You Should Be Careful What You Wish For Essay

So she sat there and started crying about how messed up she was and how she had promised to stop using and now she was with me gettin high and how she wished that she was dead. And I thought "well..."
"What are you so afraid of, Cell? Isn't this what you wanted? Iwarnedyou! I told you what would happen if you pushed me too far, but you didn't listen. You forced me to awaken my hidden power, and now that you've seen it, you're afraid... because you know I'm going to destroy you."

Gohan to Cell, Dragon Ball Z

Parson: What's the lesson here? "Be careful what you wish for?" This isn't what I wished for!
Wanda: Ha! You didn't wish for this world, Parson Gotti. It wishedfor you.


An elderly man was sitting alone on a dark path, right? He wasn't certain of which direction to go, and he'd forgotten both where he was traveling to and who he was. He'd sat down for a moment to rest his weary legs, and suddenly looked up to see an elderly woman before him. She grinned toothlessly and with a cackle, spoke: 'Now your *third* wish. What will it be?'
'Third wish?' The man was baffled. 'How can it be a third wish if I haven't had a first and second wish?'
'You've had two wishes already,' the hag said, 'but your second wish was for me to return everything to the way it was before you had made your first wish. That's why you remember nothing; because everything is the way it was before you made any wishes.' She cackled at the poor berk. 'So it is that you have one wish left.'
'All right,' said the man, 'I don't believe this, but there's no harm in wishing. I wish to know who I am.'
'Funny,' said the old woman as she granted his wish and disappeared forever. 'That was your first wish.'

Morte's Story, note as told in the Brothel of Slaking Intellectual Lusts,Planescape: Torment

"You got what you wanted!

Be careful what you wish for, 'cause you just might get it; You just might get it; You just might get it (get it).

—"When I Grow Up", The Pussycat Dolls

Don't wish for elephants unless you own a zoo,
'Cause wishes have a way of coming true!

Muppet Babies

Careful what you wish

Careful what you say

Careful what you wish

You may regret it

Careful what you wish

You just might get it

—"King Nothing", Metallica

"When the gods want to punish you, they answer your prayers."

Karen Blixen, Out of Africa

—A similar quote is commonly attributed to Oscar Wilde.

You'd better watch out
Oh, what you wish for
It'd better be worth it
So much to die for

— "Celebrity Skin", Hole

- "Wishes come true, not free."

Everyone from Into the Woods, once they've learned their lessons

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'Thy will be done'."

C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Isn't that what you wanted? That's what you said, anyway . . . all that I did was grant you your wish, doctor.

Johan Liebert, Monster, note referring to Dr. Tenma wishing his superiors were dead.

"Every wish that does not fit within the bounds of reason inevitably gives birth to some kind of distortion. It is an obvious conclusion that the outcome would be the worst. If you consider that a betrayal, then making wishes is a mistake to begin with."

Kyubey, Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I wanted all the attention, and instead it was going to you! I even started hoping that you would do something silly, so your modeling career would be over, but then, when it started happening, all I could think was, how could I want you to fail at something you love so much?

Rarity, to Fluttershy, from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

You finally have everything you ever wanted. Call me when you get over it.

Stacy Hirano, Phineas and Ferb, "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted"

"I just wanted to warn you about it. It only has a few wishes available per person, and ..."
"Let me guess: 'Be careful what you wish for because it might not be what you expect?'" Bob had a distinct feeling he was being played, and that he knew all the lines to boot.
"Oh good, you understand. I was just afraid you were like most mor—locals and didn't know about such things. You wouldn't believe how big of a mess they can get themselves into when they don't understand the rules."

Case Study: How Not To Wish, a few pages before Bob inadvertently merges himself with a girl's vagina

"Take your time with the third [wish]. Or you will wish that you'd never been born."

Jafar, to Abis Mal, The Return of Jafar

"Sometimes the most sadistic thing the DM can do to is to let the players have their own way."

DM of the Rings

"The mortals never understand. They only see the prize. They never think that the price of getting what you want is having what you once wanted."

Morpheus, The Sandman

Roger: My mother always said, "Be careful what you wish for, because you'll get it. And then people get jealous, and try and take it away from you."

Don: I don't think that's how that goes...

Mad Men

Come in through the gold gates or not at all.

Take of my fruit for others, or forbear.

For those who steal, or those who climb the wall

"We are evil, according to your morality. We have chosen not to harm you any longer. We are useless, according to your economics. We have chosen not to exploit you any longer. We are dangerous and to be shackled, according to your politics. We have chosen not to endanger you, nor to wear the shackles any longer. We are only an illusion, according to your philosophy. We have chosen not to blind you any longer and have left you free to face reality — the reality you wanted, the world as you see it now, a world without mind. We have granted you everything you demanded of us."

John Galt,Atlas Shrugged

When all of your wishes are granted / many of your dreams will be destroyed

—"The Man That You Fear", Marilyn Manson

"She's like the creepy stalker I always thought I wanted- until I got one!"

Cody, Total Drama: World Tour

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

H. L. Mencken

Tumblr user: So when is Marvel going to turn you lose on Dr. Strange and the magical end of the MU? I'd love to see you take a shot at Defenders or even a Strange solo.

Kieron Gillen: When friends and I are making jokes on twitter about a 90s-stylereboot of Strange involving him wielding a cannon called DOCTOR STRANGE: SORCERER EXTREME, it’s probably the wrong day for this question.

After Pulverizer has mutated into Mutagen Man, against the Turtles' wishes

Splnter: Do you think Timothy is happy with his new state of being?

Your typical Lovecraftian protagonist is the scholar who seeks to touch the face of God...and having succeeded, becomes desperate to forget the existence of his own hands.

— Zack Hanlon

Shinji:“Forgive him?! [...] He threw me away for over ten years like I was garbage! He only brought me back because I was ‘useful to him’! He made me fight or he’d have forced Rei to when she could barely get out of a hospital bed! He made me nearly kill my friend! He forced Asuka into a fight when she could barely synch as bait! And when she was being violated by the 15th Angel, he wouldn’t let me save her! He made me sit there and listen while she screamed! [...] He can go to Hell!”
Daniel:“Be careful what you wish for around here, Shinji. If that’s what you want, I can make it happen. I maintain and operate my own Hell, for those truly unworthy or unwilling to seek penance and redemption. And I know of even worse places than that.”

A Crown of Stars, chapter 22

"We wanted to live forever. So the Doctor made sure that we did."

Son of Mine, Doctor Who

The sage cries out.

“Open, Gates of heaven. Bless us and bestow miracles upon us!”

The sage cries out in regret.

“Close, Gates of heaven. Save us from all our sins and evil!”

The curtain closes.

The millennium comes to a standstill.

Our dreams, our hope... was a forbidden “failure” from the start.

The stars fall out of the sky.

Space closes up into nothingness.

The pathway to the center is shrouded along with our sins.

— Ending poem of Fate/stay night, describing the magus' quest for the Root.

So, the knowledge I wished for is mine at last, as is the immortality. This is what I should have learned even before I became a magus. The experience I have denied myself, I am now forced to endure for eternity: I am everyone's reflection, doomed to live a hundred thousand lives and more - a hundred thousand miseries - doomed to learn and never to know.

Ritsuko: However she sees it is not really relevant. I do find it ironic that you were so concerned for her having some time off and now it bothers you that after next week she won't be required to pilot again. In essence, you have gotten just what you set out to get.
Misato: Be careful what you wish for, right?

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide

You look like a vampire, you dress like a vampire, you act like a vampire, you immerse yourself in vampire chic. And now I've introduced you to a vampire - a real, dead vampire. Don't you want to be a vampire, just like me? Oh sure, there are "real" vampires, honey - or at least, the kind you'd call real, the kind you ape in your condescending pretentiousness: art-fagToreador, too-rich-for-your-bloodVentrue, Lost Boys- wannabe Brujah - the beautiful people. But they don't want you. They've got more important people to suck. Nope, you're getting a one-way ticket to hell courtesy of ClanNosferatu.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Clanbook: Nosferatu

Wonka: Charlie, don't forget about the guy who got everything he wanted.

Charlie: What happened to him?

Bystander: Good luck! We miss Superman, but we're glad you're taking over for him!
Supergirl: ... I never thought it would turn out this way... All the time I was Superman's secret emergency-weapon, I eagerly looked forward to the day when I could operate openly! Now that it's finally happened, I — I feel no happiness at the "glory" that's now... mine...

Superman vol. 1 #149: The Death of Superman!

"Now I need to reconstruct my life. My life without Aiden. For as long as I can remember, I dreamt of living without him. Untied... without his constant presence by my side. I got what I wanted. I've never been so unhappy in my life. I feel like... a part of me has been amputated. I'm crying all day. I know it's stupid. Shit... I miss him so much."

Jodie Holmes, Beyond: Two Souls

So you see, Kara... Sometimes, when we get the things we think we want most... they turn out to be a curse rather than a blessing!

Superman, Superman Vol 1 #282

There was an old proverb his grandfather had taught him when he'd been a boy: Take care what you wish for, Tenn- you might get it. Now he understood exactly what that meant. He had wanted to fire the big gun, and he had gotten to do just that. The only man in the galaxy who had shot it for real, at real targets, and look what it had brought him: misery beyond his ugliest dreams.

Tenn Graneet, Death Star

Julius Caesar:[re: a brown-nosing minstrel] Brutus, why does this man follow such a profession?
Brutus: For money, Caesar. He tells me he wants to die rich.
Julius Caesar: And so he shall. Give him this sack of gold and then strangle him.

The Goon Show, "The Histories of Pliny the Elder"

Ophelia: I gave everyone what they wanted. What's wrong with that?
Daisy: Because sometimes what people want isn't what they need.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

There are two main types of MMO. In Player vs. Environment (PVE), everyone's in it together fighting the monsters, and in Player vs. Player (PVP), you can kill each other...because everyone thinks they're going to be Mad Max instead of the guy who tries to catch the razor boomerang.
Angwe taught them the error of their ways. He was like dropping Libertarians into Somalia: the embodiment of everything they claimed to want, and it was killing them. He camped a bottlenecked route to Menethil Harbor, the only path to a couple of mid-level Alliance destinations, and murdered every single person who passed every single time they tried.
There was more online rage against Angwe than against everyone else who's ever been compared to Hitler combined. There is no body part he hasn't been accused of sucking, eating, being or enjoying his mother's. He received death threats, but World of Warcraft death threats are less worrying than fireballs, which can at least pretend to hurt something. Angwe even had an Alliance account so he could listen to his victims, and in an act of combat dickery worthy of the U.S. Army Psychological Ops division it was called "Angwespy."
He was the incarnation of Player vs. Player. People asked if he ever worked. Some wondered if he even slept. They wrote entire FAQs on how to get past him involving teleportation stones, clone characters and leaping from the boat and swimming along the shore instead of going through the port. Players regularly went through more hassle to get past Angwe than real people did to get into America. He was less a dick than a force of nature, a landscape-altering dick deforming the entire world like Zeus or Odin. Beating him was an achievement back before that was a thing.

— Luke McKinney, Cracked, "The 7 Most Elaborate Dick Moves in Online Gaming History"

Be careful how you wish, for wishes can come true

Be sure that every wish you make is one that's right for you

So many people find their happiness in dreaming

But dreams can fool you, and they very often do

Be careful how you wish, remember when you start

To only wish for things you really want with all your heart

And don't go chasing every rainbow in the blue

What more is there to wish than to know that the one that you love loves you

— "Be Careful How You Wish", The Incredible Mr. Limpet

There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.

St. Teresa of Avila

You admired me so much, and now you've experienced the pain I've felt for so long. We finally have something in common. Isn't that what you've always wanted, Cloud? To be just. Like.ME?

Sephiroth after revealing that he murdered Cloud's mother, Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged

The witch cocked its head straight again and narrowed its ancient eyes. "Can you not live as you are now?"

Darren wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "Live? Call this livin'? No one even knows I'm alive."

The witch thought for a moment, the ghost of a smile playing on imperceptibly shrivelling lips. "Then surely, you are free?"

Darren snorted, looked away and then back. "Free? To do what? Yeah?"

Thibor Ferenczy: You wanted the secrets of the Wamphyri. Very well, they are yours. For now you are Wamphyri! As he grows within you, so the knowledge will come. He has arts which you will learn together.

It's a very popular (Western Culture?) theme for people to get what they wish for and regret it.

That entry OAALD entry for "wish" didn't mention that this is something akin to an aphorism. It's something that someone says in response to someone else wishing something out loud, and it's always said in just about the same way, and the other person understands what you mean.

John: "I wish I was famous."
Jane: "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!" (Fame comes with negatives.)

Mary: "I wish I could live to be 200."
Bob: "Be careful what you wish for! (It might be very unpleasant.)

One of the best resources on popular American culture is In particular, you will find volumes of information on this that will help with context at

This might make sense related to a Chinese proverb 點石成金 (possibly translated "turning stones to gold" aka "Midas Touch". See and

Another reference is to a (possibly pseudo) Chinese "three-fold curse": May you live in interesting times, may you find what you are looking for (may your wishes be granted), and may you come to attention to those in authority. (References: and

And finally someone from a wikipedia talk page refers to 求仁得仁 as possibly a reference to "the third curse" (see page if it makes any sense).

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