Be careful, not paranoid

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By The Staff

I’m sometimes amazed at the actions of others.

Even with all I’ve seen through my job, some things still catch me off guard and leave me scratching my head in bewilderment.

I had one of those head-scratching moments this week after watching Cox’s Creek resident Mark Mudd on “American Idol.” The reality show held auditions in Louisville last fall and Mudd decided he would try to earn a spot on the show by singing George Jones’ “White Lightning.”

He tried his best but the judges didn’t think it was right for the show. After a few moments of awkward silence, they told him the bad news—he wouldn’t be continuing on in the completion. Obviously disappointed, Mudd began to walk out of the room.

“You all take care now, be careful,” Mudd said as he exited the audition room.

It was then, things took a strange turn. One of the judges, singer Paula Abdul, got a puzzled look on her face.

“Was that a threat?” she asked Mudd just before he left the room.

Apparently his “be careful” comment didn’t sit right with her and paranoia began to sit in.

Mudd tried explaining that he didn’t mean any harm by the comment, that rather it was just something people said.

“Normal people don’t say that,” Abdul said, further showing her ignorance of Mudd’s intentions.

Again, he tried explaining. But Abdul insisted he meant the judges harm and his comment -- that most of us say probably without thinking on a regular basis – was a threat to their precious lives.

Eventually Mudd left the room probably completely baffled at what just happened and Abdul announced she was flying out that night suggesting she was still worried about the nonchalant comment.

I and many people with whom I talked couldn’t believe what had happened. Mudd, who had not even made a scene when he didn’t make it to the next round, was apparently sending secret threatening messages to at least one judge on the panel.

At first, I was frustrated someone could take the comment to such extremes, then I just felt sorry for Abdul. She lives in a world, whether created by her environment or medications, in which people aren’t nice. A kind word can be seen as a threat in her world and her “normal” means not telling people to be careful.

I love living in a place where people do tell you to be careful in just everyday conversations, where people say please and thank you and where people smile and say “good afternoon” when you pass them on the street.

Abdul would live in constant fear around here, where people really want to know the answer to the question, “How are you doing today?” She would be in constant panic at local stores as cashiers broke into casual conversation as they rang up your purchases.

And who knows how she would interpret the fact that local drivers actually stop for pedestrians and those crossing the parking lot at local retail stores.

While I think this county and its people are special, I don’t think local residents’ behavior is out of the norm for the majority of America. My belief is that Abdul lives in a world where people just aren’t nice and that’s just what she’s gotten used to.

Maybe, the Idol producers made more of the situation than what actually happened. Maybe some clever editing was done to make Abdul look more paranoid then she truly was. You can never be sure. But Mudd was taken aback by how his comment was interpreted by at least one judge. But if you take that  scenario out of the equation, Mudd said he wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. He also said he would try out again.

That says even more about his character, especially considering he didn’t make it to the next round.

As for Abdul she should be careful. She should be careful not to be sucked into a world that’s no longer nice. That’s no way to live. Just ask Mudd.

Lisa Tolliver is editor of The Kentucky Standard in Bardstown.