Making MS the Punch Line

By Doug Ankerman

Finding humor in situations is what I did WAY before multiple sclerosis became my dance partner.  Writing jokes and doing stand-up comedy about the oddities of life and experiences was a way of dealing. So little did I know this skill (if you can call it that) would help me cope with an MS diagnosis back in 1996. Likewise, who knew sharing silly observations about MS would help others too. Helping them realize they are not alone.  That what they are thinking, feeling and doing is not problematic – it is just a part of life with chronic illness.

For example, do you notice the closer you are to the bathroom – the stronger your urge to go? Often, my bladder reacts as soon as I cross the threshold! It must be thinking “Hey, I’m in the war zone, might as well fire the first shot!” 

It’s common for MSers to notice how you get MORE tired showering…than you did getting dirty.

How you can nod-off sitting even in the most uncomfortable, straight-back chair.

Or notice how some shoppers think the disabled parking spot is a convenient place to leave their carts.

Here is a picture I took of my favorite handicap parking space…

Perfect for the disabled, four-wheel drive enthusiast!

It takes someone with MS to realize the missing myelin of their nerves makes it look like the old chewed-up cord of a vacuum cleaner.

That thanks to spills, drips and drops, someone with MS (and small children) always has a Tide-To-Go stick within easy reach.

Or because I fall down frequently, only someone with MS would appreciate this picture I took of our patio…

I’m not making fun of – I am making light of.

It’s my way of showing MS that my spirit hasn’t broken. That I can thumb my nose at MS despite all it has stolen from me.

I got you, multiple sclerosis, and you know it.

I can exercise to ward off fatigue. I can stretch to fight spasticity. I can do what makes me best.

But through it all, MS, you can’t change the fact…you’re still ugly.

And an ugly joke is the funniest one of all.

*Doug writes about MS & other funny stuff on his blog at Also on  And on Twitter @myoddsock.

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About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.

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