If you haven't yet lost the will to live, what are you waiting for? Scared? Afraid of ending up in Hell? Afraid everyone in Hell will find out you're a big baby? In any event, heaven exists here on Earth: It's a live streaming feed of poolside bros at a Holiday Inn.
For the past three years, the "Pool Cam at the Holiday Inn Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida" has sprung up to gladden the winter gloom like a raging boner, or a vibrant yellow crocus; dozens of men in board shorts and women in bikinis lurch towards each other and splash for our amusement. It's a bustling bro confab, a sort of Fashion Week for HPV, a United Nations meeting for dudes who'll yell "FAG!" at you from a passing jeep. Luckily, there's no audio in this stream; just endless Adderrall dance vibes.
I don't imagine many people know about the Pool Cam—and that includes both viewers and stars—but that's what makes it so nice. When I look outside my window, all I see is slush and seasonal suffering. But on the Pool Cam, I have my own private window of shitfaced paradise. The cold aches go away. I smell beer and I feel warmth and I forget how miserable New York is and will continue to be. Have you ever streamed the will to live? I did for hours, and kept a diary.
10:34 am — The water looks clean. There's nobody by the pool. A single palm tree is swaying. You can almost smell the water (Bacardi Limon, urine, sweat, semen, Drakkar Noir, hint of chlorine).
11:03 am — Some dude in a navy jumpsuit strolls by Pool Cam, head down, holding a can of Red Bull and wearing wraparound shades. He chooses to keep on moving.
11:23 am — The pool is still completely empty. There aren't even any birds.
11:24 am — The navy jumpsuit fellow walks to the edge of the pool and stares out across it. One more day, he tells himself—just one more day.
11:52 am — Life! Six women have appeared in the pool, bobbing like porpoises. One of them heaves her friend upward. Guys! It's Friday. Have we ever been so happy? A maintenance man pushes by an enormous trash bin, presumably filled with condoms and empty Lime-A-Rita cans. He's got one of those trash-poking sticks with a pointy end. Don't poke the ladies, friend.
12:03 pm — It's officially afternoon, and we've witnessed our official first bad decision of the day: a woman just walked past the pool with her three small children. I'm sorry miss, but your kids now all have mouth herpes and are Diplo fans.
12:05 pm — The pool girls clustered into a tight, floating ball of limbs, like a tropical rat king. There's no sound but I imagine they were screaming SARA(H)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of them left the pool and acted as if she was going to throw in some sort of stuff animal. Instead, she jumped back in the pool. Fuckin' party and never stop.
12:19 pm — The young women have toweled off and departed, and I'm all alone again. My editor Max Read walks over to my computer and asks what the hell I'm doing. I explain there were just some girls hanging out the pool a second ago, I swear, and that they'll be back soon probably. Stream imitates life. Skeptical and, worse, clearly disappointed in me, he walks away.
2:28 pm — Guess I dozed off there for a bit. My thighs feel radiant. This place feels reanimated: a few dozen people are now frolicking, separated into soggy, porous clusters. Two gentlebros toss a football back and forth; sometimes they catch it, sometimes not. Does it really matter? Of course not. Even a drop is a catch when you're chilling this hard. I'm open, guys.
2:49 pm — The football is gone. In its place, a frisbee. I wish I could hear what everyone's talking about.
2:51 pm — Just spotted the day's first full case of beer. Poolbrews. Floaters. Aluminum oysters. Crack 'em, Brady.
3:38 pm — Woop-woop: we've got a cooler on the scene. The pool is filling up, the sun is out, and everyone's in the mood for a handjob. When does dancing start? I'm getting antsy in my seat now that my friends have come to the pool.
3:41 pm — I've now been streaming the Panama City Holiday Inn for six hours.
3:42 pm — American flag shorts and a tank top in a single friend group.
3:43 pm — What percentage of the people in this pool have driven drunk in the past 24 hours? I bet 100 percent but it's hard to be sure. Pool dudes have begun to shake their butts and stick their arms straight into the air, suggesting that music just started to play, or that a devastating earthquake is about to rip through this carefree scene.
3:47 pm — The janitor wheeled out his large trashcan again, stared at the carnage, and gave up. How can you even tell what's floating trash at this point? A volleyball just landed next to a guy's head and splashed him. He seemed startled.
3:56 pm — In the spirit of the day I'm listening to a Skrillex EP and pretending my medication doesn't block the euphoric effects of MDMA. At the moment, literally everyone present (on Pool Cam and here in my chair) is white.
3:56 pm — What's this guy's deal? I'm keeping my eye on you, chief.
4:01 pm — The stream is slowing down considerably. Blinking in and out, and freezing like a margarita. BroBible.com linked to it, which is probably sending a glut of vicarious viewers with thigh tattoos and neon t-shirts to the Pool Cam's servers. I hate dealing with crowds, especially during my freaking spring break!
4:08 pm — I switched wifi networks and the stream is doing a little better. There are so many balls flying through the air right now. Man hands spiking volleyballs, man hands throwing footballs, woman hands clutching soft, smooth bodies in the water. So many hands in the air—any hands that aren't grabbing or throwing are locked firmly in the air. The mere idea of this pool is enough to give you a social anxiety disorder that didn't exist before.
4:12 pm — This picture makes me think that love might not be a lie after all. That girl in the center of the screen is bouncing on her flexing-up-and-down toe bones and sipping out of a large plastic cup while the bro next to her holds what looks like a 7-11 Big Gulp filled with Fireball. I'm not sure it's actually Fireball but I've never had a hunch like this before. I bet they're holding hands over the water, or at least suggestively grazing crotches.
4:15 pm — Phone break. Yo. It's Eric. I'm at the pool. haha nah. Aight see u soon.
4:17 pm — A man in a SECURITY windbreaker is speaking into a mic he's got clutched against his chest. Two men next to him are smoking something, hunched over one another.
4:20 pm (hell yes) — I don't want to alarm you motherfuckers but someone just wheeled over another cooler filled with delicious beer. Also, this guy is double fisting what appears to be a Big Gulp container and a comically oversized tropical drink flute. No one has offered me a drink yet which is just plain rude given that I've been poolside for almost seven hours, and I've got a bigger heart than anyone.
4:23 pm — I like these guys, a genuine bro trifecta: one wearing a mesh jersey, one shirtless with a backpack, and one wearing green shorts and doing a "steering wheel motion dance" to his seat.
4:28 pm — Two poor, deeply underpaid cleaning staffers are picking up empties and crumpled beer case boxes. One of them was just struck by an errant volleyball.
4:39 pm — I'm not really sure how to best describe what I just saw, but I have to try: A large group just jumped out of the pool at the exact same time and started doing a choreographed dance. Then, my stream froze, and when it resumed, they were gone. I'm either contact drunk or there's a ghost in my computer—a party ghost.
4:52 pm — The Big Gulp lovers are toweling off, sharing an embrace, body heat, and odors. Not Big Gulps filled with liquor, though—they've got their own.
4:55 pm — The sun is setting on the Holiday Inn Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida. I wish I could stare at this stream for hours more without being hospitalized. I wish it weren't 28 degrees in New York. I wish I had a boozy Big Gulp of my own, and I could spend eternity trapped in this pleasure vacuum with Sean, Richie, Jessie, Mickey, Sean G., Eliana, Laura, Sean F., and Ted "Squirt" Goldstein. But I can't. It's time to clean up the cans. It's time to get out of the pool.