If you want to get me to do something I don’t enjoy, (i.e., physical activity), a good way to go about it is to add in something totally unrelated that I hold dear to my heart (i.e., washed-up 80’s bands). Using my highly-tuned mathematical mind, I’ve boiled it down to the following formula:

Running a stupid race + General Public = Jerry waking up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday to put on short shorts and track shoes

Yes, I’ve decided to participate in the Major Footwear Company (just because they’re sponsoring it doesn’t mean I have to plug them here) Run Hit Wonder race, which features artists like Devo, Tommy Tutone, Tone Loc, A Flock of Seagulls, a “Mystery Band” and the aforementioned General Public performing all of their hit along one of two routes — a 5K or a 10K. (Note to Major Footwear Company: General Public had better be on the 5K route or there’s gonna be TROUBLE!) Now someone call Behind the Music. We’ve got some ten-second epilogues to splice in!

I have all of nine days to prep for this thing, which is so short a training window that I may as well not train at all. So I’m not training at all. I’m not even pulling out my metric conversion chart to remind myself just how far a K is. Instead, I’m exercising my music mojo by compiling awesome One-Hit Wonder playlists (oh, where have you gone, Scarlett & Black?), nitpicking the lineup (er, didn’t Tone Loc have two hits?) and, mostly, by trying to guess the identity of the so-called “Mystery Band”.

First of all, could there be anything more ridiculous than having a mystery one hit wonder band? So let me get this straight. This band is so big that it’ll be some huge deal when their identity is revealed, but at the same time they’re not big enough to have scored a minimum of two hits? I’m guessing Major Footwear Company was just having trouble booking someone for the last slot. (Unless it’s Patrick Swayze singing “She’s Like the Wind”, in which case, kudos, Major Footwear Company.)

So, let’s think about this. It has to be someone most people will recognize by name alone. That rules out Guiffria. It’s totally possible that it’ll be someone ho-hum like the Motels or Missing Persons or Toni Basil, who’ve been whoring themselves out to every county fair and high school prom for the last 20 years. Or it could be some self-important Adult Contemporary never-was who makes us all want to shoot ourselves, like Bobby McFerrin or Edie Brickell. Or maybe, if we’re lucky, it’ll be some recently reunited or still-plugging-away European band who actually have talent but were only briefly popular here, like Dexy’s Midnight Runners or Madness or a-ha.

And that got me to thinking about one band who really would be a major score. If there’s any chance, Major Footwear Company, could you please please please book Frankie Goes to Hollywood? C’mon, Frankie. It’s the perfect comeback venue. It’s actually in Hollywood. (Technically, downtown LA, but close enough.) You guys came so close to reuniting on VH1 — sooooooooooo heartbreakingly close. Okay, maybe Major Footwear Company’s offer isn’t any more appealing than VH1’s. If fact, it’s much, much worse. It’s a lower profile, you only get to play one song over and over and your “audience” will be a bunch of sweaty people who run up, grab a cup of water and then move on to hear “Funky Cold Medina” at the next stop.

But I care, Frankie. I don’t care how fast I run or what my time is or how many people I beat to the finish line. Hell, I’ll probably collapse from exhaustion three blocks into the thing. I’m going to this stupid race because I care about you. You’re my victory, my cup of water, my four-minute mile. And if you play at the 4K mark, I’ll stop and listen to your music. I’ll appreciate the historical significance of your reunion. I’ll even wait until everyone else is gone and let you play your other songs. The others can race past you if they want to, but I’m just going to wait there, respectfully, sipping water perhaps, and enjoying the moment.

And when you tell me to relax, dammit, I’m gonna listen.

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