I had already decided I wasn’t going to go when my number, 55, was pulled.

My wife wanted me to move to Canada, but I thought that was the chickenshit thing to do. I was a patriot.

While I have absolutely no objection to universal national service for all men and women, there was no way I was going to have anything to do with the military or the Vietnam War.

I registered as a conscientious objector although there was no way in hell I would qualify as a CO. I wasn’t afraid of getting killed in Vietnam. I was afraid of killing innocent people. I didn’t want that on my conscience. (Even though they didn’t have a name for it then, I knew I’d suffer PTSD the rest of my life.)

I fought for CO status for two years, but it was a losing battle. I was reading books on how to survive in prison as a CO when it finally came down to having to take the Army physical. It was just as Arlo Guthrie had described.

I flunked the physical. Bad knees. I was declared I-Y, and later IV-F.

Thus, I was "deprived" of the "opportunity" to refuse to be drafted. I will wonder to the day I die if I would have had the courage not to take that step forward and be drafted. I like to think I would have chosen prison over illegal war — but I’ll never know for sure.