Winning Is For Losers. So I’ve Never Won A Thing.


One morning my mother drove me to school. She interrupted my detailed speech arguing the beneficial aspects of getting a belly button ring to jack up the volume on the radio. In between sound clips of flapping dove wings and wind chimes her favorite Christian pop station announced a giveaway. She shoved her phone into my chest, shouted things like “Dial, damn it!”, and missed the signs for irony and the highway on-ramp. So I dialed God’s FM connection, damn it, and waited as rings and rings passed by.  And then!

      Nothing, just a prerecorded loop of hymns humming every forty rings or so. Midway through some song of victory in Christ, a voice answered, and so mind-numbed from focused waiting  I replied in a shaken, awed voice. “Hello?,” was all I could say because in that minute I thought I’d managed to get Jesus on the line. “YOU’RE A WINNER! GOTTA A WINNER ON THE LINE! BIG WINNER! WINNING!,” The Son’s voice was less calm than I’d imagined it would be.  “What’s your name, winner ?,” he asked and chucked. Less all-knowing that I’d expected, too. A few weeks later a gospel CD and a bumper sticker arrived in the mail. My mother snatched my loot, reasoning that technically she’d won by default since it was her phone and holy hip-hop channel of choice. I consoled myself with the notion that I was the real victor, in the spiritual side of things, as I’d been called a winner by a smooth-throated deity DJ.

     Some of us just aren’t meant to win, I tell myself. Consistency is key, I also say, because lining my losses up in a tidy row makes them almost feel like some sort of successful streak. Throughout years of friends getting gift cards in the mail and relatives scraping pennies to scratch their way to cash prizes, and even my small son collecting the luckiest, prize-marked pumpkin in the patch, I’ve decided that it’s best not to count my losses and focus instead on why winning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Who wants free money? Am I right? So I was just keeping with tradition when my brother recently asked for a ride to some run down office park in a grimy part of town. Yes, I was just staying true to my defeated self when said building housed a radio station and said radio station hosted a giveaway and said brother-bumming-ride won an all expense paid trip to some gloriously Mexican resort. So I rambled off all sorts of well wishes and congratulatory falseness and tried to talk myself into feeling like knowing a winner, driving a winner to fetch his winnings is a kind of like a victory  despite the vicariousness of it all. Besides, I prefer the dry, frigid winter air, and I hear that besides the sunny beaches and fruity cocktails and overall relaxed vibe of paradise Mexico is pretty much a suck hole.

   When it came time to draw some winning names for pretty blog prizes, I was above the whole idea of claiming them myself. One thousand entry slips marked TORITORITORITORITORITORI, well, that would just be ridiculous. Who has time for that right?

I do. But I didn’t. Stopped at 32 1/2 pregnant and or hanging chads before that pesky conscience talked me out of cheating.

So it is with nary an ounce of envy that I present a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind artwork from The Grace In Life to champion commenter Jacquelin Cangro .  I’m so happy for you. Really. My neck gets this red when I’m elated, like a joy rash. mystery of grace

And this is an excited eye twitch I’m blinking through to gift a lovely farmnflea Mary Oliver Typewriter Treasure toKaela Moore at The Girl Who Blogs.


Congratulations you two. And for the rest of you, hold those loser heads up high. You’ve successfully accomplished not winning. A champion runner up is what you are. I can tell you from experience that counts for *something!

*Not a prize, though. Because you lost. So maybe something in the figurative sense… like a life lesson.. about losing?

46 thoughts on “Winning Is For Losers. So I’ve Never Won A Thing.

  1. OH my Chickee Tori Loo! You sell your self so short! That is the Nelson in you, the quiet, hard working, never feeling you measure up part of your genetics! I will always treasure your award ceremony at the old Belle Meade theatre (not theater)when you were 9 or 10 for your story about life in TN. As a parent you sacrfice many things, usually the first to go as a dad is creativity. After all you have to blend in. But to see your children become “awesome” as parents, maintain their will, perhaps blossom in their own talents,,, makes all the worry and sacrifice seem worthwhile and effortless.

    I wrote an email to one of my client’s sons tonight that made me reflect on what is important in life. He in California, his dad in Jackson TN. I helped step in to settle the childrens squabbles, and move dad to the best place he could be. He has passed after two week into my efforts, I comforted the son in saying two things.

    First is to forgive each member of you family, and offer comfort on “their” loss.
    Second is to pull all of your family close, grand parents, uncles, aunts, nieces & nephews.
    Third is to make peace with yourself as to any imagined wrong you parent may have caused you.

    I will never forget being in the Belle Meade Theatre (Bookstar), where as a kid I watched Gone with the Wind, The Great Gatsby, and hundreds of more films,, and watch you get your award for WRITING!

    That said I will never forget Abby’s, Clay’s, Liliy’s or Hayley’s great moments which were many. Oh the Jot to watch your children become adults!The JOY of being a parent!!

    Love poppi
    (Merry Christmas) screw the PCs

  2. Snort. This is an awful story to tell on myself, but when I first started writing and sending off articles, I’d get rejection letters that made me want to shoot the mailbox or the computer. I finally decided to make a game out of it and try to collect 100 “No-thanks” letters.. I didn’t make it. Not because I suddenly got brilliant, but because I figured out there was aa more painful way to be rejected: face to face—by writing for a newspaper and taking classes.
    I suppose it’s best to put your perspective on it: losing makes us find try a different lotto game.
    (I love the ‘holy hip-hop’)

    1. Ugh. The participation awards always irked me. At least in my experience they were flimsy slips of paper that a teacher or coach printed with cartoon smiling stars. It felt like taunting.

      1. Yeah. Those are the ones. I almost wish my mom would have saved them all. Then i could have a nice bonfire with a glass of wine and burn the evidence of my loser-dom. :)

  3. We’re losing winners, that’s what we are! I tend to win things like being the only person to trip on a bumpy rug, getting picked by the teacher to “volunteer” an answer, and being the last person at the table to get my food at a restaurant. Cuz I’m a winner like that, yo.

  4. I ran for office in North Miami. Never had a chance against the well greased and well financed machine. Was well smeared in the newspaper and lots of rumors spread about me. But I was in the campaign and became well educated in the process and fairly polished before the crowds I’d say. If I had done just 10% of the things of which I had been accused I would have to be 700 years old. I did manage an astonishing 26% of the vote both times. In the subsequent administrations every one of the proposals upon which I campaigned were implemented. I lost . But didn’t I actually win ?

  5. I supposedly won a Don Imus bobblehead doll. I’m still waiting for it in the mail. That was 25 years ago.

    Then I won tickets to some comedy show in my area. Never went. Had no babysitter.

    Winning is not all that wonderful.

    Honestly, I hate winning blog awards. I did a post on it. This means I have pass the award onto someone and I hate singling out my bloggy friends. They’re all winners in my eyes.

    1. I didn’t think about blog awards! I have won some of those. But I tend to agree with you. Normally the bajillion questions you have to answer and making yourself pick only a few winners ends up feeling like punishment!

  6. I never expect to win either. However I have had the occasional “That’s MINE” sense about a ‘prize’ and indeed won it. Don’t know if that’s a fair argument for the holy roller CD your Mom absconded with, but hey. I figure if I didn’t win it I really didn’t need it, so in that sense (less baggage) I easily count myself a winner every time.

    1. What a great attitude! I’m going to try that. You’re right. If I’d won all kinds of things my house might get cluttered and since I have to clean the house, the victory would come out looking like a loss. I’m just going to keep telling myself that!

  7. Oh my gosh! My week has been made. I have, quite literally, never won anything! Tori and farmnflea, thank you! I am so excited about the typewriter treasure! Excuse me while I go gloat to someone…:)

    1. I win NOTHING. It’s kind of miraculous, really. I think there is some algebra equation out there that probably proves I should’ve won at least a promotional key chain by now.

  8. Oh, I love this story, Tori–especially the first one–the juxtaposition of mom demanding you dial–damn it—-the Christian radio station! So I suppose this means I’ve lost–oops, I mean won–sort of.

    1. My mom’s all about the balance, you see? Her favorite TV shows used to be that nasty prank show on MTV, Jackass, and televised church services from that crazy Joyce Meyer. She’d just flip back and forth, back and forth, between evangelical and stunts involving laxatives and staple guns.

  9. I once won a book for mango recipes, whereupon I was then informed, oops, you live in Malaysia, so you can’t win. I was the only entrant. And I STILL didn’t win.
    So, I win? :)

  10. Congrats to your winners! Like you, I’m awesome at losing. I did win the best Mac & Cheese recipe on the Jackie Blog, but that’s the only thing pretty much ever in life. All my trophies from childhood teams are for participation.

  11. Wow! You like me. You really like me!

    I’d like to start by thanking all the little people who helped me on this journey. I mean, every journey is a thousand steps. No, well.. a thousand steps begins with a single journey. Um…a thousand journeys have a lot of steps. *cough*

    I accept this honor on behalf of all of you. I know that may not mean much to you now, but in the future you will treasure these moments.

    Now, I’ll just clear off a nice little space in my apartment to prominently display for “our” artwork.

    Thank you Tori! Thank you Becky!

    1. Hahaha. I just treasured these moments. You were right! I’m happy for you. I mean it. I just entered 1,254 online contests so fingers crossed I might just win a coffee mug or ink pen in coming weeks!

  12. I’d give you the classic “You’re a winner ’cause you have a great blog” routine. but having learned that any idiot can launch a blog – myself being the living proof of that – I will instead gift you with a prize, REGARDLESS of that meaningless title of “win”.
    Stephen Colbert referred to Palin as “Honey Boo-Boo”. Think about that for a bit. :D
    Besides, you ARE a winner, ’cause we’re all winners getting your blog as a great gift, and it’s YOUR blog, so you MUST be a winner, right? ;)
    And congrats to the award winners, you lucky people, you!

    1. Oh, John. You’re sweet. My parents did the old “But you have a winning spirit!” and “A for Effort” thing a lot with me growing up. It never worked. Plus, E is for Effort, if you think about it :)

  13. This post is HILARIOUS…I have never won a thing in my life either :( Aaand I live with people who constantly do and make me feel useless…join the club.

    1. Whaaaaat? Do you kind of hate her a little bit? I’m trying not to hate my brother for the whole Mexican dream vacation that fell in his lap, but every time I think of sun or surf or cocktails or peace or quiet I get pretty hostile.

  14. A friend I used to work with once made me this ridiculously hideous ‘I’m Number Two’ star with an old envelope and a sharpie. It was HILARIOUS. I wonder what happened to that thing… hmm… :)

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