My Memory Box

I write for folks who sing the anthem. Or who find God in a box of cornflakes.

Writers write with different audiences in mind.

I write for the guy who spends the weekend cleaning the garage, and when he’s done, he’s prouder of that garage than anything he accomplished at the office the entire week – and that makes him pause to wonder:

“Am I in the right line of work? Am I wasting my life by not cleaning garages every day? This actually brings me a sense of accomplishment.”

I write for the goof who can’t bear the thought of throwing away the kids’ old sports equipment — the flags, the cones, the catcher’s gear — even though his sons and daughters are now grown. He knows there’s a fairytale behind every scuffed ball and dusty lineup card.

I write for moms and dads who love being called “Coach.”

Who else do I write for?

I write for the people who hate all these self-serve kiosks popping up everywhere.

You know how tall women disdain shorter men, or dogs disdain cats? You know how the Habsburgs never got along with France?

Well, that’s how much I hate self-help kiosks. They are a trick play of commerce, a double-reverse on customer care. A kiosk is a business saying: “Screw you, pal, we don’t have the time.”

I write for the people who are too much into their dogs. Who talk to them sometimes, confide in them, even sing to them.

“I am a lineman for the countyyyyyyyyy, and I drive the main road…”

I write for nerds who like to garden, or take broken things apart.

I write for people who’ve had it with celebrities who run for office.

I write for people who wash their own cars.

I write for folks who never went to college and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

I write for dads who think it’s crazy to spend $5 on a cup of coffee.

I write for people who cut themselves on thick plastic packaging.

I write for people who go out when their hair is still a little wet.

I write for people who take extra lemons to their neighbors.

I write for people who wish the kids would call more, yet don’t complain.

I write for the people who save the fat rubberbands that wrapped the broccoli.

I write for guys who owned cowboy boots and coonskin caps as kids.

I write for parents who secretly love driving car pool, or a family day at the beach, with a tin-pan grill and a dozen hot dogs…flaming smores and watermelon.

My buddy Chris Green, left, one of the dads who finds the funny in everyday stuff.

I write for people who think TV isn’t fun anymore, that it’s dark, existentialist drivel, as are movies, which are made by very smart people, though they are still not smart enough to know that their very first responsibility is to entertain.

I write for people who find the funny in everyday stuff: Dog farts and foot doctors and key fobs when the battery dies and you spend half the day trying to replace it.

I write for people who pause to admire a sundown, when the light blasts through the trees like candy.

I write for people who sing the anthem.

I write for people who find God in a box of cornflakes.

I write for bartenders.

I write for people who bang and rattle the pots too much when they start making soup.

I write for the grinders – the singles hitters, the 18 handicaps and dudes who struggle with their second serve.

I write for people who hate song medleys.

I write for people who miss TV Guide and movie themes that everybody hummed.

I write for people who over tip.

I write for the folks who hold doors for other people (all six of you).

I write for people who don’t care that the stuff atop the popcorn is evil goo, because the joy of a box of movie popcorn far outweighs everything…it’s a matter of mental health.

I write for people who follow Caitlin Flanagan, Ted Kooser, old libraries and little book stores that barely make a buck.

I write for folks who go to ballgames mostly for the food.

I write for moms and dads who’d rather play catch with their own kids than meet Mookie Betts.

I write for people who stop at cross walks, pay their taxes, pile the plate at the all-you-can eat buffet.

And, mostly, I write for that goof in the garage, the one who looks after everyone but himself, and every time he turns around he’s being shamed for something.

He doesn’t whine or wear the latest shoes. Or sit around waiting for handouts.

He’s the guy who races into the fiery house to save the cat. He’s the guy who storms the hill, then returns home to run a body shop for 40 years.

That guy gets lost sometimes, in an increasingly anxious world. That guy is nothing close to America’s current concept of a superhero.

Well, I write for you.

Please check out for “Daditude,” a collection of favorite columns from 25 years at the L.A. Times. Or for my latest book, “Lavender in Your Lemonade,” a diary from the early days of the pandemic. The website also has news of upcoming events. Coming soon: A Happy Hour Hike at LA’s best hidden lake. Cheers.

22 thoughts on “My Memory Box

  1. Amen. I see myself in this column. (I’m not the guy cleaning out the garage.) And don’t ever stop writing for us. We need it. Thanks.

  2. Boy oh boy, I was honored thinking you wrote for me. And then – I saw you wrote for a guy who goes to baseball games for the food. Bummer.

  3. yeah ~ $5 cup of coffee ~ ~ how about the new la-di-da donut place out here in southbay ~ 4 bucks is the cheapest donut ~ for a single donut ! not a dozen ~ ~ thanks for writing for us all chris ~ ~

  4. Really? Since when do “tall women disdain shorter men”? I dated a Colombian polo player who was at least 6” shorter than me! I suppose they need to be small to ride the horses.

    It is hard enough to find 34” inseam pants! Don’t cancel out the men! In the end, height does not matter!

  5. Thank you Chris! I recently went through the key fob thing, the guy at O’Reilly’s set my car alarm off three times. I guess it was funny, come to think of it.

  6. I qualify for every statement , especially. Food and beer no matter the price at a ball game with the boys

  7. “…the people who save the fat rubberbands that wrapped the broccoli.”
    Damn, that’s me…

  8. Well, he pretty much got a piece of all of us. That’s why he touches all the bases and even slides into home occasionally, even though he put the last one over the left center field wall, where it caromed off the street and onto the deck of a third floor apartment, where it still bounces around in my mind. Thus, it is obvious he also writes for the writers of excessively long sentences; and for Chicago Cubs fans…

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