In 1958, a New York City man named Robert Lane decided to name his newborn son “Winner.” Granting that it was a little odd, he thought it might give his boy a leg up on the competition. Winner Lane. How could the kid fail with a name like that?
Three years later another bouncing boy came along, and dear old dad, for reasons no one can quite pin down, decided to name him “Loser.” There’s no indication that he was unhappy about the baby’s arrival. I guess somehow it just seemed like the right name to “bookend” with Winner. (One can only wonder where Momma was when the birth certificate was being filled out.)
At any rate, the world was given two brothers. Winner and Loser Lane. Would you like to guess how they turned out?
Loser turned out to be a winner, graduating from college and joining the NYPD, eventually becoming a sergeant.
Winner, on the other hand, turned out to be a loser, being arrested nearly three dozen times for burglary, domestic violence, trespassing, and resisting arrest.
Today, as you might expect, Winner and Loser Lane have little contact. Their father is dead.*
When all is said and done, life is still about choices. Little choices and big choices. Every day we make them and they lead us steadily, inch by inch, toward our destiny. Labels don’t matter. Nor do privileges or hardships. Plenty of people have blown the former and overcome the latter. We are what we choose to be.
Romans 6:16 says, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?”
A final note about Loser Lane. He’s never tried to hide his real name, but he’s never been called by it either. People just don’t feel comfortable calling someone “Loser.” But the biggest reason they don’t call him Loser is because he is so obviously not one. He is known to his friends and fellow officers as “Lou.”
*Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), 163-164