It was approximately -87 degrees last Thursday morning, which found me working from home and Chooch staying home from school.
God made this happen.
Because God wanted me to discover the greatest thing in the whole entire world: Gospel aerobics.
Let me tell you how it happened: It was approximately 3PM last Thursday and I was about to take my lunch break. (I was working late shift that day.) I had already exercised that morning, but it was bothering me that Chooch has basically been lounging around all day watching videos on his phone. So I put YouTube on the TV and announced that it was time for him to exercise. I typed in “kids exercise workouts” or something equally as generic, and one of the first ones that came up was some kids dance workout.
It looked like it was from the 90s, and it was hosted by a black man with a huge smile who definitely seemed to be having more fun than the kids behind him. Chooch and I became instantly obsessed and were falling all over each other in our feeble, giddy attempt to follow along with the routine. By the end, we were straight exhausted just from all the laughing. The host likes to make lots of thrusting motions while grunting “Uh! Uh!” and it’s just too much for assholes like us to handle.
Later that night, I looked at Chooch and asked, “Do you want to do another one?” And that is how our lust for birthday party videos on YouTube was replaced by HIP HOP WORKOUTS FOR KIDS FROM THE 90s!
We found one and Henry was not amused. Not even the sight of us lumbering through the Running Man made Henry crack a smile.
The next day at work, I was excited to talk about my new obsession.
“What makes a person purposely look for hip hop workouts from the 90s?” Glenn asked, because he is stupid and just doesn’t get it. But then I decided to Google the host of the first routine Chooch and I did to see if he has other videos out there, and what I found was something I like to call THE MOTHERFUCKING JACKPOT.
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Gospel aerobics! Paul Eugene is my hero! I excitedly shared this with several co-workers and said, “Well, I know what I’m doing all weekend!”
“Poor Henry” was the general response to that.
Then I signed Glenn up for the newsletter (Paul uses MAIL CHIMP! All of my fellow Serial fanatics will appreciate that), but then a few minutes later I heard him mumble, “I’m not confirming this.”
A few hours later, I broke the Friday afternoon silence to giddily shout, “AND he danced on Soul Train!”
“You’re still on that guy’s website?” Glenn asked incredulously, and then almost immediately realized what a dumb question that was. I have a very low threshold for obsession resistance.
I absolutely could not wait to get home work and put on some gospel aerobics.
After dinner, Chooch and I chose a workout from Paul’s YouTube channel and Henry mumbled, “Goodbye.” He was off the couch and upstairs before the CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN warning had left the screen.
And then it was just complete mayhem. Chooch puked at one point from laughing so hard (at least he cleans it up himself now) and then I accidentally stepped on his foot when we were trying to shuffle to the left. I can only imagine what it sounded like to outsiders, because we were laughing so hard, we were SCREAMING, like two drunk, mentally challenged cartoon characters who just had a piano and anvil dropped on their respective heads. Basically, we are the Toon Patrol and Henry is Eddie Valiant.
And apparently, all of these videos are from 2004-present; they only LOOK like they’re from the 90s.
Afterward, Chooch ran upstairs to weigh himself and claims that he lost a pound. Yeah, because he PUKED.
Later that night, Henry was horrified when he found out that there was a strength-training segment and that Chooch and I were unsupervised, having violent laughing attacks with weights in our hands. Then after Chooch went to bed, I made Henry sit there while I fell down the gospel aerobics rabbit hole. I found one called Faithful Fitness but it was just a bunch of prudish white people who quite possibly had less rhythm than me and did very little to inspire me to get off my fat ass.
So I went back to PEugene. And then I made him my profile picture on Facebook.
“Do you think Kristy will do gospel aerobics when she comes over tomorrow night?” I asked Henry.
“I hope not,” he mumbled. BUT SHE DID! And by “do gospel aerobics” I mean that we sat on the couch, drinking alcohol and watching the best of Paul Eugene.
“Why does it look like he’s in Hell?” Kristy asked.
Because he’s dancing away the demons!
(This song is pretty much in my head all of the fucking time now.)
While Henry was making dinner on Sunday, Chooch and I mutually agreed that it was Paul Eugene time. Chooch doesn’t like the gospel ones as much as I do though (he said they scare him), so we put on several of the lame kid workouts and by the time we made it to the part where Paul forgets how to count during jumping jacks, Chooch and I simultaneously peed our pants. (Sometimes Paul holds up the wrong number of fingers when he’s counting down, too.)
These workouts make us scream with laughter….oh my god, almost like we are being EXORCISED how haven’t I made this connection before!? It’s like, literally a douche for our douchiness. The only thing missing is Paul hosing us down with Holy water at the end, making us smoke and sizzle like a Gremlin in a Jersey Shore hot tub.
Our levels of hysteria rose so high that night that Henry stormed over and turned the TV down in a huff. And when that wasn’t enough, he came back from the bedroom with HEADPHONES FOR HIS PHONE. Obviously this just made us laugh even harder.
Last night, I did two more PE workouts and before I knew it, my heart rate was up like a cross-carrying Simon of Cyrene. One had a move that Chooch insisted was called “Strangle the devil” (it really did sound like that’s what Paul was saying through his gritted smile) and the second one was a riveting routine called the Victory Dance, set to an uplifting jam about a new day, and even though I tripped over my right foot and felt something snap in my back, Paul told me that I’m a winner no matter what and it occurred to me that while I started working out to gospel aerobics ironically, I THINK I HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY ALL OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL CALISTHENICS. Paul’s positivism and exuberance for evangelical exercise has made me religious. I’m going to make a shirt this weekend that says Paul Eugene is my Co-Pilot and there is nothing that Henry can do about it, except for maybe not show me how to make a shirt that says Paul Eugene is my Co-Pilot.
Paul’s workouts are soundtracked by holy house music to give some rhythm to his churchy chacha. Somewhere during the routine, Paul will interject some liturgy while sweat drips from his temples and I have found myself actually paying attention to what he’s saying. It’s not uncommon for Paul to interrupt his own two-step preaching in order to sing, “I see the Kingdom!” in time with whatever uplifting worship tune has him toe-tapping and then remind us that it is A NEW DAY. Fuck all that bullshit that happened yesterday. It’s time to do the Sanctified Line.
The grapevine has never felt more pious, jumping jacks so Jesus-y, squats so sacrosanct. You guys. This totally started out as a joke, but now I think I RESPECT PAUL*. He makes me happy. Even today, when the trolley was late and then I sat near someone who smelled like a bagful of curly fry seasoning, I felt totally OK with life.
Oh Christ. I think I need to procure me some Pontius Pilates.
*And maybe even God.