If our MS lives were like Hollywood, what makes a movie a classic?

If you've ever answered a question about MS, then you're a classic film

Benjamin Hofmeister avatar

by Benjamin Hofmeister |

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I turn 49 next week. The fact that I’m in middle age already is unbelievable. I don’t think of myself as old. My mileage might be a little high, but I’m not old. I suppose I could consider myself to be vintage, like clothing, or perhaps even classic, like a timeless movie.

I think I prefer classic over vintage. Being timeless implies that a film’s age isn’t what makes it a classic. Rather, it might be the film’s message, the impact it has on society and culture, or the fact that it remains burned in our memories. I have those qualities only if people’s memories include the impacts I’ve had with the floor, but I’d still rather claim to be classic than old.

Despite my ego, this column really isn’t about me. It’s not about classic films, either, although today is National Classic Movie Day. Instead, it’s about the people I consider to be my mentors or guides during my time with multiple sclerosis (MS). These folks are my classic inspirations, and you might even be one of them. When I’m not trying to sound clever in my columns, I’m usually asking questions I’ve heard or read from others with this disease and seeking answers in the comments below.

You likely have mentors, too, and you very well may be a classic like me. If you’ve ever asked or answered a question about MS, if you’ve ever given or sought advice, or just validated someone by telling them that you feel the same as they do, then you are as classic and timeless as any film.

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Telling the whole story

According to the National Day Calendar, classic movies share several common characteristics. I’d like to highlight two of them and draw comparisons with people who have MS and are classic inspirations.

First, classic movies “tell a story through iconic characters that inspire us.” “Story” is the key word here. If I ask for advice or just commiseration, I want your story, your personal experience, rather than the textbook answer. I can get the latter from my neurologist, but he doesn’t have MS. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Documentaries have their place, but they aren’t classic movies.

Second, classic movies “contain ideas we can relate to and that seem relevant to our current lives.” I realize that our similarities sometimes begin and end with the name of our disease, but our stories and ideas can still be relevant to one another. Symptoms, frustrations, and workarounds are all relatable, no matter what level of disability we’re at.

Don’t be afraid to share the good as well as the bad. If you hide negative details from the audience, they won’t see the entire film. Be a classic inspiration to others with multiple sclerosis.

Actually, come to think of it, maybe I’m more of a a cult classic.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Jason Lee Garza avatar

Jason Lee Garza

I have been writing my story as I go... I built my career up with my young family of five. I used to smoke weed all the time and my wife hated it. It was the only main stress I had at the time. Life was good, money was good, as I had moved up from a draftsman to a Manufacturing Engineer, without a degree...Life was amazing. We traveled on vacations and were investing in properties...Life was good. My wife distained the fact that I was smoking marijuana, and I hated that she hated it.
One day I sat outside and prayed to God that something would happen to me. I was asking for an illness that wouldnt kill me but would allow my wife to be okay with me smoking weed. Well, I got it, my vision started getting real bad and when I went to the doctor they said it was MS. As soon as my wife and I heard, the first thing she told me was "well you can smoke weed now" I was in total shock! Alot has happened since then... a roller coaster

Kim avatar


Kid, you’re a hoot. Your columns lift me up. If you’re middle aged then I feel like a fossil at 67. 20 years of MS adds to that!

Elizabeth DiPietri avatar

Elizabeth DiPietri

Ben, You are not old yet. I will be celebrating my 77th birthday on Saturday. And I am not old - at least my mind isn't. Now my hubby - who is 4 years younger than I am - was born old! It's my body that is old - or maybe it is msed. I guess I must think like my mother did. She use to say, "Old is always 5 years older than what I am." I wish my hubby thought more like I do. We might be doing some of the things we planned on doing when we retired! Oh well, there are still things to do here and I do work on them just about every day. Thanks for writing the way you do. I always enjoy your work. And please - think young! IT's a lot more fun!


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