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Mike Turpen turns book into Oklahoma City University scholarship dollars

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Turpen’s new book is at the heart of an effort to raise $150,000 in Oklahoma City University scholarship funds.
by Ken Raymond Published: July 27, 2014

Mike Turpen may be one of the most optimistic men alive; after all, he’s been a leading Democrat in Oklahoma’s staunchly Republican political landscape for decades.

He’s also a funny guy, overflowing with aphorisms, folk wisdom and quips that get people thinking beyond their immediate laughter. I had the fortune of sharing a meal recently with Turpen, a former Oklahoma attorney general, who talked about books, travel, family and his political and legal careers.

These days, much of his time is spent on fundraising and co-hosting the local television program “Flash Point.”

We also spoke, albeit briefly, about his new book, “Turpen Time: The Wit and Wisdom of Mike Turpen: 50 Shades of Life.” The book, published by an Oklahoma press, is a series of short chapters recounting episodes from his life; all are preceded by a pithy saying representative of the topic.

His life has been memorable. As he notes in the preface, Turpen has served a variety of roles over time.

“I’ve been a Tulsa World paperboy, a Colgate-Palmolive soap salesman, a Sears Santa Claus, a Steak & Ale waiter, and a McKissick Products forklift operator,” he wrote. “I’ve also been a Muskogee Police Department legal adviser, a Muskogee County district attorney, attorney general of Oklahoma, and a Democratic candidate for governor of Oklahoma.”

Throughout it all, he’s operated by “ES, EM, ED,” a simple mantra encouraging himself and others to make the most of life by consciously experiencing “Every Second, Every Minute, Every Day.”

Some chapters in the book are amusing; others are poignant. Most successfully straddle the partisan line, while acknowledging that Turpen was a player in Democratic politics, particularly during the Clinton era.

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by Ken Raymond
Book Editor
Ken Raymond is the book editor. He joined The Oklahoman in 1999. He has won dozens of state, regional and national writing awards. Three times he has been named the state's "overall best" writer by the Society of Professional Journalists. In...
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