Lacking a steady father figure, Chris grew up a hoodlum. As an adult he experimented with several drugs and was imprisoned for grand theft auto. He learned much from his fellow inmates; when he was paroled in 1986, he was broadly educated in the ways of the world. He travelled to Alaska to seek his fortune and became a DJ at Maurice Minnifield's radio station KBHR ("K-Bear") in Cicely, Alaska. He lives simply in his Airstream trailer next to a lake, where he reads authors like Thoreau and creates sculpture.
Chris has talked about his missing year where he lived in a Mexican cave for a while, among other adventures.
Chris' lineage is "short lived"; his father and uncle Roy Bower died at ages 42 and 43 respectively. Accordingly, Chris has long expected to die around age forty as well, before all of his indiscretions, including many one-night stands and drug use, have caught up to him; and is briefly at a loss when he learns that medication for hypertension can give him more decades.
Chris is also Cicely's only clergyman, ordained in the "Worldwide Church of Truth and Beauty" when he answered an advertisement in Rolling Stone; as such he once took Shelly Tambo's confession, divorced her from her high school sweetheart and married her to Holling Vincoeur, as well as marrying Adam and Eve.
Chris is self-taught in physics, which he loves to discuss. In the episode, "The Graduate," Chris completes his correspondence course in English literature by defending his Master's thesis.