Being in-charge, no matter how routine the duty has never really been my idea of enjoyment because something eventually goes wrong, like the time during tech-school while I was a student leader.
Not everything that got screwed up was my doing. That’s especially true when it came to guys who were looking for ways to piss people off.
One such person was Airman Robert Hinton. He was a mouthy, blow-hard and bully when it came to getting his way.
Airman Michael O’Gorman asked me to hold on to the one and only vacuum cleaner we had on hand for use on the first-floor. I took it from him thinking it was an easy enough to do and set it upright by my bed near where my desk was.
A couple of minutes later Hinton steps into my room and says, “I want the vacuum.”
“No,” I told him, “I’m holding it for O’Gorman.”
“I don’t give a shit,” he returned.
“And I don’t care what you do or don’t give,” I replied, adding, “I said I’m holding it for O’Gorman.”
Hinton walked away muttering. I had hoped that would be the last I hear from him, but it was too much to hope for.
A couple of minutes later Hinton reappeared at my door, demanding that I give him the vacuum cleaner. I simply told him, “No!
He stood there glaring at me. I returned to the homework assignment I had laid out on my desk, pretending to not notice him anymore.
“Jus’ give me the God damned vacuum!” he shouted.
Hinton had found my button and he was pushing it. “No! And that’s final,” I shouted back, “Now go bug someone else!”
He turned and walked down the hallway, cussing at me as he went. I laid the vacuum cleaner on its back and pushed it up against my bunk.
I wanted to hide it from Hinton’s eyes.
A few minutes later Hinton was back at my door. Again he demanded that I give him the vacuum cleaner.
This time though, I told him I didn’t have it anymore. I knew it was lie.
“You fucking liar,” he screamed, “I can see the God damned thing right there!”
Hinton pointed to where the vacuum cleaner lay, tucked up against my bed.
“I told you, I don’t have it,” I continued to say, knowing full good and well he could see it. I was daring him to challenge me as by now I wanted to pound the shit out of him and leave him laying in a blood heap in the hallway.
He started around the end of my bed, but I met him before he could go the side the vacuum cleaner was on. I stopped in front of him, effective blocking his path.
Hinton was a bully and unprepared to fight so he didn’t have the stomach to push by me. Furthermore, my bravado left him confused as he wasn’t used to any one standing up to him.
We stood there looking each other in the eye, and then he stepped back and turned away. As he retreated down the hallway for the third-time, he called me a “fucking liar,” once again.
I hollered after him, “You already said that!”
A couple of minutes later, O’Gorman stepped inside my doorway and asked for the vacuum cleaner. By that time I was more than happy to get rid of it.
“Hinton wants it after you,” I told him as he wheeled it away.
Three lessons I carried away from the encounter included never letting someone get me so angry that I can’t think straight; never tell a lie even if it’s knowingly designed to piss someone off; and never promise to hold something for anyone at anytime.