CHAPTER 1 – HAT
When I was six years old, I saw an amazing picture in a book. It was a picture of a snake that was eating a big animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.
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 a lot about the adventures in the jungle. Then I made my first drawing. I did it with a coloured pencil. My drawing number one looked like this.
I showed my great drawing to the adults, and I asked them if my drawing scared them.
But they answered, “Why should anyone be scared of a hat?”
My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a big snake with an elephant inside. I then drew the inside of the big snake, so that the adults could understand. They always need explanations. My drawing number two looked like this.
The adults advised me to stop drawing snakes, from the inside or the outside. They advised me to be interested more in geography, history, maths and grammar. That’s why, at the age of six, I left an amazing 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 it is tiring for children to always give them explanations.
So I had to choose another profession and I learnt to fly planes. I flew all over the world. And it’s true geography was very useful to me. I can recognise China from Arizona at first look. It is very useful if you are lost at night.
During my life, I had lots of contact with many serious people. I lived a lot among the adults. I could see them from a close distance. It did not really improve my opinion of them.
When I met an adult who seemed to me a little normal, I tried a little experiment. I showed him or her my drawing number one which I always had on me. I wanted to know if this was a person of true understanding. 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 I talked about bridges, golf, politics and ties. And the adult was glad to know such a reasonable man.
So I lived alone, without anyone who I could really talk to, until 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. I was preparing to do the difficult repair job by myself. It was a question of life or death for me. I had only enough drinking water for a week.