CHAPTER 1 – HAT
When I was six years old, I saw a picture in a book. It was a picture of a snake who was eating a big animal. Here is a copy of the picture.
In the book it said, “Snakes eat the whole animal. Then they are not able to move. And they sleep for six months.”
I thought about the life in the jungle. Then I made my first picture. This is my picture number one.
I showed my fantastic picture to the adults. And I asked them if my picture scared them.
But they answered, “How can I be scared of a hat?”
My picture was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a big snake who ate an elephant. I then drew the inside of the big snake, so that the adults could understand. They always need explanations. This is my picture number two.
The adults advised me to stop drawing snakes, from the inside or the outside. They told me that it was better to study geography, history, maths and grammar. That’s why, at the age of six, I left a great career as a painter. I did it because my picture number one and picture number two were not successful when adults saw them. Adults never understand anything alone. And children are not happy when they have to always give them explanations.
So I had to choose another profession. I learnt to fly planes. I flew all over the world. And it’s true that geography was very useful to me. I could see the difference between China and Arizona at first look. It is very useful if you are lost in the night.
During my life, I had a lot of contact with many serious people. I lived a lot among the adults. I could see them from a close distance. This experience did not improve my opinion of them much.
When I met an adult who looked a little normal, I showed him or her my picture number one. I always had this picture with me. I wanted to know if this person really understood life. But the person always said, “It’s a hat.” Then I never spoke to this person about big snakes or forests or stars. I went to his or her level and we talked about bridges, golf and politics. And the adult was happy to meet such a reasonable man.
So I lived alone. I didn’t know anybody who I could really talk to. But one day it all changed. I had an accident in the Sahara Desert. It was six years ago. Something was broken in my engine. I didn’t have any mechanic or any passenger in the plane with me. To repair the plane alone was a difficult job. But I had to do it. It was a question of life or death for me. I had only enough drinking water for a week.