I was living in the fraternity house when the first lottery was held. Everybody put a dollar (or five or whatever it was) in a pot and whoever had the lowest number "won" the money. As you might imagine, it was a pot no one wanted to win. My friend Joel’s number was the fifth (or seventh) birthday drawn and so he “won”. As he was from Cordele, Georgia, we figured he was cannon fodder. My own number was 262.

When he reported for his physical, though, he tied the shoe laces from his high top Converse All Stars as tight as possible around his ankles, which caused his blood pressure to shoot way up and enabled him to fail the test. In the back of my mind, I always questioned his story, but he always stuck to it and in any event never had to go to Vietnam.