My father served in the US Coast Guard during World War II. My grandfather was an Army soldier who was stationed in France during much of World War I. A few months before the first draft lottery, held midway through my senior year in college, Gramps told me, “I’d cut off my big toe before I’d let them send me to Vietnam.” And he was serious! I remembered Gramps’ words as I sat with a group of would-be soldiers and nervously watched the draft lottery unfold on a black-and-white TV in the canteen area of our dorm at Western Illinois University in Macomb. It turned out I was one of the lucky ones. The number I got was 341, so my big toes were safe and so was I. The resident assistant on our floor was not so lucky; he got No. 2. During the remaining months of our senior years, we both continued to interview for our first “real” jobs. Two days after graduation, I became sports editor of the newspaper in Burlington, Iowa. I lost track of our R.A. I presume he went back home and took his physical exam. But I’ll never forget how he said his job interviews went that spring. “Things would be going along great for about 10 minutes,” he said. “Then the (interviewer) would ask, ‘Oh, yeh, what’s your lottery number?’ I’d say, ‘Uh, 2,’ and he’d say, ‘Oh … well … If you’re still alive two years from now, come back and see us.’ “