Thursday, April 19, 2012

Number 27

I am number 27. The war had been in stalemate despite weekly official statements we were winning and of course, this was before one of Johnson's cronies took out a slide rule during a meeting with General Westmoreland and based on the good general's report, it was determined all the Vietcong had already been extinguished by a multiple of four.
Ouspensky, in his book, "In Search of The Miraculous " described  as he was walking in St. Petersburg prior to World War I, that he saw a truck loaded with crutches.Literally hundred of them piled on the wharf to be loaded. They were crutches for a war that had not yet started, and for legs that had not yet been injured or blown off. The inference of suggestion as a scripted outcome that is a play upon human nature as a self harvesting organism was and remains unmistakable.

The war was televised and sanitized so as no scattering of body parts were pictured to disrupt what officially was treated as a proverbial football game with the scores of each side's causalities were an inherent, scheduled portion of each nightly newscast. . Corespondents were ducking and diving, yet it was treated as if this chaos was a blithe game of monopoly, a competition based on little markers and the roll of the dice. A highly structured and abstracted real estate venture. As Noam Chomsky later observed, the same hand picked corporate media "experts" kept the dialog on topic with no one questioning what the point of the exercise was, while Dow Chemical sold the jell that napalmed the  civilians, women, children and old men along with the opposing forces, remotely from the air. The fireballs were televised with no charred corpses being visible as the "experts" reinforced and parsed the "game play", the focus of which was a zero sum "victory."

The draft lottery had the transparent veneer of some rationality that democracy was at play in determining the order of  cannon fodder that upheld the paranoiac domino theory of the Secretary of Defense at that time who would later be reincarnated as Donald Rumsfield.
My father drove me to the train station in silence and there was quite a crowd on the special train of meat being sent to the packing house and I was intimidated, nervous and not quite squirming in my seat. At the indoctrination center, we, the unwashed, were lined up in a sort of assembly line manner for a physical and medical examination. One of the tests was to measure my heart rate. Without his eyes meeting mine, as if he were daydreaming of his upcoming vacation from his monotonous duties, he in the white coat, wanly and lightly placed his stethoscope on my chest for a few seconds and I noticed he did not look at his watch. "" he murmured... in a monotone as the scope was withdrawn.
We sat in what appeared to be a classroom on folding chairs with a armrest sufficing for a writing surface, as papers were handed to the occupants in the  front row of seats and told to hand the remaining papers back. I looked at my copy, which was simply a sealed envelope with a letter sized, cardboard data processing card that was numbered with  four small circles behind each row. Number two pencils were handed out. It was an IQ test. We were told, when finished, to bring the papers up to the desk. I was seated in the back of a row.
The Sargent gave the go ahead to!
Instead of opening mine, I watched the others earnestly and dutifully open theirs and begin. All forty began to squint, look at the ceiling in great concentration and then mark their answers. It struck me in a gestalt that my intelligence was being questioned in more ways than one.
It then struck me that there was a choice beyond this set and setting, beyond the choice of which of the four circles I would fill in.  On every line, I filled in every circle, which took about five minutes and as I rose from my folding desk everyone turned to glance at me albeit furtively. The walk up the aisle was experienced in slow motion up to the desk where the good Sargent was reading a magazine.I put down the stuff in front of him and he appeared startled. I could read his mind through his eyes. "This kid's a genius!"
I sat for about what seemed like a half hour as one by one each made their way to the desk in the mass compilation of their assigned task.Every so often the Sargent would look up at me and simply stared in my general direction in a quizzical daze.
As he left the room, he told the "class" to wait here as the results were to be tabulated. I had been hoping to be shuffled off to the next task, my results having been left behind to be discovered at a later date. Apparently there is No Exit from karma.
The Sargent swung the door open upon after another half hour or so had passed.
I got up and approached him and he looked constipated as if I had complicated his bowels.
"Come with me!"
Was I to be shot, imprisoned or returned for a retake number two?  Made to sharpen a warehouse full of pencils? We walked down the shiny linoleum corridor and he stopped in front of a fine, polished mahogany door that I duly noted.
"Wait here" And then he left.
I was ushered in by a man who appeared gargantuan his uniform festooned with pins. medallions, stars and other "bling".Behind his desk were framed lithographs of planes zooming around, tanks going uphill and ships exploding. He asked me to be seated and held the IBM card in front of him as if it were radioactive, yet his demeanor was determined.
"Mr Duensing, you dint try very hard on this test."
"Yes, thats true."
"Here,s your meal pass and get out of my office."
A few weeks later I received a new draft card marked 4F that cited mental incompetency

Number 27 had passed the test.

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