Another perspective on the ordinary nail cutter and jeepney driver....

 I decided to add an educational/historical/scientific element to my blog in the hopes of giving a little bit of importance to ordinary items/persons that we use/mingle with on a daily basis. Just some things that we normally take for granted and only realize their need or use when they are missing or no longer available.

For my first item, I chose the humble and sometimes insignificant nail cutter.

Item:     Nail Cutter

Reason for Choosing:     

My nails seem (or at least I think it does) to grow quicker than anyone else’s and so I like to keep a nail cutter in my bag, handy and ready for when the need arises. However, it appears I have misplaced both my nail cutters and so my fingernails are longer than I need them to be. I keep my fingernails really short and because they are longer now, it is quite uncomfortable when typing on the keyboard and hazardous to the face and body (mine especially) when too much force is applied. I also think long fingernails are dirty so given my OCD, I have to deal with the constant checking of fingernails and fidgeting of fingers.

Trivia question:              Who invented the nail cutter and how did it come to get invented?
            Definition: (Wikipedia)
           A nail clipper (also called a nail trimmer or nail cutter) is a hand tool used to trimfingernails, toenails and hangnails.

Levers of a compound-lever clipper. Purple triangles denote the fulcrums.

Nail clippers are usually made of stainless steel but can also be made of plastic and aluminum. Two common varieties are the plier type and the compound lever type. All are common household objects. Most nail clippers usually come with another tool attached, which is used to clean dirt out from under nails. A nail clipper often has a miniature file fixed to it to allow rough edges of nails to be manicured. A nail file allows for removal of any excess nail that is jagged or has been missed. Nail clippers occasionally come with a pocket knife or a nail catcher. The nail clipper consists of a head which may be concave or convex. Specialized nail clippers which have convex clipping ends are intended for trimming toenails, while concave clipping ends are for fingernails. The cutting head may be manufactured to be parallel or perpendicular to the principal axis of the cutter. Cutting heads which are parallel to the principal axis are made to address accessibility issues involved with cutting toenails.


The inventor of the nail clipper is not exactly known, but the first United States patent for an improvement in a finger-nail clipper (implying such a device already existed) seems to be in 1875 by Valentine Fogerty. Other patents for an improvement in finger-nail clippers are in 1876, William C. Edge, and, in 1878, John H. Hollman. Filings for complete finger-nail clippers (not merely improvements) include, in 1881, Eugene Heim and Celestin Matz, in 1885, George H. Coates (for a finger-nail cutter), and, in 1905, Chapel S. Carter (son of a Connecticut Baptist church deacon) patented a finger-nail clipper with a later patent in 1922. Around 1913, Carter was secretary of the H.C. Cook Company of Ansonia, Connecticut which was incorporated in 1903 as the H. T. Cook Machine Company by Henry C. Cook, Lewis I. Cook, and Chapel S. Carter. Around 1928, Carter was president of the company when, he claimed, about 1896, the "Gem"-brand finger nail clipper made its first appearance.

Around 1906, the L.T. Snow company manufactured nail cutters. Around 1908 (or 1911), the King Klip Company of New York manufactured nail cutters.

In 1947, William E. Bassett (who started the W.E. Bassett Company in 1939) developed the "Trim"-brand nail clipper, the first made using modern (at the time) manufacturing methods using the superior jaw-style design that had been around since the 19th century, but adding two nibs near the base of the file to prevent lateral movement, replacing the pinned rivet with a notched rivet, and adding a thumb-swerve in the lever. (Wikipedia)

I tried to dig more on how people cut their nails prior to the invention of the nail clipper but have not found anything very substantial. There were even gross speculations of people biting their nails in the olden times to keep them short and even weird and scary speculations about actually “ripping them off”! (Ouch! I could accept the biting because when I was younger and up until high school, I was a nail biter but the ripping off? Yikes!! Talk about torture!!)

So I stopped digging on the internet and did some digging on my handbag instead… Receipts, papers, tissue, wallet, toothbrush, USBs, USB chord, gum wrapper, memo pad, coins and voila just hiding beneath all those was the much-needed and totally-missed nail cutter! (Yey! I can finally cut my fingernails and feel at ease again. Off to the ladies room…) 10:40am 07/22/14

My fingernails are properly trimmed and neat again, so moving on... ;-) 

On to my next point of business, the first person I’ve chosen is the sometimes annoying but hard-working jeepney driver.

Person:                Driver

According to the online dictionary, it is defined as a person who drives a vehicle. I define the driver as the  person who takes you to school or work or whatever destination safely and on time and back again.

Reason for choosing:      

Last weekend, when we went to Metro Gaisano for a short family trip, we opted to ride the jeepney instead of our motorcycle because of the rain and unpredictable weather. It was our trip back that ignited my interest and got me thinking how amazing they actually are and what a hard job they do…

Here is the story:           
We sat in the front seat (Itoy, Izel and me) and Itoy and the driver got into some serious conversation about how the driver earns a living driving the jeepney. He apparently drove the Ayala route (14D) prior to driving the OPRRA route (15) and made comparisons between both. He noted how less stressful the 14D route was compared to his current route and how it was crucial to have passengers coming out and heading back to OPRRA to really ensure a day’s earnings.

He also talked about how he was able to pay for his son’s college education by really working hard, not taking any days off and managing income and expenses. His anxiousness was also evident when he mentioned the very high fines and sanctions imposed on Traffic Violations that escalates with every incident and could even result to 2-months suspension and cancellation of their driver's license. His anxiousness was more evident when he said “how would I feed my family then?” (in Cebuano ofcourse)

With these words, he immediately evoked both my sympathy and my reverence. I wanted to take a picture of him so I could feature him on my blog but since I was not wearing my “reporter hat” that time, so I skipped it. (Plus, it would most definitely weird him out, for sure!)

I don’t know his name and probably most (if not all) passengers barely even notice the person driving the jeepney they are riding but this driver tried to make his own mark. He was polite and said good evening to his passengers in telling them to squeeze tightly (“sikit-sikit" in Cebuano, not sure if I translated it correctly though) so other passengers can take a seat and humored them by saying “so everyone is seen by the camera”, when referring to the big rearview mirror in front of him that he uses to spy on all his passengers.

Ofcourse he does his little verbal antics amidst all other activities he is simultaneously doing such as stepping on the pedal and the breaks, controlling the steering wheel, watching out for other vehicles alongside him on the road, watching out for boarding passengers, listening to offloading passengers, accepting fare and giving out the change, watching out for traffic signals, etc.

Yet, none of this is visible to the regular person riding the jeepney - the driver is just our means to get to our destination, and yet, every single trip we ride safely should be a reason to be grateful for them. Every single safe ride that outweighs all other accidents is reason enough to appreciate them and give them more merit.

We have such high regard for doctors, lawyers, teachers and a lot of other professions yet don’t care so much for the humble drivers who “literally” move our economy and our nation. We are not alien to jeepney strikes and what effects it has on livelihood and the normal state of things. We know all too well that without drivers, we will be motionless; immobile and paralyzed because not all of us have motorcycles or cars and greatly rely on this mass transport system.

Drivers are comparable to doctors because of the lives they save by driving safely and avoiding accidents. They are like lawyers when they follow rules, help implement them with their vigilance and by fighting for what is fair and just. They are like teachers when they show the riding public how polite, well-mannered and honest they are and by setting a good example. Yet, it doesn’t take a diploma to practice this profession; all it takes is hard work, patience, proper driving skills, respect for human life and commitment to safety. Humor and good looks are a bonus on some. ;-)

Right now, the state of traffic in Cebu City has worsened and even as early as 6:30 am, traffic already builds up in certain areas - all the more time we have sitting on jeepneys, right? I challenge each one to stop, check out the person behind the wheel and just simply give them a pat on the back for doing a great job at keeping us all passengers safe and in one piece and making us mobile. I challenge everyone to look at an ordinary item, an ordinary person an ordinary event in an extra-ordinary way.

The nail cutter is not ordinary .....

                                                                 and neither is the driver!!! 

2:43pm 07/22/14 nmed

(pictures taken from google search)


Popular posts from this blog

Product Review: Magnolia Pancake Plus (with maple syrup)


A REVIEW: Baan Khun Thai Massage