When plans for the lottery were announced, we were all nervous. Some of the kids in my dorm immediately filed for CO status, and their local draft boards in Wisconsin almost as quickly turned them down. Others sought medical deferments–or in some cases tried to induce them…I was in a state of mild denial. I just thought the whole lottery thing would go away. It didn’t. And on the day the lottery numbers were announced, everyone was very quiet on my dormitory floor. I found out my number was 303. I had lucked out. One of my closest friends, Glen, wasn’t as lucky. His number was 36. But Glen was the eternal optimist. I’ll always remember his reaction: "so I’ll go..and I’ll come back." That was Glen. A remarkably talented and gifted writer from Rockford, Illinois. He had deep insights into literature and the human condition, and always asked important questions that challenged the status quo. He was the first on the floor to have a black light and Jimi Hendrix posters in his room. He was the first on the floor to smoke weed. And he was the first on the floor to go to Vietnam. He wrote me often from his outpost, which was on the border between Vietnam and Cambodia, and later on the border with Laos. His letters were publishable, brilliant, and painted a clear picture of the absurdity of the war. What was he doing there? He wouldn’t give details except to say that he was helping to run a CIA-funded radio station, where he said he was spending most of his time scoring weed for his colonel–and writing me. And he remained the eternal optimist. He said he’d be back soon. He even sent me back one of his green army shirts with his name sewed on above the breast pocket. I still have that shirt today, a reminder of how the lottery changed both our lives. He had the low number and went to Vietnam. I got the high number, and went on to be a correspondent for Newsweek and covered the war at home. In the end, Glen kept his word. He went to Vietnam. He came back, and thankfully in one piece…physically. But mentally he was never the same–once he returned his letters were stream of consciousness rants, and then, he simply stopped writing and disappeared. I couldn’t find him in Rockford or in Madison.The last I heard  about him was that he was working as a groundskeeper for a small municipal golf course in Colorado. And that was more than 25 years ago. He had the low lottery number. And I had the high number.