Claremore Past: Erratic, eclectic, or eccentric


Originally published in the Oologah Lake Leader, circa 1989. 

Admit it now! When you read one of those success stories about “How I made my first million” and the interviewee goes on for paragraphs about how he had a plan from age three to be a successful tycoon at thirty, don’t you want to throw up?

You know the type: a beautiful child, blond curls, dry diaper, never drooled, never smelled like sour milk, called his parents by their first names, mastered three musical instruments before he could walk and started right to high school because he was so bright.

You remember him. Straight As. Eagle Scout at 12, captain of the chess team, wore ties to school and had a plastic pocket protector for his ballpoint pen collection. That’s right. The one with the horn-rimmed glasses, the slide rule and the one who always had his homework done on time and turned his science project in early.

You remember him. He is the one who has the well-ordered lifestyle.

I was the other kid. I’m 30 years older now, and I’m still the other kid. No one has written about my success story or my well-ordered life. After all these years, I’m still not all that well-ordered. My life is a delightful hodgepodge of what I like to think of as orderly chaos.

In the past 10 years, I’ve commanded a police SWAT team, been an art/craft store owner, attended three more colleges or universities, been the president of a janitorial company, run successfully for public office, built some restaurants, started a second family, taught some college classes and discovered Green Country.

No one has written about me in a national magazine, but until I get listed alphabetically on the classified page in the local press, I plan to go on with my eclectic lifestyle.

My smorgasbord style has been well received here in Green Country. I’ve made friends with rich and poor, famous and infamous. I’ve met three millionaires and two murderers. I was fired for the first time in my life here in Rogers County, collected unemployment for the first time, and yet was able to pay for a car that cost more than my first house.

I’ve been seriously asked to consider attending a seminary, been a captain for the sheriff of the county, and been urged to run for the legislature.

Life in Oklahoma has been anything but dull. I sure hope that I can stick around to find out what I’m going to get to do next.

-by James R. May


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