In truth, though perhaps Joanna and I may have felt like it was us against the world when were first were married, we haven’t felt that way for a long time. But “You and Me Against the World” is here for reasons besides the fact that we like Helen Reddy’s voice and feminism.
First, the song captures the spirit of always being there for each other, having each other’s backs so to speak, and I’ve always known that Joanna was my strongest ally.
A second reason is more humorous: the lines, “Remember when the circus came to town; how you were frightened by the clown.” One of the many things that my wife and I share is some coulrophobia (which in our case extends beyond being disturbed by clowns to being a bit freaked out by ventriloquist’s dummies and many dolls). We’re not the only ones, of course — even Alice Cooper and Bart Simpson know that clowns can’t be trusted.
Finally, I like how the last verse of the song describes part of what I hope this blog will help do, for Joanna or me, should we not someday die together:
And when one of us is gone,
And one of us is left to carry on,
Then remembering will have to do,
Our memories alone will get us through
Think about the days of me and you,
Of you and me against the world.
We all remember the glorious feeling of the official start of summer — when school ended for another year. After Joanna and I had been married for 20 years, we went back to school, taking classes with students much younger than we were, and got to again experience the rhythm of a school year.
We both ended up with graduate degrees, and I became a teacher. “School’s out for summer” then took on new meaning. So did “teachers’ dirty looks,” for that matter.
Those involved with academia know that our work doesn’t end just because the school year does, but the pace changes during the summer months. That is especially true because I promised myself when I finished graduate school that I would never again teach summer school, devoting that time instead to research, rest, and getting reacquainted with my loved ones. An occasional research sabbatical gives further opportunity for the kind of reflection that most Americans don’t get.
One line from “School’s Out,” the Alice Cooper rock classic, goes “School’s been blown to pieces.” That might be more troubling today than in 1972 (though the worst American school massacre actually came via a bombing in 1927, thanks to a lunatic anti-tax forerunner of more recent anti-government loons).
Suggestions of violence aside, however, we teachers (and our spouses) still typically get the same thrill with the “official start of summer” that our students do; hence this song.