictiveness against someone, but for the amusement value of "hacking" the wish's requirements.


The late Isaac Asimov had a story on exactly this theme. His protagonist's solution, for his last wish, was to wish for a woman who was just as much as any man could hope to deal with.


What if you aren't your mortal enemy's mortal enemy? Nobody said that relationship was mutual or transitive.


Well, if there's more than one such mischievous genie around, you can easily make mortal enemies by killing off your worst enemy with a "hacked" wish. A wish-fueled feud is something I only want to see in fiction.


The problem with posing that question to me is that I consider enemy to be a rather personal word, and apart from not really having any, I'm rather altruistic - I would happily wish for massive wealth and be fine with someone else receiving double.

I suppose to really answer this question in the spirit it's intended, I would have to replace "worst enemy" with someone I consider actively evil, perhaps Kim Jong Il or some other horribly oppressive dictator. In which case I would customize one of my wishes a bit more closely to who he is: I wish everyone under my authority, including me, who doesn't have access to a modern firearm would suddenly have a U.S. Marine's standard set of equipment (including firearms and rations) and be able to browse the internet just by thinking about doing so.


I'd wish for:

1. A set of DVD-ROMs containing the contents of the Library of Alexandria as it existed in 100BC, with the files readable by modern computers, containing both scanned images of the original documents as well as transcriptions in a markup format used by modern classical scholars, as well as a set of audio files playable on modern computers containing fragments of ordinary conversation in Greek by members of a variety of social classes from major cities of Greece and Ionia in 500BC.

2. A copy of the novel "The Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities", by Samuel R. Delany, from an alternate universe where (a) his mental state was as close as possible to our own universe's version's, and (b) he went on to finish the novel, most likely because his relationship with Frank Romeo did not end.

3. Let's go with: botanical samples of the extinct plant silphium, free of any contaminants that would cause negative reactions (diseases, etc.) in modern plants and animals.


We're assuming the implementer is super-smart, and will double net results, right? Rather than just implementing the wish twice-over as if it had been issued by the enemy? Because otherwise I could make a wish where the benefit to me was a side-effect, and that wish doubled by the other person would still benefit me. Thus not benefitting them, and possibly, if they knew about it, annoying them (also a benefit, for an enemy).

I can't at the moment think of any personal enemy I'd actually use wish power to harm severely, but I've enjoyed reading the clever ideas anyway. So far no useful original ones of my own, unless the above is.

Hmmmm; here's a near-analog of sending the enemy to hell: I wish that the temperature where I am is always between 50 and 85 degrees F, and the humidity between 20 and 50 percent. Not really original, though focused on discomfort rather than death.

Or I could just wish to be buried up to my chest in pig shit.


The joke version I remember was "I'd like a million pounds, a beautiful woman, and to lose one of my testicles".
More seriously, using the first wish for the wisdom to make optimal use of the next wishes works here too. If all three wishes have to be specified before granting - there might be people I'd rather see dead walking this planet, but I don't want the responsibility of killing them. I'll just go on loathing them them while they're twice as wise, rich and healthy as me.


Oh, that's a good one. I'd go with that!


I'd wish to lose exactly half the bets I make. If I always choose longer odds than 2:1 I can't fail, unlike my worst enemy who will lose all the bets he makes. Hurrah!

Oh, and any two of the hippy ones.



Let's see ... How many blowjobs would it take to kill Dick Cheney? Add five for good measure, divide in half, and you have my first wish.


As a way to booby trap the wish, I thought of this one:

"Meet and fall in mutual love with a person of the appropiate gender and sexual orientation who is the perfect match for you in every aspect and who only has the small flaw of being passionately, destructively jealous and posessive"

Not that I have anyone I'd count as a mortal enemy to employ it with.


I'm easy... an iPhone 8, Zeiss He-Ion microscope, and safe delivery of the items by DHL within 10 working days.


The blessing that I never hurt or harm anyone ever.

Permanent youthful good health

Immortality (in the sense of Indefinite lifespan) for everyone


How much does a hitman cost? I wish for ten times that much. All that extra money isn't helping him now, is it? (Assuming that he doesn't know I'm coming.)

Alternatively, I wish for a hundred million pounds, taxable at fifty per cent.


1: A friendly AI.
2: A cornucopia machine (with a large library of patterns) which can be run by the AI, but too complex for a human to run.
3: An honest government.

N.B.: This is barely changed from my last wishes. (The main difference is the addendum to wish 2. But it's a good idea anyway.)

P.S.: These aren't the specific wishes I wished last time, but their tenor is identical. I actually think wish 1 would resolve all three wishes, but without saying just how intelligent it is, this isn't certain. I'm not sure I consider the Escaton plausible. But certainly something 100 times as intelligent as a human isn't implausible. Just aroud 20-30 years off. (*If* society holds together.)


I want good luck, health and happiness for Ian Smith and to serve the best interests of Ian Smith all my life.

He can double that wish if he wants to, but you didn't say he could change the subject specified ...


I wouldn't want one half of a critical mass, except for Americium, which I have enough of, actinides don't have many household uses.

I'd wish for money, as I don't really mind certain people getting some even though they have beat me up, threatened family members, and cost me jobs.


Let's say you had to work in a place with two co-workers. One of which is such a delight to work with, that you enjoy every hour you work with him - furthermore, he persuades you to join him in his charitable stuff after work. The other one though makes the work miserable. You want to call in sick when you think about the inevitable confrontations you will have.

The good fairy said that you can wish one of them to win the lottery and move out of state.

Which one gets the good fortune?

What kind of person are you?


The wishes that rebound to the enemy idea is among the stories of Hershele Ostropoler, a Ukrainian trickster. He was a real person in the late 18th / early 19th century, although a lot of apocryphal stories have accumulated around his name.

As I was told the story by my father, Hershele, who never had money and was always scamming someone, had sat down to eat a whole roast goose he wasn't planning to pay for in an inn, when a moneylender he'd scammed a few days before walked in with several of his henchmen. Seeing Hershele, the moneylender was about to order his men to beat him, when Hershele called out, "Surely you don't want to disturb the meals of all the diners here."

Realizing that the crowd was mostly brawny men with several tankards of ale in them by this point in the evening, the moneylender said to his henchmen, sotto voce, "Don't make a scene in here, but when he's done, follow him outside and do to him whatever he does to that goose."

But Hershele had very good hearing, and he heard the moneylender's order. He grabbed the goose by the tail and lifted it a few inches off the plate, then leaned down and kissed the bird's ass.


My hands have been hurting too much to post, but this one is easy to answer: I'd like to be happy, and that would make Helen double-happy, which would make her less-mean.


I think the hidden whammy in Sheckley's version was that when the demon offered the wish and told the protagonist who his worst enemy was he immediately accepted that he had one and set about doing him harm. Thereby falling into the demon's subtle temptation.


CharlesH: your worst enemy now has an AI, friendly to him, which is twice as artificial and twice as intelligent as yours. Get used to being outsmarted.


Wait, what does doubling mean? If it means that my losing half -> enemy losing 1, then why not make wish #2: "I wish to lose 3/4 of my wealth." That way, you don't just zero out your enemy's worth, you actually put them %50,000,000 in the red!

Ooh, how about wish 2: "I wish to have a debt to SPECTRE of 3/4 of my wealth." Now my enemy owes money to ruthless badasses. I can pay up, enemy can't.

Bump wish 1 up to $200,000,000 first, so that you still end up with $50,000,000 after wish 2.

But if doubling a wish means iterating it twice?
Me losing one kidney -> enemy losing two kidneys, one after the other.
Me losing half my wealth -> enemy losing 3/4 of their wealth. (w/2/2)

I think subtractive wishes work better at damaging your enemy than reducing wishes. Wish 2 is probably better stated, "I lose $50M". (Or $75M to put 'em in the red.)

Seeing as wish 3 is mine...IDDQD!


If we're hacking the wishes, then how about:
1. I wish for my body temperature to be 310 kelvin
2,3 ...


I don't see the traditional 3rd wish as I heard it:

"Genie, scare me half to death."


No-one noticed the potential of modular arithmetic here? e.g. "I want $100 million, module $200 million."


that should read "modulo", with an o


My 3 wishes can't really be doubled but if they could be then I would react with glee at the idea of them been forced upon the nasty party (social conservatives, the religious, the rich).

All toxic belief systems rely on control of either information or freedom of movement. Religious? Freedom to information from birth. Conservative? Information and freedom of movement. Rich? Impossible to extract wealth from an ultra-mobile and omnisciencent workforce.

No no, far from a downside I welcome my wishes been brought twofold upon my enemies ;)


My first wish would be that I at least 50% liked my enemy.

The second wish: a mechanism for my enemy and I to pool resources with benefits for the partner in some fashion. IE: where for every dollar partner A contributes to superannuation; partner B receives 2.

The third wish: recursive application of wish 2's mechanism in a time efficient manner whenever one partner receives profits.

Seeing that my enemy now likes me, I'm sure they wouldn't mind me borrowing a dollar to contribute to the resource pool mechanism.


1. I want an unlimited supply of genies that offer three wishes.

2. I want my velocity relative to the Sun to exactly equal Earth's current orbital velocity plus correction for the Earth's rotation.


My wishes from the previous thread (#80)remain unchanged by the new rule as I was making changes to the world not to my personal circumstances.

Assuming selfish wishes you could always try #1 ... #2 ... #3 That I spend the next hour standing with my feet manacled to the bottom of a swimming pool deep enough to come up to my armpits.

Any variation on #1 Altruistic global wish #2 Gain X amount of currency #3 Destroy 50% of #2 (or if I'm mean pick a >50% value)

Or #1 I wish I was standing at the bottom of a 5 foot deep pit with my arms above my head #2 I wish for the rest of the pit to be immediately filled with 24 carat gold coins #3 Altruistic global wish. (My worst enemy just got crushed to death by money, I'm rich AND the world is a better place. Bonus!)


Erich @58
I like your suggestion of the Delany novel. Please can you get one for me too?


No, I won't take the high road.

1. Become paralyzed in one arm but recover after one year.

2. Lose half my net worth.

3. Have 2 of my unemployed relatives move in with me for a year.


Considering that my worst enemy happens to be whoever is in front of me on the freeway, I suspect that someone's wish (probably going to have to be one of mine) is for a better temper, or there are going to be an awful lot of healthy and wealthy jerks on the road.

*shakes fist!*


I've heard this as a joke a few times.

Some along the line of a genie appearing before a woman and the question asked. She can't stand her husband so the usual 2 wishes:

1. Lots of money
2. Youth

Then she'll say 3. I wish for a mild heart attack please



Here's one for the social engineers. What could possibly go wrong?

1. Without anything else changing in my life, I wish that I never be in the top 100 worst enemies of anyone in the world, now or in the future.
2. I wish that, within the next day, I and my 10 worst enemies as of seven days ago find ways to donate 10% of our individual net worths to groups making the world more sustainable for all life forms, groups that we do not and will not directly or indirectly control.
3. I wish that, two days from now, my 10 worst enemies as of seven days ago will make these same three wishes, and that you, oh wish granting entity, will grant these three wishes for them.


"I wish to give half of my worldly goods to my worst enemy."


Neat. Even better should it turn out to be that you are your worst enemy's worst enemy, though the chances tent to be against that.


1. the capacity for forgiveness
2. the capacity for contrition
3. River Song in a cowboy hat (I'd be pretty relaxed about my enemy having River Song with two cowboy hats - forgiveness and all that...)


This is quite topical:

As a practicing Buddhist I'd probably wish for everyone to achieve some level of enlightenment/compassion for others/realization that happiness is an internal state, and although externally conditions can certainly help they can't be the ultimate source of happiness (otherwise all rich people would be happy right?).


I don't know that I actually have a worst enemy but presuming there's someone out there who's willing to nominate themselves for the job, I'll stick with the same three wishes I had before:

1) A cup of hot chocolate

2) A packet of Tim Tams

3) A comfortable chair in which to enjoy same.

This nets my worst enemy two cups of hot chocolate, two packets of Tim Tams, and two chairs which are presumably of a type I decree comfortable. Given I'm somewhat short in the legs compared with most people, this may be considered an incredibly subtle form of revenge.

If my initial hypothesis is true, and I'm my own worst enemy, I've just gained three cups of hot chocolate, three packets of Tim Tams, and another three comfortable chairs in the house.


still going to go for the serenity prayer

sounds like a peacefull solution for me and my enemy
which I suspect much like Megpie71 is probably myself.


First two would be along the lines of...

1. A healthy, active lfe extending well into the favourable side of the statistical distribution curve for myself and those close to me.

2. Financial security with sufficient disposable income to enjoy wish 1 - no ruling of the world required, no arbitrary high score to be beaten, just a steady income sufficient to indulge my (really quite modest as these things go - I've no desire for a fleet of solid gold personal jets or a yacht at the personal cruise liner end of the scale...).

..with the usual best effort riders to try to avoid them being at the expense of others.

This brings me to the one where I'm traditionally supposed to go "Mwahahahahaha...." and visit fiendish tormenst upon my enemy (whoever the heck he or she might be). Well to hell with that. Sure, if someone is somehow making my life more miserable than it needs to be I'd quite like the problem to go away, but I can really do without the "bad karma" of visiting unpleasantness upon others - let's face it, given wish 1 I'm going to have to live with myself for quite a while, so lets try for a less negative approach...

3. I wish to be a better, more likeable, more empathic, less self-centred person and more deserving of the repsect of others.

...or something along those lines, the idea being that both myself and my mysteriously acquired arch-nemesis suddenly realise that we're both actually Really Nice Guys/Girls/Whatever who it would be quite fun to share a beer (or whatever) or two with now and again, I quit worrying about the fact that my erstwhile nemesis has twice as much of The Good Stuff as I have (heck, I've got enough to keep me happy so why worry about it when I could be enjoying myself?) and everyone gets to live happily ever after with minimal interference with free will, ecosystems, laws of physics etc, and no messy incidents involving biblical plagues or critical masses of fissionable materials.


It looks like I get to keep my answer from last time, which was:

1) The best possible outcome for a wish.
2&3) held in reserve

If we absolutely *must* pick a different wish this time, I guess I'd have to go with:

1) Justice.
2&3) held in reserve


To someone who believes in the 3-Fold Law, this is a non-issue. You wish for them a clear mind and a contented heart.


A bank account with £2^(N-2) [where N -> infinity] written in N bit 2's complement.


Steve Schultz asked me on Facebook when I linked to this thread: "What if one is their own worst enemy; do they get 3x the goodies? ;-)"


1) That politicians will not attempt to use the tax system for social engineering.

2) That I should live out my days in comfort, enjoy good mental and physical health, and die a natural death. The word "natural" to be taken to preclude my death from violence inflicted by others and from neglect by others. The words "violence" and "neglect" to include any acts done or left undone against my will.

3) A good steak dinner.


Oddly enough, I knew what I'd do with three wishes before this appeared: restore three people (none of them me, or related to me) to full natural health for their age. Of course, this may mean that my worst enemy gets to restore six. On the whole, that's OK. And if Margaret Thatcher is one of the ones he picks ... well, that will confuse affairs in the Conservative Party usefully.


of course if you end up wishing for Thatcher to live forever as some sort of moldy undead- thats how Davros off doctor who started


1. A billion dollars
2. A long and healthy life for those I love
3. Eight hours of good sleep every day

I hope my enemy has a comfortable bed.

I was contemplating wishing for a rabid desire to practice guitar 12 hours a day, but I'm not sure that I'd enjoy that (although I'm sure that my enemy would enjoy it less).


First Wish: I wish for my personality to be altered such that I find it emotionally untenable to harbor lasting feelings of spite or enmity. My worst enemy will now be an even more compassionate, patient person than I am, yet even I will find it impossible to bear them any lasting ill will.

Second wish: I wish for the world to be reconfigured so as to match the parameters established in Charlie's blog post world "A Cultural Thought Experiment", where all of humanity enjoys at minimum standard of living comparable to a present-day member of the 1% making 5 million dollars a year. I wish to be making the lower bound of income in that society established in the scenario (5m per year). My erstwhile worst enemy is richer than me, but still not especially remarkably-rich by our new society's standards.

Third Wish: I wish to have my various unmet desires for interpersonal relationships (friends who inspire me to write more and better, camping/outdoorsy friend, romantic and play partners in various capacities not currently represented in my network, so on) fulfilled over the course of my remaining life; the timing and exact details are specified only to be "natural-feeling, not too tightly-clustered and compatible with my life at any given juncture." My erstwhile worst enemy now has more fulfilling things to do than pursue any remaining grudge against me (assume that buffer-overflows in terms of the doubling simply mean my once-enemy is merely enjoying things that much more).


I wish to live in a country where 27% and no more than 27% of the population votes Republican.


Is this a Christianity test? Love your neighbor as practical aggression?


I'd like to attend my enemy's funeral. She can later attend both of mine.


So first she dies, and you attend her funeral.
And then you die, and she is resurrected (or possibly she's resurrected first), and attends your funeral.
And then you are resurrected, and then die again, and she attends your second funeral.
And at the end of it all, she's still alive, and you're dead.


(Oh, I know, I know, I actually went to two funerals for the same aunt of mine, once in Scotland and once in England, so I agree, you don't need be resurrected between them. On the other hand, to attend something, you pretty well have to be sufficiently alive to have attention to devote to something.)


Which if you apply Charlie's rules you might have only 13.5% of the population ever vote D.


That politicians will not attempt to use the tax system for social engineering.

Unless you're an extreme objectivist/libertarian, and I mean on the far edge, all government actions are attempts at social engineering. And I could argue there's really no exception.


anura @ 107
Christianity test?
As in how many people can you kill for the sake of the Lord?
Eos omnes. Deus sueos agnoscet.


Really? Are you claiming that a law against murder is in any way compatible to one increasing the cost of $product "because we don't like it and the way it is used, and maxing it more expensive will change this, regardless of the mass of evidence to the contrary"?


Social Engineering is a broad term. Laws against murder tend to be very specific as to when it is wrong to kill a person. And have changed over time as societies have decided that people killing each other is less and less desirable. Outlawing dueling was social engineering.

And if I make a widget and own the patents for said widget and after selling a few 1000s decide I want to multiple my price by 100 for WHATEVER reason and I'm not allowed to do so. Why not. As long as I'm not selling you things like the air you need to breathe. And even then such laws are social engineering. It is government deciding what must be provided to people at what price.


Outlawing dueling was social engineering IYO. I'm not certain about that, although it certain was interference, since both duelists had consented to take part.

Para 2 - Not a good analogy. If you make a widget you should have the right to set the price of it. That does not mean that the government has the right to say that 1 in 20 of the people who buy your widgets misuse them and cause themselves harm, therefore we are going to impose a 9_900% duty on widgets (to use your figures) in order to stop this.


I wish the golden rule upon myself....

1) That politicians will not attempt to use the tax system for social engineering.

That seems rather limiting...

A progressive tax system seems like a fairly reasonable arrangement, particularly in view of increasing or maintaining equality (see also #ows)... yet it's also a mechanism of social engineering, precisely in the shape of increasing or maintaining equality. It may not be a full and complete solution to an inequality problem, of course, but it seems a reasonable component at least.

Any expansion on your reasoning?


I want

1) A cheap cure for cancer, retroactive to one year prior to Roger Zelazny's death. None of this "5 years clear" bullshirt either. All gone, and gone for good.

2) Wealth for myself (and double wealth for Arthur Tolliver McScroggins, 14 Bombay Crescent, Shepherd's Bush may he rot in hell for all eternity for what he done to me the scurvy bilge-rat)

3) Health for me, and double health for that unspeakable swine who lives in Bombay Crescent and of whom has been oft said: "miserable git", may he be subject to premature cremation in a half-working oven.


Managed to redact my own post there. Must've been the thoughts of wealth, health and McScroggins (may his hair fall out and reveal an embarrassing birthmark on his scalp).

The wishes I made would ensure I could read more Zelazny fiction in peace without the need to waste reading time working to earn money to buy books or lying around helpless as yet another piece of me stops working for a bit.


Without going into a specific real case see #115 for the generalisation.


Here goes:

1) 10 million dollars, no strings attached.
2) That half of my wealth must be spent making the world a better place.
3) That half of my waking time be spent making the world a better place.

In that order.

It's an arbitrary amount, roughly equivalent to F**k You money for anyone who doesn't work on Wall Street.

If $WORST_ENEMY, whoever that may be, is one of the Koch Brothers, a general in Pakistan's ISI or a derivatives trader out to short my country's entire GDP, then his entire fortune just went to more deserving people, and I have 5 million bucks. I could live OK off the interest on that.

Also, he'll be broke but still bound to do good deeds for the rest of his life. And I still have half my time to fart around.


Long time lurker yada yada...

I might have this completely backwards, but assuming that we're paired as worst enemies with our worst enemy, I'd wish the following:

1 - I wish for my worst enemy to possess infinite compassion for all beings
2 - I wish for my worst enemy to be omniscient
3 - I wish for my worst enemy to be omnipotent

Only problem here is that I suspect being a Deity isn't all it's cracked up to be.


Interesting assumption about being paired worst enemies. As I've said before I don't have one as bad as painted by the question, but the possible names I've come up - I'm pretty damn sure none of them have ever heard of me.


Very nice infinite series on #3. I think that might cause a bit of inflation if you both try to consume it though!


I don't have anyone I would consider a mortal enemy, only people with which I wouldn't care to interact with again. So I guess my wishes would run like:

#1 Meaningfull and productive,healthy lives for me and mine.
#2 Whatever measure of knowledge and wisdom I am capable of absorbing and not go insane.
#3 A set of Manfred Manx's glasses and data storage trunk (but not be possessed by it, like in the story). This would greatly benefit #2 and should probably be acquired before wish #2. The exocortex also seemed like fun. Smartphones are getting there, but I am impatient.


I notice a lot of the wishes use the word "better".

Of course that is a word which makes it hard to come up with universal agreement as to the meaning. Better for you? Better for your friends? Better for your clan/tribe? Better for your nation? Better for the world?

And who gets to define what outcomes are better?


Wishes for a universal good with a built-in amplifier? Hot damn! Even if my worst enemy gets twice the benefits, that's still everybody I actually care about coming out of this with more than they started with.

Of course, there's also utilizing paradoxical wishes - probably a good idea, given that no wish-granting genie should ever be trusted, even IF they have Robin Williams' voice. Distract them with a logical snarl, and run away when you can!

But, ultimately, I may just wish for everybody to be less of an asshole to each other. Genies and mortals alike. Conveniently, this'll make my enemies less likely to take their own wishes out on me...


Worst enemy puts me in mind of mortal enemy, which puts me in mind of Holmes and Moriarty. I have indeed made an ass of myself, and hopefully no one else, there.

Anyway, I don't see that it's too great a stretch to imagine mutual antagonism of sufficient order applying to this hypothetical - certainly no less far-fetched than some random offering up three wishes.

If I were to place the situation a bit more firmly in my actual existence, though... there's a few people I dislike, many I've only heard of but would (I believe) find very hard to respect, but enemies? I just can't get excited about pouring emotional energy of any sort in to the life of someone I don't want in my own life. Great and grand causes excepted. But that's a whole nother story. Though perhaps it shouldn't be.


How about everyone's lives get better according to each person's definition of better. Let the genie figure out the paradoxes.


Worst enemy puts me in mind of mortal enemy, which puts me in mind of Holmes and Moriarty. I have indeed made an ass of myself, and hopefully no one else, there.
I assure you that you're not the only Holmes (and indeed Conan Doyle) fan posting on here.


I wasn't trying to say you were wrong - it was left very open ended. Just curious which way your assumptions went since you stated them so clearly.


Eeps - just for clarity's sake, I 'ASS-U-ME'd something about the worst enemy thing thereabove. Conan Doyle and Benny Hill in adjacent sentences, there, folks, and I'm mighty proud of it, too.


I'm saddened by the state of humanity when I see how many people on this thread think that Republicans or Christians (Oh, the horrors!) are their absolute worst enemies out there, while there are tyrannical dictators in a variety of countries, radical Islamic terrorists who want to take over western society and kill all the Jews and gays while imprisoning women to their homes, and criminals who actively kidnap and trade women and children as sex slaves, after addicting them to a whole cocktail of drugs.


I'm startled by how many stereotypes you managed to cram into just one sentence there.

What next, the White Slave Trade and Fu Manchu?


One week in a depressed African nation, handing out food to The Poors, while eating nothing better than the U.N. Purina People Chow that I'm dishing out to said Poors. I don't think [insert tea bagger/banker/politician/CEO name here ] could handle a day of it.


I was thinking sex with the Yale crew team, actually. Yum!


There are some amusing possibilities if your worst enemy is of a different gender or sexual orientation....


Late to the party, but I'll write anyway.

Wish 1. To become 30 years younger bodily and in very good health, but with the present face so I can use my ID -- to be generous, enemies younger than 60 can become babies a week old.

Wish 2. For the coming month I want to immediately understand fully _anything_ I want information about without bad physical side effects, when I formulate a query verbally -- and forget it when I ask for that. (A month is hopefully enough to write up solutions to the energy crisis, space launch problems, all the health problems etc and send them where I know they will be well used.)

Wish 3 is decided after the information from wish 2. (A month's inside knowledge re horse races/stock markets should solve any money issues. Same goes for love.)

The 1 wish should make most any enemy unable to use a language and the time limit in wish 2 should stop it working before they relearns a language.

The quite few people, except maybe a couple of psychopaths, that have hurt me had bad problems of their own at the time. When I had health problems for a while, I was hardly a fun person to be around, so I am forgiving; I have walked in their shoes.

So... I'd say my mortal enemies are most hateful true believers that don't care about facts and knowingly use propaganda instead of arguments, because they just care about spreading the True Faith they identify with, be it political, religious or something else. (Note, this is about hateful fanatics; trolls aren't worthy.)


Just one, very specific object:
Just over half a critical mass of highly enriched neptunium-236, specifically a 6kg sphere , and a source of alpha radiation no less and no more than 20% over the critical amount required to initiate a nuclear reaction. Both encased in a glass vacuum chamber, that is lined, however not completely covered with, neodynium magnets.

tl;dr: Guy gets two of these cool spheres, they crash into each-other thanks to the magnets, dude asplodes in a nuclear fireball.



It's just as well our wish-granter is not so stupid as to try to give them to your enemy at the same time. Come to that, maybe our wish-granter is going to get really, really peeved at you, since your wish is an attempt to kill it in the performance of its task.

If the wish-granter did somehow manage to deliver them, in such a way that they did detonate, how many other people have to die before you feel unhappy about the result?



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on October 29, 2011 10:19 AM.

Three wishes was the previous entry in this blog.

Nanowrimo is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Search this blog