I’ve started teaching a course at Phoenix University entitled “leading with unemotional intelligence.” It’s a way to really disconnect from all people so that you will understand them better. It’s a technique I learned from my yearlong internship with Tammy Faye. It was on a boat near some island where they harvest albino hedgehogs. I mean its not a really well known place. You may have only heard of it because the Spice Girls did a private concert there in 1999. There were many times that Tammy and I thought we might starve to death, mainly because catching a hedgehog is damn near impossible. But you can read about that later in the memoir and if none of this makes sense to you now, don’t worry it never will.
In 1997 I opened up a business at a kiosk in the Sunshine Plaza mall. It was a joint effort with my mom who was basically over working in education and the twenty thousand dollar a year salary that came with it. The Sunshine Plaza mall isn’t the mall you wanted to be dropped off as a teenager. It’s tucked in a corner and sandwiched in by an aquarium store and a locally owned business that sold boat insurance called Safe Floater. Probably the most recognizable store in the Sunshine Plaza Mall was Hickory Farms which basically made all its revenue around Christmas time selling vacuum sealed smoked meats and cheeses that double as stocking stuffers. I’m not a hundred percent sure but I heard the beef jerky mini sampler is the way to go. Rings and Things. That was the name of our kiosk. We sold silver plated rings, all kinds of them. Birthstone rings. I’m a January baby so my stone is garnet. The word “garnet" comes from the 14th century Middle English word gernet, meaning "dark red." The word is derived from Latin granatum, which means "seed," and is called so because of the gemstone's resemblance to the red seeds of the pomegranate. This is something they won't teach you in school but we provided some pretty excellent educational literature at Rings and Things. We also sold mood rings, belly button rings, 14 karat plated nose rings, shower curtain rings, dehydrated apple rings, and if you were struggling with certain health issues, we had some under the table prescription pills for ringworm. We were a pretty diverse company so I was sort of confused when the business went down hill. Well I guess we never made it up the hill so more or less when the business sank I should say. But Rings and Things is where I met Ryan. He was in the market for s statement piece for his then girlfriend, Urystia, so I suggested a zirconium encrusted silver plated 14 cut amethyst seeing that Urystia was born in February. But he said that he didn’t like the color of amethyst and he preferred Topaz. And that’s when I knew that he was a full fledge limp wristed three dollar bill because no man would ignore the rightful date of birth of their woman simply because they preferred Topaz. And so one belly button ring and two weeks later we were moving in together in a single bedroom apartment off of Taylor Road with our little welsh corgi named Topaz. And even though little Topaz was hit and killed by a Geo Tracker, I think raising him the two weeks we had him was one of the best things Ryan and I ever did together.