This episode I’ll focus on an operative dynamic in the narrative of Lag Seeing in his quest to become a Letter Bee. He seeks to become such a person, to wear the accouterments, to perform the functions, and then be happy and live his dream. Nothing wrong with this. It’s a process of earning, paying one’s dues, and so on.
After all, the identity is externally awarded. No one can become a Letter Bee just because one has the wish and the talent. There is standardized testing and certification, as usual for a civil service job. It is the work of this show to make this process, and the journey to fulfill it challenging and filled with conflict and excitement. However, the challenge that interested me in this episode is internal.
It’s prompted by Niche, who wants nothing more in her life than to be Lag’s dingo. This is expedited by her superb qualifications. Being the spawn of Maka that she is, I think that a finer or more qualified dingo would be rare in Amberground. The conflict is, that Lag cannot, rightfully accept her service as dingo because he is not yet a Letter Bee.
Technically, Lag is right to refuse. After all, the conflict is easily resolved by him asking her to relax with the dingo label first and join him until he can take the test. When he passes, she could be his dingo officially. If not, there will be options for her in such a large city under the lawful oversight of the Postal Service, where she can become someone else’s dingo if she really wants to be one.
But we can’t have our drama that way, can we? Instead, the conflict becomes about Lag’s righteousness in refusing her as a dingo outright, simply because he’s not a Letter Bee yet. Also, the fact that he can’t accept her protection because she’s a girl and he feels moé for her. He doesn’t acknowledge that she feels moé for him. His being weak and oh so earnest increases his moé factor in her eyes exponentially.
Let us look at Lag’s possible attitude towards his objectives:
Nothing wrong with this at all. This is normal for most people, nothing out of the ordinary. We think in terms having something that enables us to do something we want, and then we allow ourselves to be happy or satisfied: When I have my MFA in creative writing I can finally start writing a novel, so I can be a writer at last.
However, this doesn’t always work for the best, if at all. There are things that can be done immediately, that waiting becomes the obstacle to. Of course this shouldn’t apply to professions that require government certification so the customer or patient can accept the risk in good faith should he allow someone to render the service for me (i.e. It’s an emergency and I’m seriously wounded and only a nurse is available to perform the treatment, then I know better than to place unnecessary blame on him should he perform less than a doctor could).
There are things we shouldn’t do when we aren’t qualified to do them, no matter how awesome we feel about themselves… especially when there is much at stake that isn’t ours (life, health, and property).
Having said all that, consider Lag’s alternative:
There are things we can do that aren’t contingent on us having the validation of others first. Lag could ‘own’ being a Letter Bee, the same way someone can choose to ‘be a man’ (as if one can stop being one). So what does it mean first, to be a Letter Bee? The fundamental thing is a willingness to deliver a message. That’s the only thing Lag needs to choose. When he can ‘be’ with that, despite not having the certification first, then he can just deliver the letter, and have the benefits of an unofficial, but most awesome of dingos.
If anything, Lag would only his interviewer and examiners how ready he is for the job… how willing he is to be of service to others. But for lack of a teacher, or mentor, it is quite believable how Lag doesn’t learn these things at once. He feels responsible for Niche when he’s barely responsible for himself. The mistakes he makes are all part of trial and error, the only methodology in his toolbox at the moment.