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Mystery Keys and Universal Locks

Putting an end to padlock puzzlement and key conundrums.
  (+13, -2)(+13, -2)
(+13, -2)
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We all have keys that we just don't have a use for, but we're too scared to throw away;

That little brass one that looks like it opens something really important, but you can't remember what.

That big shiny one that must surely fit the garage door, but just doesn't.

And that old gnarly one that you found in your grandmother's house, possibly leading to her hidden riches.

Now you can satisfy your irrational desire to know what spare keys are for by purchasing the Universal Lock: a small box which can be opened with absolutely any key* and offers no resistance whatsoever to any vaguely key-shaped impliment you decide to jam in its hole. You could probably get it open with your finger. So, next time you find a key and wonder what its for, just use it on the Universal Lock and your curiosity will vanish with a sigh of, "Oh, so that's what it opens."

*except one. If you happen to be very organised and know what all your keys are for, you don't have to miss out on a sense of infuriating inquisitiveness - just buy yourself a Mystery Key. These keys fit nothing at all and are specially designed not to open the Universal Lock. You'll be stumped, and that's a guarantee.

kpx, Sep 06 2001


       Someone else would have to buy you a universal lock without telling you or it wouldn't work...
RobertKidney, Sep 06 2001

       And mystery keys are often available where keys are made. When they bugger up making a key, they often chuck them into boxes to be recycled, or just pitched when someone gets around to it. I knew someone who once asked for the box, and got several hundred keys. They apparently make decent fishing weights, being usually chrome plated and shiny, and when attached correctly will flash and attract fish.
StarChaser, Sep 08 2001

       oh | do feel dim here sometimes - sorry but whats in this box - is it a cryptic note or a map or an address or nothing - if so whats the point
po, Sep 08 2001

       I second po's point: I'm more concerned with what's behind, or in, the thing that the key opens...because THAT'S why I wanted to know what the key is for in the first place.   

       It would be cool to have a place I could go with all my mystery keys. There'd be a room and a door which would act as a portal. I'd try one key, open the door, and step into my old apartment. Step outside, close the door and use another key. I'd find myself outside my old house next to my first bike. In short, each mystery key would transport the owner to the surroundings, or time-period, for which that key was used. As soon as one closes the door, locks the lock, etc., the person would be transported back to the present. The keys would then serve as memory portals.
iuvare, Sep 08 2001

       weren't ford fiestas like that?
dekoi, Sep 08 2001

       I like iuvare's version a lot, although it's quite magical. There's some sort of logical dodginess to the original idea, like that proposal that had us fastening $100 bills to things so we wouldn't misplace them.
Dog Ed, Sep 09 2001

       Sentiments appreciated, but I'll be the first to say my variation is a WIBNI as it involves time travel and makes no attempt at proposing a way to achieve the desired end. kpx's idea just got me thinkin' is all.
iuvare, Sep 09 2001


       could a drug induce this portal you imagine in a dream that is remembered in the morning   

       I usually remember my dreams
po, Sep 09 2001

       The Punster can no longer resist suggesting Mystery Keas and Universal Lox. He can not, however, justify this annotation.
Dog Ed, Sep 09 2001

       The point, I believe, is to give you something that that rusty, elderly key that you haven't seen since you moved into the house 40 years ago opens, so it doesn't haunt you as to 'what does this key open'.
StarChaser, Sep 09 2001

       Turning the key in order to open a lock, as we all know, is not the point. The point is: What's behind the door that I can't even remember existing?
snarfyguy, Sep 10 2001

       Clever "what if" scenario...but the paradox is apparent, not real, UnaBubba.   

       The existence of the lock/door/etc. does not depend on my memory. Every real key is made to fit a real door. Because I can't remember what the key was for, doesn't mean that the door no longer exists. It simply means I don't remember what door it's for. In other words, the door is there, I just haven't realized it yet.
iuvare, Sep 10 2001

       <too much coffee>A short step from that to making a completely random key just to see what fantasy room it unlocks.</too much coffee>

Mmmmm... Smoked Salmon...
hippo, Sep 10 2001

       Baked: Holden Kingswood door locks.
stupop, Sep 10 2001

       If we really wanted to stump people, we could put another key inside the box, which opens nothing.   

       I'm going to bed.
kpx, Sep 12 2001

       What about mystery light switches. My living room has 3 switches and I only know what two of them do. That 3rd switch drives me nuts!!!!! Maybe it turns the toilet into a portal...step in the bowl and flush...<FLUSH-FLUSH-GURGLE-teleporter noises>...and i'm in a fantasy world????
dr_photon, Mar 14 2002

       Look at [po]'s annotation on Sept 8th. She's used a pipe character (|) instead of an upper case I.
angel, Mar 14 2002

       Don't you mean an upper case i? Or an I. Not both?
RobertKidney, Mar 15 2002

       given up smokin' now angel.
po, Mar 15 2002

       A week from now, dr_photon will get a letter from someone in Zimbabwe saying 'Stop playing with that switch!'
StarChaser, Mar 16 2002

       dr photon - knock holes in the wall and follow the wires. It will lead to an alien transmitter sending messages to its masters to come and destroy us with their anti-monument lasers
chud, Mar 16 2002

       I have about 4 of those mystery switches at my house, but i found out that they were for outdoor lights that were never installed, apparently they were out of stock when the house was renovated and noone has ever gotten around to ordering new ones.

       I was pretty bummed out when i heard that.
I thought they did something cool.
andrew1, Sep 27 2005

       In my area, folks are real leery about giving out buggered up keys. Depending on your neighborhood, there's up to a 1 in 50 chance that a neighbor can unlock your door with their key. So yeah, let's give out buggered up keys to criminals...
ye_river_xiv, Jun 28 2006


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