The story makes many allusions to popular culture of the 1960s—allusions that may be lost on us today. For example, the narrator likens losing his car keys to General Westmoreland's "tactical error" to "dig in Khe Sanh." This an allusion to the general's misguided response during the Viet Nam war to an attack by the Viet Cong. The general here contributed to the rising distress over the war by sacrificing American troops to defend territory of little tactical importance. This allusion is important because it provides a contrast between the frivolous, if dangerous, adventure of these college students living cushy lives at their parents' expense and the real dangers encountered by other men their age on the other side of the world. While the allusion is lighthearted, self-depreciating, and hyperbolic, the narrator may also sense an acute need to prove his manhood because he is not participating in the war.
The narrator also makes reference to The Rockettes when one of the "bad greasy" guys kicks him in the chin with a steel-toed boot and also chips one of his teeth in the process. This is an allusion meant to emasculate this "greasy" man by comparing him to a dancer in a popular chorus line that performed at Radio City music hall in New York.
These allusions, working together, show that the narrator is very aware of popular culture. He also is trying to make his own actions look more important and diminish his very threatening opponents. As you read through, you will be able to find many more allusions to 1960s culture.