I was a junior at the University of Wisconsin and lived with 5 other guys in a dumpy house on Orchard Street. We gathered in our living room that evening to watch the lottery. I "won" when my number was drawn at 22. I was relieved in a way since I knew that I had an automatic 4-F because of chronic bronchial asthma. However, there were still doubts since my allergist, a Colonel in the reserves, was a hawk and was annoyed with my family’s desperate desire to keep me out of the service.
Two years later, after graduation and loss of my student deferment, I received my orders to take a physical down on Jackson or Van Buren in Chicago. I spent the preceding evening smoking cigars and cigarettes without taking meds and really screwed up my breathing. I had trouble walking up the stairs at the physical, had pretty blue lips, certainly had to have sounded terrible at the last station where they actually listened to my lungs, yet I passed the physical. I had just started my first post-college job that week and had reassured them that I would fail the physical. I had to go in the next day with the news that I had passed. I was terrified. I did get my allergist to submit the medical records but had to wait 30 days or more for the 4-F. During those four weeks, the recruiters started calling daily. They told me that I did great on the Army Intelligence test and that I should join their service and go to OCS. I was more freaked out by the day until the 4-F finally came. I held onto that card until I was in my forties just in case.
One other event comes to mind. In December of 1968, I took one of my friends to register for the draft at our local draft board for our neighborhood in Chicago. They had moved to a different address from where I had registered. We had to go to a diner in the building and called the number on the back of my card. We got a tape recorded answer (must have been one of the early machines). The announcement was "This is Rent-A-Casket" One of the most surreal moments of my life was spent listening to that message. My friend and I still talk about that phone number. Our wives did not believe our story for the longest time.