Winner and Loser Lane
Status: RealThe Sydney Morning Herald reports on the Lane family from New York City in which the father named one of his sons Winner and the other Loser. (Actually, the article is a few years old, but it was new to me.) At first the article struck me as sounding too weird to be true. Why would a father name his son Loser? But apparently it's true. At least, it's been reported elsewhere by credible sources, such as in this Slate.com article by the Freakonomics authors.
The story is that the father, Robert Lane, decided to call his son Winner, thinking it would give the kid a boost in life. Three years later he had another son, and on the spur of the moment decided to call him Loser. As the Freakonomics authors say about his decision, "Robert wasn't unhappy about the new baby; he just seemed to get a kick out of the name's bookend effect." If the guy had a third son he should have called him "Lover." That, at least, would have fit with the last name.
The punchline to the story is that Winner Lane ended up as a loser in life, a petty criminal living homeless on the streets. Loser Lane, on the other hand, has been a success in life. He's a detective in the South Bronx.
I should add Loser Lane to my unfortunate names thread.
Posted by Alex on Thu Jun 14, 2007
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The irony of it all...Posted by oppiejoe in Michigan - USA on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 03:22 PM
Wow, if something like that didn't give the kid confidence problems, then he must have skin like steel.Posted by pinkgummiworms on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 03:29 PM
Didn't Johnny Cash & Shel Silverstein already prove this with A Boy Named Sue?Posted by Chris Carlisle on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 03:38 PM
No daughter named Penny?Posted by Zoom in good time on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 07:41 PM
It's kind of sad the way some parents seem to forget that their children are actually real people, and do things like that to them just because they think it's a funny joke.Posted by Accipiter on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 01:33 AM
As a native son of the Only New York City Borough on the Mainland, I'm not entirely sure that working as a detective in the former Fort Apache necessarily qualifies one as a "success."Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 06:25 AM
That Freakonomics chapter was fantastic. Steven Levitt is my hero.Posted by Razela in Chicago, IL on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 01:11 AM
Some people shouldnPosted by Cecilia in sweden on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 09:13 AM
If Winner and Loser didn't want the names, it isn't hard to change a name. There may be no list of approved names but with names like those, I can't believe any judge would refuse to grant a name-change petition.Posted by Christopher Cole in Tucson, AZ on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 06:30 PM
In France, I've heard the government actually has to approve a parent's name choice before it's bestowed on a newborn. That may be because of their unfortunate experiences with Maximilien Robespierre and Napoleon Bonaparte. Does anyone know if this is true?Posted by Phred22 on Sun Jun 17, 2007 at 11:23 AM
I know this man and have dated for several years. It was wierd at first but it all worked out. On the force he was called LOU. A really gggggreat guy.Posted by tee in NJ on Tue May 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM
I've worked with Lou in the narcotic day when we were cops. Good stand up guy. Great cop.Posted by Angel Nieves in NYC on Tue May 21, 2013 at 01:44 PM
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