Thursday, November 03, 2016

Give a shit?

Some months back I struggled to put together the headboard for an Ikea bed (and was reminded the items one gets at that store are actually Swedish torture devices masquerading as affordable furniture), and I vowed it was the last fucking thing I'd ever put together from there*. As I was alone I didn't refrain from venting my frustration through profane utterances. At one point I declared (in reference to the possibility of being required to assemble some such item in the future) that I "didn't give a shit" in some hypothetical wherein I may have to leave my wife and child in order to escape another agrivating assembly scenario.

It was not one of my finer moments, but that's not the point here.

Reflecting later on that expression—"I don't give a shit"—I was somewhat intrigued as to how that became a common idiom. It connotes a significant lack of concern for consequences with the indication of anger and/or exasperation; it carries a bit stronger message than merely saying "I really don't care." And while I have no difficulty believing there would be a need for such a sentiment, parsing out the literal meanings of the component terms there is the suggestion that if one does care about the ramifications of a decision one "gives a shit," and in that scenario it raises the question: To whom is one giving that shit?