The Origin of Chris Pontius by Dave Carnie

Why are smiles and laughter so hard to come by? Before I met Chris, I thought they were pleasant affectations that came and went as they pleased. And because they were always present during mischief making, I associated laughter with getting in trouble. Laughter was a dirty thing. Eleven years after meeting Chris, however, I’m much better at harnessing laughter, and I owe it to the lighthearted, sprightly Mr. P. Chris and I appeared simultaneously for the first time in Issue 2 of Big Brother. It was a deeply toned photo I took of Chris boardsliding a handrail in San Luis Obispo, where he grew up and lived. At the time, he was in high school and I was in college, and despite the gap in our ages, we fast became friends, creating a bond that would last through the centuries. There are few people that I can say have changed my life as much as Chris Pontius, for to experience his wacked-out world is to be opened up to an entire new way of life. My earliest memories of Chris are dimmed by the abuse of substances, but I can assure you, he was the same then as he is now: silly to the tenth power. We used to skate the ramps which sat beside his family’s ranch-style home near the SLO airport, where our skating—whether it was on the lowly mini-ramp or the sporty vert ramp—was always accompanied by the gentle braying of the local donkeys. Oh, the sessions that went down back there, as Chris dashed about on his skateboard, flying across the ramp all willy-nilly, giggling his little heart out, inspired by the breeze in his face and, no doubt, amazed that God allowed him to actually make the difficult tricks he was trying. We can’t give God all the credit, though, for Chris works hard at skating. He throws his whole ass into the sport. I think he’s best known for his "drop knee" skating style, which has been borrowed extensively by the bodyboarding community since his second appearance in Big Brother, which was a two-page interview in Issue 8. The first thing anyone would notice when they opened to that spread was the photo of Chris, nude, swinging his penis around (something he called the "whirlybird") while our friend Shana, also nude and outfitted with a dunce cap, reached down for his balls. Now that I think of it, they were both under 18 at the time—very naughty and very illegal. And it wasn’t the last time Chris would appear nude in the magazine, though it was an apt introduction to the wild and naughty universe Chris was about to share with the world. By Issue 9, Chris secured himself a position as a permanent character in the Big Brother cast with his first article, "18 Ways to Be an Asshole." Anything Chris thinks is funny is sure to offend most, but with "18 Ways to Be an Asshole," I think he offended everyone. Like Earl, Chris had a bevy of nicknames that he created for himself, only they weren’t substitute identities as they were for "Quasar." Over the years, Chris has called himself Cry Baby Insane, Bunny, Baby Chrissy, Styles McGillicuddy, Mister Afternoon and Ol’ Mr. P. For Chris, the string of nicknames echoes his restlessness. He can’t sit still. It’s long been a joke among us that Chris can’t remain anywhere longer than five days. He’s always got to be driving somewhere looking for the high life, or "a piece o’ tail," as he would say. Even now, after working full time at a women’s center for just about a month, he’s on a three-week vacation driving cross-country with my girlfriend’s sister. What the hell?! Chris is a big reason Big Brother is what it is, and though we’ve publicly parted ways, I think we’ll be seeing Ol’ Mr. P in the magazine again—soon, I hope.