Richard Gibson keeps his most cherished item on a shelf in his Lafayette, Louisiana, home.
It’s not a picture of his loved ones, nor a prized trophy, it’s a jar containing every single toenail and fingernail he’s clipped off himself since February, 1978.
“I remember it well. I still have the manicure kit,” he told The Huffington Post.
Gibson, a 58-year-old oil investor, was clipping his toenails when he decided to put the clippings into the manicure box instead of the trash can.
“I started doing it again and again and then decided to see how long it would take to fill the box,” he said proudly.
It took only two years to fill the box, but by then he was hooked, and moved his collection to the glass jar he currently uses.
“I have no idea how many nails are in the jar,” Gibson said. “It’s well into the thousands.”
Gibson’s commitment to his keratin collection hasn’t been easy at times. He says his ex-wife used to insist he hide the jar when visitors came to the house.
However, it’s finally paid off: A picture of Gibson proudly holding the jar appears in the newest Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! book, “Reality Shock!” debuting Tuesday, September 9, 2014.
“I haven’t told her,” he said. “I’m waiting until I can show her the book. She’s always been annoyed by them.”
Gibson figures the jar is 99 percent full, but hasn’t thought about what to do when the last toenail reaches the tippy-top.
“I don’t know what I’ll do,” he said. “I’ll probably put them into something else. I’ve got enough room for several more months worth of nails.”
Surprisingly, he has no set schedule for adding to the jar.
“I only cut them when I break a fingernail or toenail,” he said. “I don’t cut them that often — they’re long.”
Nails are the only clippings Gibson collects. He is a longtime fan of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! who has submitted 70,000 weird facts for inclusion in the popular column.
“I’ve had 750 of them printed, but this is the first time I’ve made it into one of the books,” he said. “It’s not like winning an Oscar, but I am proud.”