Today, Terry and I went to the Seattle Aquarium before lunch with Caelum (at the Pink Door!). The sea otters are at the end of the display, after all the lewd and colorful fish and aquatic vegetation (including a very sorrowful octopus). We watched them scratching themselves all over, and after I had quietly worried that they were sick, I realized that they were probably oiling themselves, duck fashion.
After I had moved beyond my initial wild conjectures, I did a little research. I found out that sea otters use AIR instead of oil to keep their bodies dry. Their body temperatures are over 100 degrees! To keep theirselves warm, they blow bubbles into their fur (which has about half a million hairs PER SQUARE INCH...holy hell) by turning in the water and voraciously rubbing themselves. Caelum says that they spend 70% of their time doing this, lest they die of hypothermia.
Herm. Humans' lack of vital activities, outside of eating and sleeping, may be what gives us such existential angst. Sea otters have no time to ponder their purpose in the world, and if they did, they would clearly come to the conclusion that their purpose is to blow bubbles, spin around in the water, and rub themselves. Not bad.