I’m going to preface this post by saying that, for me, crying isn’t a terribly rare occurrence. Owing largely to unhappy confluences of hormones, headaches, and general surliness, I have been known to cry over printer jams, wrong turns, and insomnia. Even so, I’ve never been one to cry often over movies or TV shows. Okay, so I have to change the channel when the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials come on, but that shit is real. Besides, I’m already a monthly donor to the ASPCA and give regularly to a few different animal shelters, so I feel justified in not subjecting myself to heart-wrenching images of abused and neglected animals.
I’ll admit, there are a few songs that can bring me to tears, either because the lyrics just touch me in some way or because they bring back emotional memories. Unconditional by Willy Porter gets me almost every time. And then there’s Puff the Magic Dragon.
Yes, a song ostensibly about a magic dragon (yes, I know it’s allegedly about marijuana, but let’s set that notion aside for the moment) usually brings me to tears. Actually, I’m fine for the first part of the song. Puff and his friend Jackie Paper are frolicking and having a great time. They have fancy stuff like sealing wax (which, by the way, I used to think was ceiling wax–like floor wax but for the ceiling). Everyone is happy in the land of Honah Lee.
This is where I fall apart.
One grey night it happened, Jackie paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.
His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave,
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.
Yes, kids grow up. They move on and set childish things aside. Does this song make me cry for a desire to go back to childhood, to a seemingly simpler time when I had fewer responsibilities and my whole life ahead of me? Perhaps to some degree, but this part of the song made me cry even when I was a kid. Mostly, I just feel so bad for Puff! Suddenly his best friend quits coming around, and he feels abandoned, depressed, and bewildered. I know it’s just a song, but for some reason, it gets to me. What if my best friends suddenly decided that they had outgrown me? Damn, that would suck! I wouldn’t feel much like playing along the cherry lane either! I get sad. I tear up. Then I get angry.
You deserve better than Jackie Paper, Puff. True friends don’t abandon one another without explanation. Screw Jackie Paper! Puff, I’ll be your friend.