Real Stuff: "Yikes! I've Been Drafted!"


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Thanks. Any day with a new bit of Donna Barr is a good day.


My father told me the story of two brother from his hometown how were drafted during Franco’s dictatorship forty years ago. Until fifteen years ago there was in Spain a compulsory military service draft for those with ages from 17 to 19 popularly called “La Mili”. This military service, in Franco’s times, lasted for TWO whole years.

So these two brothers didn’t want to be drafted but both got good health, great eyesight, and weighted around 140 pounds so they decided that the only solution was to gain weight as soon as possible not to waste two whole years of their lives. Just like in the comic the first time it worked, both brothers gained a shitload of weigh with a rigorous diet of pork rinds, but six months later, and weighing around 280 pounds each, a new draft officer was assigned and decided that “Being more lard than human” was not an excuse not to fulfil their patriotic deeds.

They spend the next two years in a military base 500 milles from home… Fortunately the drill instructor decided that the brothers were unable to fit the requirements to be an infantryman and both of them passed the service working in the quarter’s kitchen.

They got out of the military service even fatter than before.

When my father told me that I tough it was bullshit, but then he took me to a small bar which was managed by two humongous obese men, each weighed around 330 pounds, those men could barely fit behind the counter! Then we asked them if it was true.

Their only regret? They had to looks for new girlfriends after they came back from the base.



I was reading this thinking, “Man, I really like this drawing style. Looks vaguely familiar. Donna Barr? I wonder who…”
(google, google, google)
“She Illustrated GURPS Ice Age! I loved the art in that book!”

Maybe I’ll have to check out her Stinz stuff some time.


Stinz is great. And available as webcomic it seems here:

She illustrated at least one other GURPS book, Swashbucklers.

Desert Peach is well worth a look.


I’m curious about who sent him the file. I’d guess that the medical officer himself sent it, either because he didn’t want to waste his time any more with someone who was obviously going to carry the extra weight until the draft was over, or because he was setting Eichhorn up for a federal charge which he could get out of by… enlisting in the army.

I read a fascinating book on draft dodging in the early eighties, around the time that I turned eighteen and not long after Selective Service registration was reinstated (and made a condition of receiving federal college financial aid). Covered all the major ways of getting out: conscientious objector, going underground, going to Canada, medical, psychiatric, and (something future generations may have a hard time believing) pretending to be gay. There were very specific instructions on how to act like someone who’s barely closeted, including making a point of bringing up homosexuality (by way of vociferously denying it) and carrying a tightly-rolled umbrella even on a clear day.


Huh - I had no idea they wouldn’t draft you for something like being 9 lbs over weight. I mean, that’s nothing. I would thin basic training alone would get you down to “fighting” weight.

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Or there’s Frank Zappa’s preferred method, which worked: Shove a bunch of peanut butter up your bum before taking the physical.


I think that the general idea was that they could afford to be picky, with the number of exemptions from service that they had; if you look at the number of possible draft classifications at the time, there are a ton of them, many of which represent simply being disqualified or given alternative service. (Contrast that with the general lowering of standards for enlistment during the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, during which the armed services had difficulty meeting their recruitment quotas.)

Another way to avoid the draft was to become a teacher.

My father and a lot of people he knew in college swiftly changed majors when the draft began.

I kind of surprises me how my parents and many of my friends parents, who lived through the Vietnam draft as we didn’t, turned out to have well thought out plans for getting us out of the draft. When rumors of a draft during the start of Iraq and Afghanistan popped up everyone’s folks seemed to have figured it out for them already. Sort of the way you might discuss which religion to raise you kids in before you ever had them, seems like the tail end of the baby boom was having that discussion about draft dodging. This despite my family, and many of my friend’s families, having very long histories of military service.

For my families part the plan was (and I guess is? Some of my younger family members would still be technically eligible for the age bracket as it sits now) to send us on a quick family vacation to Ireland. Where we could pick up birthright Irish citizenship relatively quickly and easily (less quick and easy now). Dual citizenship apparently exempts one from the draft, and even if it didn’t Ireland sort of has a thing against conscription. Particularly with having other nations conscript its citizens. So you could get a clear conscientious objection exception. Its very weird to me that this was all figured out before I even knew what a draft was, if not before I was born.


I read it as their having a range of acceptable weights. The higher bound would include overweight guys, up to a hard limit; anything one ounce more than that would be considered too fat for the front, with typical military absolutism.

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Yup, same, even though my parents are a bit older than that. I can’t remember what the plan was, exactly, or even if it was explained to me. But I very clearly remember my dad walking into the room as I was watching the news about the nascent Desert Storm in 1991 and announcing that I shouldn’t worry about getting called up, because he knew how to get me off the hook. (I assume it involved working social connections, knowing my dad. And it probably woulda worked, too…)

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That’s a great story!

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If they used the same weight table today, probably 2/3 of todays young people would be too husky.

Malcolm X (then Little) did it by buying the wildest zoot suit he could find, and pretending to be insane while enthusiastically speaking the most far-out jive he could come up with.

I… do not understand?

yup. my maternal grandmother’s family was from Canada. I was 16 or 17 when Desert Storm jumped off, prevailing upon my shirt-tail relatives was my mother’s vague plan in my case.


I think the idea is that you have someone who doesn’t really get how straight people act in a particular society and overcompensates. The umbrella as a part of your everyday carry would be (or have been) appropriate in, say, the City of London, but not in America in the late sixties by anyone. Ditto for the suggestion that you also wear a suit and tie to the interview. (This scene from The Birdcage–apologies for the crappy quality–gets at the general idea of someone trying, but not quite managing, to pass for straight.)


My wife’s grandfather was in the German army in WWI as a 14 year old. As a veteran, he was promoted to lieutenant when WWII started. Having seen war, he wasn’t very keen on repeating it, so he just convinced his group to surrender to the French at the first opportunity and spent the rest of the war out of action, before getting a nice government job when it ended (he’d been an officer, after all). I guess that was about the best you could do as an unwilling conscript at the time.


I’m surprised it was that easy for him. It’s been a few years ago now but I remember hearing a story on NPR of some German scientists or mathematicians who were in the United States just before WWII. They were recalled back to Germany and forced to serve. One of them convinced the high command that he and his buddies should be part of an attempt to infiltrate the US by getting close in a submarine and then sneaking ashore, which they successfully did.

Upon landing the first thing they set about trying to do was surrendering. It was hard for them to get the authorities to believe that they were indeed German soldiers trying to surrender but they finally managed to do it. They just wanted to continue the work they had been doing before and help the US. And what did the United States do? They executed them.


Maaaaan, you got that right! Uncle Sam has one hell of a weight loss/cardio program guaranteed to melt away that baby fat and a ‘support staff’ that guarantees success. Nine pounds… pffft!

Its all included in their 2-30 year immersive “Military Experience Program” talk to your local recruiter for details.

I dont know how much weight I lost in basic training- I wasn’t exactly chubby going in, but afterward my mother did not recognize me.

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