Thanks to Congressman Alexander Pirnie, I was the first to win the lottery on December 1, 1969. I was nineteen years old. Other winners escaped to Canada. I did not. I thought about it, though. But I was more afraid of a military prison than being shot by a bunch of Charlies, whom, we were told, couldn’t shoot straight, anyway.
Even so, when I touched down in Vietnam, I assumed I wouldn’t see my twentieth birthday. There were other things that could kill me quicker than a bullet: snakes, tigers, and crocodiles just to name a few. Then there was a pile of diseases I could get.
My tour lasted four months. Oddly enough, the bullet that hit me saved my life. I didn’t realize I was hit until my adrenaline sucked the air out of me. The bullet went in my chest and out my back. I collapsed to my knees and passed out.
I woke up in a med tent. I was drowsy. I couldn’t make out what the voices around me were saying. I asked for a cigarette. One was jammed in my mouth. It hurt to breath in the smoke. I thought I was going to cough up a lung.
I was sent home.
Is it possible for someone to win the lottery twice? I am living proof that it can happen.