The Winner

I am a winner.

I come from a family of winners.

I should explain.

My family just wins stuff: table-top BBQs, Beastie Boys autographed skateboards, Nike Air running sneakers, Portlandia bikes, miniature pool tables (with cues like chopsticks), big-screen televisions, etc. I could go on (snowboards, vintage toy racecars, video cameras, hotel stays, etc. I could still go on).

My family are winners because: we enter contests, competitions and prize draws, we fill out the required personal information, we get an email or phone call several weeks later, we answer a skill-testing question, and then we receive something in the mail (sometimes we have to pick it up).

When my boyfriend wanted to become my husband, my dad had two stipulations:

  1. He had to love olives (I’m not sure why, and I still don’t understand it. My dad just feels very strongly about olives for some reason)
  2. He had to be a winner.

Houston*, we had a problem: My boyfriend was neither an olive fan, nor a winner.

The boyfriend set about rectifying the first issue: olives. He went to the local Mediterranean market and bought an assortment of olives (kalamata, manzanilla, picholine, niçoise, black). He sat down at my kitchen table and ate them all. He told me he had been converted, and I thanked God.

The second issue was not so easy. Some people are born winners (like me) and some people are born losers (other people). To become a winner, you can’t be a loser. The key to becoming a winner, is winning.

The boyfriend had to become a winner.

So he started entering contests, competition and prize draws. He carried around a four-leaf clover and a piece of bamboo. He bought lottery tickets and entered charity bowling tournaments. He rearranged his furniture in the Chinese system of geomancy called Feng Shui. Then he sat back and waited for the phone calls, but they never came.

My family told me to break up with that loser. But I wouldn’t do it.

It was December 26, 2005. I was with my family in a very small town in Northern British Columbia enjoying the Boxing Day festivities (which traditionally includes packaging unwanted gifts up and requesting receipts). I was boxing up a too-tight sweater vest, when the phone rang.

It was the boyfriend.

“I won the 50/50.” He exclaimed.

I was confused because I wasn’t sure if he had won “50/50”: the 1995 debut single by American Rappers B.G. Knocc Out & Dresta from their debut album Real Brothas, or: “50/50”: the grapefruit and lime flavored beverage marketed by Chicago soda retailer A.J. Canfield.

Either way, I wasn’t sure it was going to be enough for dad.

“You know, the Canucks for Kids Fund where 50% of the proceeds go to charitable groups throughout British Columbia.”

So, you’re saying…

“I won $22,000.”

We were married seven months later.




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