I sent shirtless cell phone shots of myself to, like, I'd guess 300 people in 2010.
I was 29, and in the best shape I'd ever been in. In the morning, I would literally roll out of bed and onto the floor into push-up position. I could do more than 100 without stopping. I installed a pull-up bar in my garage (20+, easy). I ran two miles every day (<12 minutes) and was able to bench press 160 percent of my own body weight. I never got very big -I don't think I ever exceeded more than 135 pounds--but that's because I only ever wanted to become Skinny Strong. So that's what I became. I don't think I owned a shirt that year.
But today? Eww. Gross.
My precious six-pack abs have been replaced by a bulbous, splotchy ponch. My arms used to look like they were carved out of wood. Now they look like when you leave cereal in the milk for too long. My legs are barely even legs anymore –they're just blobby masses that happen to have kneecaps.
Hand to God, the last time I tried to do push-ups, I made it to nine and then couldn't stop farting. Hand to God, I own seven pair of pants but have only been able to wear two of them these past nine weeks because they're three sizes bigger than the others (I used to refer to them as my “Fat Pants”; sadly, now they are simply “pants”). Hand to God, I actually ran this past Saturday, but it was solely a matter of not wanting to die: I was crossing the street to get to a corner store to buy M&Ms that I desperately needed. I bought two packs because I couldn't decide between the peanut ones and those one with the pretzels inside. It was 9 a.m.
I'm getting old. For the first time in my life, I feel it. I have sludge in my veins. Movement is death. If I roll around too much in my sleep, I wake up winded. I don't want it this way, it just has to be. And since it's easier to reminisce than it is to do squats, I'll just continue doing that until I die.
I spent four hours listening the Blackstreet station on Pandora because it reminded of being a teenager. All that Teenage Shea had to do was sneeze three or four times and his stomach would look like Jean-Claude Van Damme's in Kickboxer. Total dick.
At any rate, some of the best moments:
Blackstreet, “Don't Leave Me”
This was the first song that came on. That's how I know God loves me.
Usher, “My Way”
This was the lead single from Usher's debut album, My Way, which came out in 1997. That album remains to be one of my all-time favorites, and definitely the greatest project Usher has ever made. I was a sophomore in high school the year it came out. I think I tried for, like, maybe two weeks to wear ski goggles as an accessory. I wasn't having a lot of sex back then.
Jodeci, “Freek'N You”
The best line from this song: “Every time I close my eyes, I wake up feeling so horny.” Like, that's just some ill shit to say someone, bro. If I had a billion dollars, I'd use half of it to hire Daniel Day Lewis to act that line out 1,000 different ways. Daniel Day Lewis is AMAZING.
Related: How many times do you think the Jodeci got drunk, called 911 acting very serious and desperate, then, when asked what was wrong, responded by singing, “Every time I close my eyes, I wake up feeling so horny”? If I was in Jodeci, I'd have done that shit infinity.
Semi-related: I read on Jodeci's wiki page that they're part of a tour that will feature other groups from the 90s. There aren't enough exclamation points.
Dru Hill, “These Are The Times”
I wish Sisqo was still alive. 🙁
Soul For Real, “Candy Rain”
Blackstreet, “No Diggity”
Going from Soul For Real's “Candy Rain” to Blackstreet's “No Diggity” is, in no uncertain terms, the greatest come up of all-time. In 2042, when they make the new history books, this'll be in the number one spot, for sure. It'll beat out the time the Lakers flipping Vlade Divac into Kobe Bryant in 1996 and justthismuch edge out Black people turning White people into slaves. You can't run, White people. That shit is coming.
Definitely not the best TLC song, (that'd be “Red Light Special,” duh), but it's certainly better than that shitstorm “Waterfalls.” God, that song was THE WORST. What are you three even talking about? Don't go chasing waterfalls? If the song was like, “Don't go chasing bears,” or “Don't go chasing lightning bolts,” then I'd get it. That's good advice. But, bro, waterfalls? If I was a waterfall chaser, my catch rate would be 100 percent. They don't even move.
Dru Hill, “We're Not Making Love No More” ; Boyz II Men, “End of the Road”; Mary J. Blige, “I'm Goin' Down”; L.S.G., “My Body”
Total music erection.
Jagged Edge, “Let's Get Married”
He said, “We ain't getting' no younger, so we might as well [get married].” Print that up on a greeting card, yo. That's a winner.
Jagged Edge: Kings of Romance.
Trey Songz, “Neighbors Know My Name”
Trey Songz is the pits. You know how everyone argues that the NBA was ultra soft between the time that Jordan retired and Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant became unstoppable basketball gods? Trey Songz is like that. I mean, Vin fucking Baker was on the USA's 2000 Olympics Mens Basketball Team. Trey Songz is basically R&B's Vin Baker.
R. Kelly, “Bump and Grind”
Matthew 26:18 –Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, bumping and grinding them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Blackstreet, “I Can't Get You (Out Of My Mind)”
Probably the best song about cheating on a girl that's ever been written. Every guy that's ever been caught misappropriating a relationship (every guy, basically) has had the exact conversations had here.
He's like, “I love you because you're the best.” She's like, “Nope. You cheated on me.” He's like, “But, boo. I LOVE YOU. I made a mistake. Let me love you.” She's like, “Nah, bro. Move around.” He's like, “You were cheating too, I just didn't know.” She's like, “Dude, come on. What about that one girl?” He's like, “I WAS JUST GIVING HER A RIDE.” She's like, “Biiiiitch. And the other girl?” And then he's like, “Okay, you got me.”
Every fucking time.
In high school I was in a relationship with this one girl for a fair amount of time. We were in love, but it was that kind of in love where the guy cheats on the girl basically every chance he gets. We ended up breaking up about two weeks after I moved to a different city to attend college. (Strange how a relationship built on lies and deception didn't hold up). We got into an email fight afterwards, and I remember sending her an annotated list of all of the times that I cheated on her while we were dating.
Again: Teenage Shea: total dick.