Replace the needle with a message in a plastic bottle and the haystack with the enormous pile of discarded purposeless plastic water bottles that so adorn our tide line and you'll understand where I'm coming from.
I'm guest writer today on Nic's blog, so indulge me in allowing me to tell you a true story that will both captivate and enthrall.
It is as much a reflection upon the power of modern media as it is the simplicity of the centrepiece of the story.
So, on a cold November morning by the Thames, in the remote marshland that spawned the imaginary Abel Magwitch, in the lee of where once the less fictional prison hulks were moored, a message in a bottle is found.
It is always a delight to find a message from a child. The innocence of such a request and the means by which it was conveyed made us determined to find Jack and to make his dream come true.
So,with a mission Nic set about using "Twitter" and tweeted out the picture and a request for any information about young Jack.
A minute passed, then another minute passed, quickly followed by another...
We went and opened a bottle of wine and waited to see what the outcome would be. Neither of us being great twitter users, it was all a bit of an experiment.
But.... within 3 hours...find him we did.
Once that virtual ship was launched there was no stopping it. After an incredible flurry and some seventy tweets later across the ether that we call the internet community - someone actually identified him! Through the kindness and detective work of the twittering community, we established that four weeks ago seven year old Jack, accompanied by his Mum and Dad, threw his message and his wish of being a red power ranger into the Thames from his native Greenwich.
Incidentally, for those who don't know what a Dino Thunder red Power Ranger is - see below: