You’ve heard of the Freshman 15, the 15 pounds new university students gain when they first experience unlimited access to sugary cereals and late night pizza. I’d like to enter a new term into the lexicon — the COVID 19.

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Because planking on bricks looks cooler. Photo: @ronancray

The COVID 19 is the 19 pounds you’ve put on during this year of uncertainty and lockdown, the result of comfort eating and lack of exercise. If you’re like me, working from home means walking ten steps to the kitchen for another cookie.

When I did return to work, I didn’t like wheezing up the three steps into the building or the fact that my pants had mysteriously shrunk two sizes. I decided to do something about it.

Living in New Zealand means I have unlimited outdoor activities at my fingertips, but also at my fingertips are the keys of…

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Say Their Names. Photo by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash.

When Black Lives Matter focused attention on the value of human life, people all over the world internalized it. Is race just the tip of the iceberg? The real problem may be much deeper.

In 2019, the town of Frankton Indiana added the phrase “All Lives Matter” to their police cars. The Town Marshal, Dave Huffman, wanted to “illustrate the seriousness with which Frankton police officers take their duty to protect all of the town’s citizens regardless of income, economic status, race, nationality, age, or any other factor.” By “all of the town’s citizens”, he meant all 1,862 of them, of which 0.4% were Black. These were unarguably good intentions. In the tech world, early adopters are called “lighthouse customers”. In Frankton, they were called racists.

As early as September 2016, Black Lives Matter

Our technology may be thousands of years behind. Over humankind’s long tenure on Earth, were there civilizations greater than our own, now lost to time? How would we find them, and would we know if we did?

Scientific American recently published an article called “Could an Industrial Prehuman Civilization Have Existed on Earth before Ours?”. The author, Steven Ashley, wondered if we had the methods to tell if a civilization existed before our own timeline after millions of years of tectonic plate movement and erosion would have recycled and covered the remains of ages past. This has come to be known as the Silurian Hypothesis, the possibility of a pre-human civilization. The difficulty in proving one is a paucity of extant objects. …

Did the Black Lives Matter protests make you wonder, “What is it like to feel racism?” Do you want to experience it yourself?

You’re in luck. Some corners of the world still serve micro-aggression to any race in safe but demeaning doses. Forget disaster tourism, an Academi escort through Syria, or the fetish markets of Togo. Book your next luxury experience in race tourism.

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Travel the world and you’ll find one consistency — white privilege is real. Almost every country rolls out the red carpet for their former colonial oppressors.


There are still some nations that just aren’t impressed.

A few years ago my work took me to eighteen new countries. Being white had certain advantages. In Dubai, a stewardess boarded me in front of the working class scrum. In China, lavish outings and photo ops abounded. In India I dined at the Imperial Hotel catered by red-coated waitstaff. Everywhere I went, heads turned toward me like the fans of a rock star…

What if we had a way to talk about sex that all of us understood, something without the emotional baggage, something dry but just as common, something we think about all the time?

What if sex were money?

While sex remains in the closet, we chatter incessantly about money. Universities churn out financial professionals to work in skyscrapers with six monitors each, festooned with financial data. Talking heads wake us up in the morning with advice, good and bad. Economists measure the gap between rich and poor, note the behaviors of everyone on the spectrum, and publish on every esoteric, freaky thing.

You’re welcome to open wide the pink pages of the Financial Times in public, but woe to anyone with a book on sex. Even after half a century of thorough scientific research, human sexuality remains taboo…

My first language wasn’t English. As the child of two adventurous teachers, my tender years were spent in Alaska. My caretaker was Yupik. My first language was Yupik. My tender eyes saw Yupik faces, similar to Korean faces, and incorporated both those and the faces of my parents as beautiful. If you could ask me about race, at the age of two, I would identify as bi-racial. If you saw me in my seal-skin mukluks, you might agree.

After Alaska, we moved to a small town of about 50,000 people in the American West. Although the racial demographic was almost…

Ronan Cray

Ronan Cray is the author of Red Sand and Dust Eaters. He is also a podcast and short film producer, though rather lazy and slow at both.

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