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Adventures of a stay-at-home, skeptical, homeschooling dad (etc.)


The Needle

Looking for the right haystack Betty: "Hey Joe, what are you doing?"

Joe: "I'm looking for a needle."

Betty: "Why?"

Joe: "I thought maybe a needle would be a good thing to have."

Betty: "I suppose it might be useful sometimes, but why are you looking for a needle in that haystack?"

Joe: "Needles are really great! I can sew up my pants! It may even be strong enough to fix my shoe!"

Betty: "OK, but why look in there? What makes you think there's a needle in the haystack in the first place?"

Joe: "Needles are so useful! And no one has ever proven there wasn't one in here, so I'm going to look through every piece to find the needle."

Betty: "I'm not sure it works like that. You seem to be assuming there must be a needle."

Joe: "Well yeah, look at the size of this haystack! I can't believe there's not something more than hay in there!"

Betty: "But you're not just looking for "something", you're assuming there's a very specific thing: a needle. Why a needle, instead of, say, a dead bird, a popscicle stick, a worn-out toothbrush, or an old teapot? Or even just nothing but hay, dirt, and bugs?"

Joe: "That would be less useful. Nothing like a needle at all. I won't let your negativity stop me; I need to fix my pants and shoe! I'll find the needle, whatever form it takes!"

Betty: "I'm not sure it's 'negative' to ask about… Wait, what? What do you mean 'whatever form it takes'?"

Joe: "Since few people have ever found needles in haystacks, and scientists with equipment never do, it leads me to believe the needle might be disguised as something else, or even undetectable."

Betty: "That seems… unlikely. If that's the case, how will you find it? How do you know what to look for?"

Joe: "I think I'll just know. Wow! Here's one right here!"

Betty: "That… uh… that looks a lot like a piece of hay."

Joe: "No, no: it's a needle! See, I'll just try this out… … Oh… Ok, so it couldn't mend my sole[1], but if I jab it just like this, it kinda sorta fixes the hole in my pants, a little. It'll work for now, and it proves the search is worthwhile. I'll keep looking!"

Betty: "I'm sorry it didn't work out… Good luck in your search, I guess. But I still don't really get why you've decided there must be a needle here."

Joe: "Just like I told you: a needle would be very useful!"