Short Read: Comb

I once gave a talk at a Sheffield school about skiing across Greenland. All the kids were tiny, and they sat at my feet. You can always tell the kids that will go far, and the ones who won’t, even so young. I suppose it’s their hair. Some have it combed – which I’m sure they hate – and some don’t - having never seen a comb.

The headmistress – funny word – asked if the kids had any questions. One child asked how I could breathe in Greenland, as there were no trees. She had combed hair. Another asked, “did you come back?” which made all the kids start laughing – at her. She didn’t have combed hair, and so she hid her face in her messy fringe.

I don’t remember how I replied, what I said, but out of all the questions I’ve been asked in my life, by adults and children, professionals and just the plain nosy, I think this was the best. It wasn’t silly at all. It was deeply profound. It was the most perfect question of all. And yet she’ll never know it.