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A Texas Boy vs. an Air Traffic Control Bully

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2024 3:03 am

A Texas Boy vs. an Air Traffic Control Bully

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 17, 2024 3:03 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, you've heard that you "Don't Mess With Texas." This story from our regular listener/contributor Roger Latham, from Fort Worth, Texas, exemplifies that statement.

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I'm Katja Adler, host of The Global Story. Over the last 25 years I've covered conflicts in the Middle East, political and economic crises in Europe, drug cartels in Mexico. Now I'm covering the stories behind the news all over the world in conversation with those who break it.

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All you can stream with Zumoplay. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. To search for the Our American Stories podcast, go to the I Heart Radio app or Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Now it's time for another story from our regular listener and contributor, Roger Latham from Fort Worth, Texas. Let's take a listen. John Steinbeck once wrote that Texas is a state of mind.

I've come to understand that in more ways than one and agree with it 100%. In this story, I've got to have a little preface, that being that I'm a rather slight individual. In my youth, I'm probably five foot nine inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. I wasn't much of a Texan, but I was one. In 1967, I joined the United States Army and later after my joining day in basic training, I was sent to Keisler Air Force Base to undergo air traffic control training.

I successfully got through most of that until the very end. At the very end, I was at a lunch line one day when I overheard another friend of mine from Texas named Lewis. He was talking to another private about a situation and he said, Jackson's been picking on me and I don't know why. I said, boys, let me inject myself here for a second. Why don't you just take and slap upside the head that big boy and explain to him in that way that you're not going to take any more of his guff. And Lewis said to me, well, he's six foot two and I'm five nine and a half and I don't want to get killed. And I said, well, you're not going to get killed because a bully and that's what he is, a bully.

They don't want to fight. They want to just humiliate smaller individuals and you're a smaller individual like me and he doesn't want to fight. So the other guy, the other private said to me, said, well, why don't you go over and slap him upside the head yourself? You're so tough. And I said, well, he ain't picking on me.

So I see no reason to go start something, but it's not my style. But, you know, I think that Lewis here ought to go take a shot. About that time we went through the lunch line and that big Jackson boy, about six foot two and two hundred and twenty pounds standing next to me. And I told him, Jackson, I hear you're trying to pick a fight with old Lewis over there. I just think I ought to give you a little warning. He said, a warning?

What are you talking about? And I said, well, there's something about him you don't know. He said, yeah, what's that? I said, well, he's from Texas. He said, what's so big about that? I said, well, you're not. Well, he saw my comment on that and he said, how do you know so much about it?

I said, well, I'm from Texas, too. Well, he pushed me real hard and I pushed him back and we split off and he went one way and I went the other and went through the lunch line. And then later in the evening, he went to dinner and I didn't.

I was ready to take a shower and go to bed. So I went back to the barracks and took a shower and was standing by my locker in my skivvies when this big guy Jackson walked by me having finished his dinner and he gave me a real hard look. Well, I reciprocated in kind and he said, who are you looking at? And I said, well, I guess I'm looking at you. He said, you think you're so tough?

Why don't we step outside, teach me all about Texas? And I said, well, I can't right now. All I have on is my skivvies. I said, we can go upstairs if you want to and he said, all right, I'll go upstairs. So we climbed the stairs and the old army style barracks and all the rest of the crew soldiers that heard that followed us and he squared off and I squared off and he punched me and knocked me down.

Well, he could hit pretty hard. But I jumped up and I squared off again and I threw a punch and missed and he hit me and knocked me down again. I jumped up and I'm determined and I'm going to go back at him and he hit me again, knocked me down.

And this time I kind of stunned and I'm kind of shook up a little bit. And I noticed his two feet were on either side of me and I glanced up and he had his hands drawn back like he was going to hit me in the face while I was down. So I darted between his legs and popped up on the other side and turned around to face him.

When he turned around to face me, I did the most beautiful kick I've ever kicked and I kicked him right in the testosterone generators and he fell on top of me. He said in a very odd way, in a kind of a gasping way, you want to quit? And I said, hell no, I ain't quitting.

You started it, you have to quit. He said, I quit. So I crawled out from under him and I'm walking back downstairs and all the rest of the soldiers are patting me on the back saying, way to go Latham. He's been picking on all of us and you straight him out. So we went downstairs and the big boy had to go take a shower and I laid down in my bunk. I'm going to bed and the lights are starting to turn out and this big boy Jackson's walking by me and real loud so everybody can hear it. He says, yeah, Latham, we'd like to put a picture of your eye on the bulletin board tomorrow. And I said in equally loud tone, yeah, we can put next to a picture of your testosterone generators. They're all flattened out now. And the whole barracks busted out in laughter.

I mean, it was, it was like I was doing a standup routine and everybody loved it. He was slinked off in there, took a shower, went to bed. I never heard from him again. He never wanted to fight again.

Well, that was the end of that story, except henceforth and forever. I always thought about the fact that every time, because a bully is always a bully. A bully is a state of mind, just like Texas is a state of mind. And he's going to pick on somebody else, but I guarantee you sometime in some air traffic control tower, he's going to be bullying somebody else. But before he does it, he's going to say to that individual, are you from Texas?

Because if he is, he's going to leave him alone. That's a true story. 1967. And we love to tell listeners stories here on the show. If you have a story, any story, send them to our American stories.com. You are listening to one of our listeners and regular contributors, Roger Latham, telling a Texas story, a Texas state of mind story, and a good job on the storytelling and production and editing by Greg Hengler. And again, send your stories, listeners stories to our American stories.com.

They are indeed some of our favorites. The story of a Texas boy versus the air traffic control bully here on our American stories. Here at our American stories, we bring you inspiring stories of history, sports, business, faith, and love. Stories from a great and beautiful country that need to be told.

We can't do it without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love our stories in America like we do, please go to our American stories.com and click the donate button.

Give a little, give a lot. Help us keep the great American stories coming. That's our American stories.com. I'm Katja Adler, host of The Global Story. Over the last 25 years, I've covered conflicts in the Middle East, political and economic crises in Europe, drug cartels in Mexico. Now I'm covering the stories behind the news all over the world in conversation with those who break it. Join me Monday to Friday to find out what's happening, why, and what it all means. Follow The Global Story from the BBC wherever you listen to podcasts.

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