My year of reckoning was 1968. I had already decided to volunteer for Navy flight but after acing the written test was told I didn’t pass their physical. I had no interest in being a swabby or being in the Air Force (bad uniforms) and the Marines were a little too scary, so I went with five of my friends to the Army draft center near Union Station in KC. What ensued has already been well-chronicled by Arlo Guthrie in Alice’s Restaurant. I recall at one point there were around a hundred or so of us standing in a basement hallway in our shorts with clothes bundled in hand. While we were discussing what might come next, a Marine gunnery sergeant proceeded down the line and told ten or so of the best physical specimens to follow him. Much later, as we left the building, we noticed a few of these lads, already shaven and wearing marine-color workout clothes, scrubbing the floor in a side corridor. That was the Marine draft. Anyway, five of the six of us ended up failing the Army physical. Myself and two others were scrubbed for having had chronic hay fever and/or asthma, one frat brother had a trick knee he could pop out of socket whenever he so desired, and the fifth somehow beat the hearing test (no doubt had a high pain threshold). The sixth guy got selected and never spoke to any of the rest of us again.

By the time the draft lottery came along I had been declared IV-F, a change from my temporary I-Y, which roughly meant that if the Viet Cong invaded Seattle, I might be called to a desk job in DC. Such are my recollections, no doubt slightly embellished.