DRAFT DODGER RAG

(PHIL OCHS) (1964)

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LETTERS OF PETROLEUM V. NASBY
by David Ross Locke (1833-1888)

SHOWS WHY HE SHOULD NOT BE DRAFTED

August the 6th, 1862.

I see in the papers last nite that the Government hez institooted a draft, and that in a few weeks sum hundreds uv thousands uv peeceable citizens will be dragged to the tented field.
I know not wat uthers may do, but ez for me, I cant go.
Upon a rigid eggsaminashun uv my fizzleckle man, I find it wood be wus nor madnis for me to undertake a campane, to-wit:

1. I'm bald-headid, and hev bin obliged to wear a wig these 22 years.

2. I hev dandruff in wat scanty hair still hangs around my venerable temples.

3. I hev a kronic katarr.

4. I hev lost, sence Stanton's order to draft, the use uv wun eye entirely, and hev kronic inflammashen in the other.

5. My teeth is all unsound, my palit aint eggsactly rite, and I hev hed bronkeetis 31 yeres last Joon. At present I hev a koff, the paroxisms uv wich is friteful to behold

6. I'm holler-chestid, am short-winded, and hev alluz hed pains in my back and side.

7. I am afflictid with kronic diarrear and kostivniss. The money I hev paid (or promist to pay), for Jayneses karminnytiv balsam and pills wood astonish almost enny body.

8. I am rupchered in nine places, and am entirely enveloped with trusses.

9. I hev verrykose vanes, hev a white-swellin on wun leg and a fever sore on the uther; also wun leg is shorter than tother, though I handle it so expert that nobody never noticed it.

10. I hev korns and bunyons on both feet, wich wood prevent me from marchin.

I dont suppose that my political opinions, wich are aginst the prossekooshn uv this unconstooshnel war, wood hev any wate, with a draftin orfiser; but the above reesons why I cant go. will, I make no doubt, be suffishent.

PETROLEUM V. NASBY

One of the most surprising results of the conscription was the amount of disease disclosed among men between "eighteen and forty-five," in districts where quotas could not be raised by volunteering.
Locke's note.

reprinted in Walter Blair, Native American Humor, New York, 1960, pp. 410-411.


Lyrics as performed by Phil Ochs, Newport Folk Festival 1964,
transcribed by Manfred Helfert.
Original Lyrics Copyright 1964 Appleseed Music Inc.


Oh, I'm just a typical American boy
From a typical American town.
I believe in God and Senator Dodd
An' in keepin' old Castro down.
And when it came my time to serve
I knew better dead than red,
But when I got to my old draft board,
Buddy, this is what I said:
Sarge, I'm only eighteen,
I got a ruptured spleen
And I always carry a purse.
I got eyes like a bat,
My feet are flat,
My asthma's getting worse.
Yes, think of my career,
My sweetheart dear,
My poor old invalid aunt.
Besides, I ain't no fool,
I'm a-goin' to school,
And I'm a-workin' in a defense plant.

I got a dislocated disc
And a racked-up back.
I'm allergic to flowers and bugs.
And when the bombshell hits,
I get epileptic fits,
And I'm addicted to a thousand drugs.
I got the weakness woes,
I can't touch my toes,
I can hardly reach my knees,
And if the enemy came close to me
Why, I'd probably start to sneeze.

Yes, I'm only eighteen,
I got a ruptured spleen
And I always carry a purse.
I got eyes like a bat,
My feet are flat,
My asthma's getting worse.
Yes, think of my career,
My sweetheart dear,
My poor old invalid aunt.
Besides, I ain't no fool,
I'm a-goin' to school,
And I'm a-workin' in a defense plant.

I hate Chou En Lai,
And I hope he dies,
But one thing you gotta see:
That someone's gotta go over there
And that someone isn't me.
So I wish you well,
Sarge, give 'em Hell,
Kill me a thousand or so.
And if you ever get a war
Without blood and gore
I'll be the first to go.

Yes, I'm only eighteen,
I got a ruptured spleen
And I always carry a purse.
I got eyes like a bat,
My feet are flat,
My asthma's getting worse.
Yes, think of my career,
My sweetheart dear,
My poor old invalid aunt.
Besides, I ain't no fool,
I'm a-goin' to school,
And I'm a-workin' in a defense plant.


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