To most of us, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a 2008 movie starring Brad Pitt as a man who is born as an old man and ages backwards throughout his lifetime. But strangely, this same kind of situation seems to have befallen brothers Matthew Clark, 39, and Michael Clark, 42. Not the physical reverse aging, of course, but a mental regression that has Michael acting like a ten-year-old and Matthew like a toddler.
Doctors have diagnosed the two as suffering from terminal leukodystrophy—a disease that affects only 100 people in the UK, so it’s even more bizarre that two brothers would be afflicted. See, the condition usually affects only newborns, a tragic irony since Michael will probably soon follow his brother Matthew in exhibiting those same helpless symptoms.
The brothers had to move back in with their parents, who have bravely taken care of the men as best they can. You can’t even imagine their devastation as they tell The Daily Mail how an average day now consists of taking in cartoons and cereal:
“Both the boys like cartoons, especially the Smurfs and Alice in Wonderland, and the types of films they like to watch has changed to those aimed at children… At the moment they really like snakes and ladders and Monopoly but other games like Cluedo we’ve bought them are proving too difficult. In terms of diet they both love crisps but we have tried to improve their eating habits.”
Of his son Matthew, the father said, “‘He also has these awful episodes where he screams and shouts and says, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’” These parents, in their 60s, are reaching the age where they would have had to start coping with the fact that they would need their sons to take care of them as they entered what Shakespeare called “second childishness and mere oblivion”… and yet instead they watch their sons regress to that point. My heart goes out to them.
Photos: Rotten Tomatoes, The Daily Mail