You Otter Read This

photo by Laura Lefurgey-Smith

photo by Laura Lefurgey-Smith

By: Taylor Nam

I needed to fold my laundry because it had been sitting there, staring at me, for about fifty million years and because the cleans and dirties were all mixed up on my closet floor (sometimes I just cannot be bothered to really think if I had worn that shirt already or not and my bus is leaving and I have to go and oops, the shirt ends up on the floor, so thank goodness for closet doors that do this really cool thing called closing and thus hide the mess), but I left it all there without shame. Instead, I researched otter adoption in Scotland and the greater UK for the greater amount of two hours and I regret no greater than nothing. 

That is to say: my otter’s name is Pepper and she is lively and short-clawed and Asian; it’s a perfect match. I learned quite a bit about otters (sea otters in particular, because they are cuter than river otters in my expert opinion) during my two-hour research binge. Importantly: sea otters squeak when frightened and they eat sea urchins while floating on their backs in the ocean. So Pepper and I both make high-pitched, annoying sounds and are partial to ocean delicacies. I can even send her letters, which is my most preferred method of communication. Pepper and I will be friends probably forever.  

And thus we reach the point at which you are tired of my introduction and want me to get to the point (if you are still reading and if you are—want to see a video of Pepper encountering water for the first time?! Let me know).  This is my point: be obsessed. 

Sure, we say things like “where did you get your shirt, I’m obsessed” and “I’m obsessed with her”, but are we, really? If you are: cool! If you’re not: stop overusing my favorite word to overuse. 

Let’s overuse something else—the ocean as metaphor. 

The ocean is pretty great, right? It looks nice, it has those cool wave things (I think they’re called waves), it’s connected to the moon which is trip-py, and we like looking at how the surface changes with sunrise and sunset. I mean, we have whole songs and books and blog posts dedicated to it, so there’s got to be more to the ocean than just the surface. 

I’m probably taking this ocean metaphor too far, but there is something to be said about plumbing the depths of an unknown expanse and not knowing if you’ll meet fish or whales or a coral castle or maybe something totally out of the blue (literally) like an aquatic sloth. 

Think of it: a sloth just swimming along, looking all dopey and sentimental, and not even getting eaten because it is so pathetic that no one wants to take the time. I mean, I kind of want to see the aqua-sloth. I want to hang out with him a little. I want to tell him about my best friend, Pepper, and maybe they should be friends, too? 

The knowledge of all the known things is just there, ready to be known. And if it isn’t there, maybe that means we just haven’t found it yet. It could be there if we keep looking for it, if we are obsessed enough to keep looking for it. Or maybe it’s not there. Like, there probably isn’t anything called an aqua-sloth. But along the way, I could have found a whole ocean of other things like leopard sharks, forests of anemones, underwater volcanoes. 

Be obsessed with…it. All of it. I don’t think it’s really healthy to be obsessed with, like, pirating movies or parking in tow-zones or activities of that sort. Be obsessed with the call of your being. Be obsessed with your vocation, your life mission. Be obsessed with something that makes your heart happy. Take an interest. Take an obsession. Take a passion and run with it, literally, if you feel so led. Running could be your obsession in which case that old saying really works.

John Waters (this guy that I found on BrainyQuote who also is a Hollywood man) once said, “without obsession, life is nothing,” which I think is a little dramatic, but still. He gets it.

My point: pursue your passions, your obsessions, with sheer bliss in the fact that you are doing, learning, dreaming, and allowing that incredible sponge of a brain to soak. Learn. Spend two hours finding Pepper and be happy. And then do your homework and get happy all over again because your teacher is a genius and stories are great and you’re a nerd. 

Be obsessed, find your obsessions, the things that you want to learn more about and that you find that inkling of “I could do something with this”. Make your obsessions your passions. Make your passions your dreams. Make your dreams come true. And then find a new obsession like finding a way to travel to Scotland that is also economically attainable for someone like me. Perhaps kayaking? I’m comin’ for you, Pepper. 

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