I have lots of keys. Most of those that are not on the key-ring that I routinely carry with me are tagged, so that I know to what they go. But, as I was going through the drawer in which those keys are kept, I found one that was labelled
HARD KEY. I confess that this label was not and is not now very helpful.
There is such a thing as is called a
soft key; it's a passcode of some sort. What would one call a
hard key? A key that is not a soft key? That would make every key in that drawer a hard key; there'd be no use in labelling a key of that sort simply as a key of that sort.
My best guess is that this key were a key that were badly cut or worn, so that it were hard to use. But to use where?
Well, I couldn't and cannot remember; but that's okay, because I found that it matches another key that I have on a ring labelled
Orphans, and nothing goes on that ring unless I know that it's no longer possible or no longer permissible for me to use the key in its lock. (There is separate ring for keys that are merely probable orphans.) Some of the orphans also have further tags; some, as in the case of the brother of the HARD KEY do not; but when that brother was put on the ring, I knew to what it went, and knew that I couldn't or shouldn't access that lock.
I didn't save the orphans thinking that I might someday match one with an unidentified key. A few of them I saved for their sentimental values. Most I saved simply to have keys with which to do other things; for example, they could be filed into bump keys or given to children or used as props; the intention in identifying them as orphans was that most of these keys be distinguished as expendible. Of course now, in the case of a key with no twin on that ring, I will be a bit more reluctant to alter or part with it, as it might someday be matched with another mysterious key. I am enslaved by my keys.