Why I Don't Cuss
This is notwithstanding the general attitude typified by a character in a movie, the name of which I have long since forgotten, who said that he could never trust a man who didn't curse.
The first and most basic reason for my avoidance of the habit is that to this day I still try not to do things that my long-gone mother wouldn't have wanted to see me doing. Her principles have stood me in good stead because they stood her in such good stead despite her having to undergo much more trying times than any I have ever seen (except one), and I am trying to emulate her in living for a long time with a clear mind and a clear conscience.
Yet, just as I do, she still knew all the "bad words" and how to use them, though she did so in only one context, ever, and that was in a series of bitter arguments that she had with her second husband during the several years of that situation. On top of the earlier shocks of my father dying way early and then to find a little later that I had been born that hideous, inferior, awful thing commonly called a "nigger," and the worst kind, too, that is, a male one, which meant that not only did the mere sight of me bring on instant and chronic suspicion but also that I was barred by law and by custom from most of the public schools and almost all the restaurants, department stores, and other establishments downtown in the Nation's capital, from those marital affrays of my mother and my stepfather I got a third gigantic psychological jolt in my juvenile gut, which caused me ever afterward not only to swear off swearing but also to avoid verbal confrontations of every kind.
That has turned out to be a big stroke of luck, and it ties in with another reason why I don't cuss. The habit of using bad words means to me that a person is in a state of chronic anger, and I regard anger as a voluntary illness, right up there with choosing to have a strep throat or even a rare blood disease.
I also don't cuss because I know a lot of other words, and I take a huge delight in digging them out of the slowly fogging recesses of my mind and using them. Unlike a lot of people I wasn't off somewhere playing with myself in a dark corner of the cloakroom while my classes were being taught the uses of that wonderful though widely abused language called "English," or more accurately, "American."
Yet another reason is that there's a definite hypocrisy involved in using profanity. Unless you are a complete ...bounder, you have to develop the skill of using it in some circles though not in others, and I would not be capable of always remembering when and when not to do which. I believe in talking to everyone the same way. There are too many other things that need to be kept in mind meanwhile.
P.S. I just thought of yet another cause. My mother often threatened to wash my mouth out with laundry soap if she ever caught me using bad words, and sometimes something makes me think that she actually did that, once, because on my tongue I can still taste that powerfully acrid brown laundry soap that housewives used to use. Yet I really have no real memory of that ever happening, and I keep wondering whether instead I've been able to imagine such an incident so accurately that I've always been completely unable to separate the fact of it from fiction.