“Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.” I remember sitting in front of our record player as a little child and I would watch the 45 rpm record go round and round. Little Jackie Paper “loved that rascal Puff.” I could visualize riding on Puff’s tail as little Jackie Paper did and hearing the roar of Puff. It was my favorite song. It was sad when little Jackie Paper abandoned Puff. Little did I know, I was being taken for a ride. Or was I? Was it really about “chasing the dragon,” trying to attain the first high you’ve ever had which is always the best? Could it really have been about someone on a drug trip?
Just a few years later came H. R. Pufnstuf, who was my friend when things got rough! In the intro, Jimmy, the only human character in the show, gets into a boat as well. Come to find out, it was a trick by Witchiepoo to capture Jimmy’s talking flute, Freddie. Jimmy with Freddie lands on this Island where He tries to keep Whichiepoo from stealing Freddie and putting him with her collection of magical objects. All the while, he’s trying to get back home away from this enchanted island. Of course, Pufnstuf and his supporting cast is there to assist Jimmy against the persecution of Whichiepoo.
I was just a kid. I had no idea that Pufnstuf was a euphemism for getting and being stoned. I had no idea that the “Puffing stuff” character was made to look like a cannabis bud, green with red hair. It seems that I was a child under the spell of Whitchiepoo. “Can’t do a little ‘cause you can’t do enough!” Chasing that dragon again and I didn’t even know it.
Now we’ve got vacation shows that insist, “If you just go with it, you’ll have a really great vacation! Just trust us!” Those who go on the vacation are televised as going on the vacation of a lifetime. And it is true for these episodes. They had no idea they would get to go to Hawaii, eat at the 5 stars, stay in the best places, and receive the VIP treatment. All they had to do was take that blind step of faith!
That proposition is made several times a day. “If you go with us, we’ll give you the vacation of a lifetime! You’ll get a real career making the best of money. With the looks you’ve got, you can go really far and we need people with the qualities you possess!” A girl takes the bait. She ends up in a place under the complete control of human traffickers, beaten into submission and broken down of spirit. She becomes a sex slave until her body is consumed by the diseases of the trade or discarded after a total breakdown of exhaustion.
That’s not just in other places of the world. Atlanta is now the hub of human trafficking in the United States. The U S State Department estimates that 244,000 American children and youth are at risk of sexual exploitation.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”(I Peter 5:8-9)
Written by Keith Hood. Keith operates Cross Cultural Musique in Leesburg with his wife, Janice. He has a blog at http://soulfoodfromthehood.spaces.live.com.