Draft Dodging

By Alan B. Combs

Most of you, but not all, are too young to remember the days of the military draft, though certain overage politicos these days seem quite willing to recreate the exercise. During the Vietnam War, many considered that being drafted provided many opportunities to get killed along with very few other benefits.

This is the story of one person who tried very hard to become classified 4F, status: draft ineligible. Medical conditions were the most common reasons for this classification. People studied the medical books long and hard in order to simulate draft-excludable conditions during the draft physical. As people got better doing this, the medical personnel performing the physicals, for the most part themselves unhappy conscripts of the draft, also became better and better at catching these malingerers.

Picture a large room with hundreds of young men in their shorts going through the turn-your-head-and-cough and other routines. One young man had become particularly adept at emulating epileptic seizures. About halfway through the examination, he let out a shout, and fell very rigid on the floor. The medical people quickly transferred him to a large, empty, serving table in the kitchen where they could attend to him.

The Head of Medicine came and examined him there while the young man continued to go through his convulsive seizures. Immediately the doc recognized the malingering and the young man was hauled off to the brig, still in his shorts.

When asked how he knew, the doctor answered that it clearly was just another counter fit.

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