Friday, December 12, 2008

Peter, Paul and Mary are on my list now

Despite having made what may be the best Christmas album ever Peter, Paul and Mary have got me really irked. What could these kind and gentle folk singers have done to make me so angry? Four words: Puff the Magic Dragon.

I hardly even have the words to write about how this song makes me feel. And no, it's not because the song is about pot because they say it's not and despite the fact that I'm so irritated, Peter, Paul and Mary were a fixture in the soundtrack of my childhood and I'm not ready to abandon all hope and faith in them just yet.

I'm mad because the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" is just so freaking sad. I remember really liking it as a kid. I would happily sing along with it whenever it was played* and because I was so young I never even questioned what the song was all about. Then one day I listened to what the song saying, really listened.

It's a horrible song!

In the whole world poor Puff has one friend, a boy named Jackie Paper. Jackie loves Puff and Puff loves Jackie. Puff even plays whatever games Jackie wants to. That's a pretty big sacrifice considering that Jackie likes to play with string and sealing wax.**

Does Jackie Paper appreciate Puff's friendship? No, he does not. He goes and grows up and stops visiting Puff altogether. Puff, now friendless, stop playing along along the cherry lane. He stops roaring. HIS SCALES FALL OFF!

The day I realized how sad this song really is I cried. I can remember it clearly. It was a hot summer day and I was in the backseat of my parent's car stuck to the vinyl seat. I sobbed. I cried for poor Puff and his lonely life and his falling out scales. I made my parents fast forward the tape. Even after the song was skipped I kept right on crying. Peter, Paul and Mary broke my heart with that song.

Now I'm 31 years old and I still can't listen to Puff the Magic Dragon. I'm sure I'll never be able to listen to it. Every so often though the song creeps back into my subconscious. I'll find myself mindlessly humming it and every single time it depresses me. And it makes me angry. That damned Jackie Paper, just who does he think he is? He turns his back on the one person(?) who was willing to indulge his love of sting and wax and then that person(?) dies**** of sadness.

It burns me. It just burns me.

*Eight times a day for the first 14 years of my life.

**As a kid I thought this was ceiling wax. I didn't know what exactly it was but I figured it was something people used in the olden days.***

***I thought this song was really old. Like it was written back during a time when people used to wax their ceilings.

****I assume anyway. I don't think dragons can live through massive scale lose.

PS. Since I really do love Peter, Paul and Mary allow me to share the following video with you. Folk at it's finest and I can't get through it without getting weepy. In a good way.


Sheila said...

I love Peter Paul and Mary with all of my heart and soul. I could sing along with their music all day long!!

Anonymous said...

I love them. Saw them in concert about 10 years ago...

Ben said...

Holy shit, it is "sealing wax"! That makes way more sense than "ceiling wax".

Or at least, more sense.

Belen said...

Oh, you have written exactly my experience and feelings for Puff. I mean, frighteningly exact. The tears, the ceiling wax, the explanation for ceiling wax. Everything. Spooky, but hilarious.

John L said...

Peter has acknowledged that the song has made many sad, and in his recently released picture book of Puff, updates the ending with Jackie returning to Honah Lee with his daughter to visit Puff - puts a whole new spin on the passing of childhood from one generation to another. Check it out! As well, PP&M now always sing the song wth the last verse in present tense inferring that Puff still frolics in Honah Lee and is there for other young hearts.


Stimey said...

Every single damn time I've heard that song, I've cried. Every time. I was literally just telling someone that two days ago.

Alison Wonderland said...

How have I never really listened to the words? I don't know but now I'm glad.

Annie said...

can i be of any comfort in saying that i always thought that is was 'ceiling wax' too? it took me awhile to realise it was a sad song too, but i often have it running roung in my head. thankfully, i remember the tune better than the words.

Anonymous said...

Have to admit this but I loved PPM and still do. Never ever really listened to the words. Think I really liked it because it was easy to sing along too. OH Well

Anonymous said...

Hate to admit this but I loved PPM and still do. Never ever really listened to the words. Think I really liked it because it was easy to sing along too. OH Well

Anonymous said... with many fairy tales and stories, there is an underlying moral to be told. In this case, if you neglect a relationship, it will wither (lose it's scales) and die. I think this is an okay lesson for kids to learn. But, I do like the new version of the song, and the story book, too!! Grandma Judy....