When I was eighteen I knew nothing of this; I thought it was a man’s manly duty to serve his country. (Boy! Was I ever wrong!)
Stick a pencil in your ear and rupture your eardrum. A small price to pay for dodging the Draft. But there were much easier ways to get out of military service. If you were lucky enough to work in a pencil factory sweeping up the wood shavings and the company you worked for had a DOD (Department of Defense) contract supplying pencils for the Army you were part of The War Effort and thus exempt from conscription. Truth be told: most of the Military-Industrial Complex Eisenhower warned us about was in fact exempt.
If you were a farmer or rancher feeding the populace (not just the military) you too, would be exempt from the Draft. If you were in law enforcement, or a mid-level bureaucrat, or even a petty elected official on even the lowest level of government, you too, would be exempt from the Draft. Run for Public Office: The Lazy Man’s Road to Riches.
The Draft was hardly a universal one, it was called the Selective Service System simply because it was highly selective in whom they chose to send marching off to war. It goes without saying that, if you were a woman, you were of course exempted from the Draft.
There were myriad ways in which to dodge the Draft: Act Crazy (feign mental illness) however you think crazy people may act. Pretend you’re a flaming homosexual or the Messiah for all that. Commit a major felony and wait out the war on the taxpayer’s dime. Get a doctor to sign off on some sort of exotic disability. Eat your way into morbid obesity and high bloodpressure.
Go into the Ministry or become a Rabbi or Priest even if you’re a non-believer (this explains much) or claim CO status – Conscientious Objector; or that you belong to a pacifist sect. Of course, Protestants and Catholics generally believe there is such a thing as a “just” or “justified” war – so they were basically SOL. (Shit Outta Luck)
Still many more ways to dodge the Draft: tell them you’re married with a wife and children to support; claim you are the sole support of your widowed mother or that you are the last male of your lineage (which, by the way, defines genocide).
Dodge direct combat by joining the Coast Guard, the Merchant Marine, the Army Reserve, or the National Guard (NG), etc.
Join the Peace Corps –
Suicide is always an option.
Failing these things, and if you could afford it, you could attend college and beg for student deferments; hoping the war would end before the deferments ran out.
During the Vietnam era the anti-war protests didn’t really heat up until the rules were changed regarding the many and various exemptions and the SSS (Selective Service System) started dipping into that elite pool of rich kids sunning themselves and playing guitars on college campuses.
And if you found all this too distastful or difficult you could just run away to Canada and live humbly as a busboy until the end of the war and wait patiently until you received a Presidential Pardon so you could return home just in time to collect your inheritance.
Am I embittered by all this? Not so’s you’d notice.