In 1958, Robert Lane had already fathered five children with very familiar first names. He became obsessed with the thought that whatever he named his next child could influence that child’s future. That is why Robert determined that the name of his sixth child would be named “Winner,” someone with a name Winner you would think they would be destined to do extraordinary things.
When Winner was born, the Lane family lived in the subsidized housing projects in Harlem, New York. By the time Winner was three, the Lane family was pregnant again with their seventh child.
Robert Lane asked his oldest daughter what they should name their newest edition, to which she replied, as we already have a “Winner” in the family, why not a “Loser”? Perhaps Robert was a little too excited for the new baby as he agreed that the most recent and last baby would be named Loser.
Winner and Loser would both grow up in the Wagner Projects in Harlem. They were from an average lower-income black family, like the many other families around them, and their names wouldn’t attract too much attention. But, in an interview from 2002, Loser said: “As a child, you don’t know it’s a bad name. And later in school, everyone knows you, but it has become normal.”
You would think he would become a high achiever, a successful businessman with a name like Winner Lane. Unfortunately for Winner, he became the opposite. The reasons for this were never fully explained by the family or friends. Winner would begin his criminal career at the young age of 19. He was first arrested for aggravated assault in September 1977.
At 24, Winner found himself for the first time convicted for breaking and entering a house in Long Island. Over time, he accumulated over 30 other crimes and offences, including trespassing, auto theft, domestic violence, fare evasion, and resisting arrest.
At the time of his last interview in 2002, Winner was 44 and was just released from prison. Winner was homeless and was still walking the streets of New York. Over the years, he became a product of institutionalization and institutionalized discrimination, relying on homeless shelters and prisons to meet his basic needs. Of course, Winner was met with a lot of institutional racism throughout the course of his life.
At the same time, his brother was starting his criminal career, and Loser Lane was in prep school in Connecticut on a full scholarship. A prep school is a high school that prepares students for college and university studies. After prep school, Loser attended Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, where he was a very successful football player and wrestler, maintaining perfect grades throughout.
Fresh out of college, Loser was hired by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in January 1984. Some people believe Loser became a police officer to set a better example than his older brother Loser, or maybe it was because it is something his mother always wanted.
Loser’s colleagues at work avoided his unique name, and his fellow police officers just called him Lou instead. Loser had a very successful career with the NYPD as he was quickly promoted to detective, and some short years later, he became a sergeant.
At the time of their last interview in 2002, the two brothers rarely see each other. The only time Winner will call his younger brother Loser is when he needs money. As a cop, Loser keeps his distance from his deviant brother as he is an officer of the law, and they are no longer close.
Before you believe that your child’s name will determine their outcome in life, remember what happened to the two brothers, Winner and Loser.
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