Column: Couldn’t — or could? — care less


Commentary by Curtis Honeycutt

I care approximately zero about owning a watch. I can’t imagine (at this point where our phones rule our lives and do everything for us) ever needing to own a watch. I don’t care about them as fashion accessories, nor do I need to have one as a status statement. After I take a watch off, my arm hairs all stand at attention as if the commander of the arm hair army is passing by.

So, should I say, “I could care less about watches,” or, “I couldn’t care less about watches?”

I should correctly say “I couldn’t care less about watches.” This implies that my level of caring about watches is already so low it may as well be nonexistent. It’s not possible for me to care any less about owning a watch. Even nerdy calculator watches are redundant at this point unless you’re wearing one, ironically. And I don’t really see the point in the smart watch.

With my smartphone, I have no need for a watch. As a man who wears male clothing, my pockets are big enough for my wallet, phone and Burt’s Bees lip balm. Don’t get me started on pockets and gender privilege. It’s totally a thing. Men have an upper hand even when it comes to functional, amply sized pockets.

When you say, “I could care less,” it implies that you can, in fact, care less. Unless you’re using this phrase sarcastically, you’re using it incorrectly. “I could care less about humans,” the uppity housecat yawned to herself. First of all, that cat can talk! Secondly, she’s implying that she has the capacity to care less about humans, even though she has not exhibited any evidence that she has ever cared about humanity (with the exception of when she’s hungry).

Perhaps the key to reducing our anxiety and stress is to start caring less about things out of our control. We get so consistently worked up about the littlest things. On the other hand, maybe you couldn’t care less about this entire topic. If that’s the case, you’re already ahead of your time.