There were three reasons to get drunk that night:
1. Your number was higher than 175 and you were safe from the draft,
2. Your number was lower than 135 and you were going to be drafted, or
3. Your number was between 135 and 175 and nothing at all was concluded by the lottery.
That just about covers everybody, doesn’t it? I took my number 258 and tied one on in celebration.
Over the subsequent years, I somehow, some way, made the transition from liberal radical to conservative businessman, from hippie to capitalist.
I used to burn buildings, now I finance them.
A few things haven’t changed, however. I still think Jane Fonda peaked in "Barbarella", and Cream is still one of my favorite groups.
An interesting, ironic story . . . .
In May 1999, I befriended an 84-year-old man who lived near my home. He had a large sign in his yard, an expression of grief over the loss of a wife of 61 years. It was obvious to me that whoever lived there was very old, grieving and needing to purge. After driving past his house for more than a year, I decided spontaneously one day to give him the opportunity to do that.
I pulled into his yard, knocked on his door and said to him "I just wanted to drop by and express to you how much I admire a man who honors the memory of his wife like you do with that sign in your yard." I figured a line like that would get the conversation flowing.
I told him my name. He said "My name is Lester Maddox." And that is how a former hippie, a former campus demonstrator, became the last confidant and best friend of the segregationist icon of the civil rights era for the final four years of his life. He would have buried me under the jail in 1969. Instead, I received first-person history from the former Georgia governor who knew everyone in national politics from 1967-1971. I chauffered him places 2-3 times per month for four years (he died in 2003). I met many famous state and national politicians, current and from the past. I came to know and respect a significant historical figure who was often mislabeled and misunderstood.
It was one of the finest experiences of my life.