I should probably know a lot more than I do at my age. I'm a person who likes to search out the positives of any situation rather than point out the negatives. I take most things at face value. If I am told something, I believe it to be true unless I subsequently find out otherwise. I think too many people spend their lives focused on the negatives, and I know I am outnumbered in this. There is good to be found even in the worst circumstances. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
This attitude seems to set a person up as a target for others, however. People being as they are just can't resist a good target.
I have loved the song "Puff, The Magic Dragon" since I first heard it. The story of the boy and his imaginary friend, the mighty dragon Puff, just touched my soul. Often, it made me cry. I must have realized even then that there comes a point in life where you have to leave childhood things behind and move up into the strange land called 'adulthood'.
A few years ago, I came across "The Best of Peter, Paul, and Mary", and of course, this song was on the CD.
I can be a total innocent in some regards. In other ways, I am completely tainted. Yet, I try to use the bad things, the bad experiences,
the things I have been taught through my jadedness, to help others. I take the bad stuff and turn it into a positive. I can't change the past but I can use it to effect change in the present, and the future.
There I was, singing happily along to this song
when reality crashed its ugly head into my little bubble of peace.
"You do know what that song is really about, don't you?" I was asked.
"Of course I do. It's about a boy and his imaginary friend, the dragon who gets left behind when he grows up," I said.
Big laugh here. "It's called "Puff, The Magic Dragon", Beth. PUFF! MAGIC! Get it?".
Um, no. I didn't get it.
He explained that the song is really about pot smoking.
Now, I didn't need to know this. I didn't want to know this. I liked Peter, Paul, and Mary. I wanted to be Mary when I was young, a female hippie, with the long hair and the flowing clothes, sitting around strumming a guitar, singing of "Leaving On A Jet Plane". Hippies were cool when I was young. Of course, "The Brady Bunch" and "The Partridge Family" were cool then too. Flower Power. Hmmmm, wonder if there might have been a hidden message in that?
It's only in the last few years that I've been informed that Dad Brady and the second Darrin on "Bewitched" were gay. Obviously, I must be deliberately hiding from some of the harsher realities of life! These tiny joys in my childhood years got me through some tough stuff.
I don't want to know all this. Please, please, please, just let me keep a few of my illusions. Let me remain ignorant sometimes. As long as these things don't endanger my relationship with God, leave me in the dark. I've dealt with a lot of ugly stuff. Will continue to deal with ugly stuff. Don't strip all the film from over my eyes. I've already lost so much of it. Let me keep a tiny bit of it.
This beautiful song has been destroyed for me. Now, every time I hear it, what do you suppose is the first thing I think of? I can't remove the picture in my head of this group sitting around a table somewhere, barely discernable through the haze of marijuana smoke that wafts around them, stoned, writing their double-meaninged song.