I used to hear my mom say “Hell’s bells” fairly regularly. It was about the limit of her profanity, except for an occasional “Dammit to Hell,” which was required for situations of greater magnitute. I’m afraid my own profanity goes a bit further, although I like to believe that I save it for situations that need emphasis. My dad used to say that people who used a lot of profanity didn’t have good vocabularies–so not wanting to be accused of that, I have tried to think of original or not-so-original things to call people when I am mad at them.
But once in a while, I must use a well-placed “a#*hole,” “mother f@*&$#er,” or the less offensive “douchebag” to adequately express myself. The reaction among my acquaintances at work when I do this is absolute shock. I had one friend say this week, “I have never heard you use that word!” to which I replied, “I’ve never been mad enough before to NEED to use it.” Expletives. Great for emphasis.