On Friday night I saw my significant other, Peter Yarrow, who performed a set at Emanu-El. Oh, Peter Yarrow, my first love. The first record I ever owned was Peter, Paul, & Mary's "Puff, the Magic Dragon." It was a 45RPM record. I don't recall what was the Side B. I don't even remember ever playing the Side B. I was three years old. I would go downstairs every day and in my chubby, uncoordinated little fingers, insert the cookie into the record's hole, place the record into the phonograph, and listen to Puff the Magic Dragon, who lived by the sea. Over and over and over again. I don't know what my mother was doing upstairs. Probably cleaning and glad to have PP&M babysit. I adored that song. I was happy to own the record, so I could play it over and over. The concept of repetition compulsion hit home. The first few songs I can remember hearing were "Puff the Magic Dragon," "Don't Sleep on the Subway," and "These Boots were Made for Walking."
But I owned Puff. When I was 10, the first prerecorded tape cartridge I owned was PP&M's "Leaving on a Jet Plane." When he sang that in Emanu-El, I sang along. I remembered all the lyrics, every verse. There was something comforting about it. Why has no-one written about what that song's sublimnal's were? I read in "The Rape of the A*P*E that Puff was about marijuana usage. Sorry--don't believe. Never used it. Never will. Never tempted. Don't like the smell--can't imagine the taste is an improvement. Don't like feeling high and out of control of my behavior.
But once again, the mot juste is "safe." I felt safe with PP&M. When Mary Travers died, I felt like I was a lamed-vovnik. There are at all times a certain number of guitarists. When one dies, another steps up to fillthe void. In 2009, when MT died, I knew I had to learn the guitar. Well, this was overdetermined. I was recovering from a bike accident where I ended up with a broken left thumb and a harmed right middle finger (the fun one). My occupatonal therapist would not go past 12 sessions--otherwise, she has to fight with insurance, which takes up her time, so fuggedaboutit) I wanted to continue my rehab and felt that learning guitar would assist in finger flexibility and mobility. And Mary was dead. The situation seemed urgent. And I stepped up and learned to play guitar.