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      Ask Richardson Anything--origin story

      It began on the last day of school last year.  It was 7th hour, a class full of seniors, 15 minutes before the bell was about to ring and end their high school career.  We were just clowning around when a student said, "Mr. R., I'm only going to be in high school for 15 more minutes.  Teach me something."  I thought for a minute or so about something I had learned about life that I could teach them in my rapidly dwindling 15 minutes.  I said, "Before you marry someone and tie your life to them forever, have them take a hot shower with no soap.  Then have them work out for a half hour or until they get a good sweat on.  Then stick your nose in their armpit and sniff.  If you think they stink, don't marry them.  If you think they smell good, then you should consider marring them.  It doesn't mean you should marry them, but if they stink to you, you've got to let them go." 

      I told them about pheromones and how some people just smell "right" to you, and others do not.  I told them how my first wife didn't like the way my "nose breath" smelled when we were kissing.  I told them how my current wife falls asleep in the crook of my arm every night, even if I haven't showered the night before.  I told them that if the person you are dating doesn't smell right to you, you will be strongly tempted to cheat on them with someone who does, and if you don't smell right to your partner, they will be tempted to cheat on you.  I made sure to talk about how you might be inclined to stay with someone you shouldn't just because they smell "right" too.   Good pheromones don't mean that someone is necessarily compatible with you.  But I advised that underestimating the power of pure animal attraction--either the presence or absence of--could ruin their future relationships.  

      The reactions from my students was so positive that I left school that day feeling amazing.  I felt like I really taught the students something important in those few minutes.  I realized I wanted to do something good like that more often.  So this year I took a large file box I had lying around and put a sign on it that said, "Any Questions?"  I told the students to put questions in there about anything they wanted an honest answer to, and every week I'd try to carve out a little time to answer them.  The first week was a little slow, only 2 or 3 questions, but after answering those, the floodgates opened.  I've already got more questions than I can answer in a quarter, and every question I do answer creates a half dozen more.  I'm going to use this space of my site to write up the answers I give in class, and answer additional questions I either don't want to discuss in the classroom setting, or just don't have time for.  Watch this space.  It's going to blow up.  Send questions to

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