My Legal Drugs (Part II)

A slow brain can be a big asset. I learned that in aviation.

By Raymond Viger 

Almost a half-century ago, I had a career as an airplane pilot.

Aviation safety has made great strides. Planes back then weren’t as safe as they are now. When the engines caught fire in flight you had a few minutes to land your plane. You landed it where you could.

Those accidents were much more commonplace than they are today. In 5 years, I buried 10 of my colleagues.

Forced Landing

One day I found myself above the Gouin Reservoir. There were lakes as far as the eye can see. Not a very appealing place to make a forced landing in an airplane. The only option open to us was a country road in pretty bad shape.

Long moments after the landing, my passengers were still in a state of shock. It was tough for me to understand their reaction. Snapping out of his listlessness, one of the passengers, a man, said “Raymond, while you were landing the plane, you didn’t stop whistling… You had a big, wide, easy-going smile, like when a man has made love to a woman for the first time in his life…”


I wasn’t sure if he thought I was weird, if I scared them, or if I’d done a good job.

Despite it all, I have a roller coaster brain. A slow mind, yet one that is hypersensitive to almost everything. I can sit and watch grass grow. I did it with a plant who, every morning, I would watch grow for a few moments. It was as if my brain was taking a photo of it each day.

And when a leaf grew out, it was like my brain was sending me all the previous images so I could watch a film of it growing.

This type of experience freaks me out sometimes. Because they say that when you are about to die you see your whole life replay before your eyes.


That which I am isn’t necessarily recognized in the world of mental health. That’s normal. We’re all different. Science likes to categorize people using labels. It seems almost delusional to create names to categorize what makes each of us unique.

I am different. I am proud of my differences. I need to be respected for who I am, but, above all, accepted as I am…

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