I was an English Ed student when the lottery occurred…my birthdate, Nov. 22, was the SECOND ping pong ball to pop up…I remember thinking "Oh hell."
I had a brother-in-law-to-be who was an English major at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory and he was one year older than me and apparently was unlucky too, although I don’t remember his lottery number. Seems like I was a junior at NCSU at the time of the lottery.
I decided to do as he had done–he enlisted and was given a choice of Army occupations and went into military intelligence. He went through basic training, then to M.I. school. Once he graduated the Army gave him a choice of where he wanted to go and he said "Knoxville, Tenn." and the Army sent him there. He served his tour in a downtown office, went to UT with Army assistance and got his M.A. in English.
I went to the Army induction center on Salisbury St. in Raleigh to try the same tactic, but was classified IV-F because of a hearing problem and bad eyesight. The scene during the written test was the same as in the movie "Alice’s Restaurant" and I was stunned, kept having to not laugh out loud. A sergeant came into the room and yelled gibberish at us in a confusing attempt to explain the test before he handed out the No. 2 lead pencils and the tests. I guess that was for guys who didn’t read too well. The questions were extremely odd–the one I remember was a multiple choice that asked "Do you pour beer into a glass with the glass tilted to the side or do you pour it straight into the glass at the bottom?" Something like that. I aced that question, having spent a few hours at the Players Retreat and Brothers Pizza. We did, however, unlike the movie, have our clothes on…we weren’t sitting around in our underwear.
I remember a kid from Farmville with about four teeth was sitting next to me and said "Kin I look at yore answers?" This kid, I’d estimate to be about 17 or 18 years old, WANTED to get in the Army. I said, "Feel free." So he cheated to get into the Army and be sent to Vietnam.
I was sent up the street to a private practice M.D. to double-check my hearing to see if I had cheated on the hearing test. The doctor gave me (thankfully) a pass. I really did have a slight hearing deficiency and it’s gotten worse with age although I can hear fairly well. Don’t need a hearing aid.
I remember when I returned to the induction center an Army sergeant said, "Well, we can take you in the Army, if you want to enlist, even though you have low scores on hearing and bad eyes."
I said, "No thanks, I think I’ll wait ’til the next war."