Transference drinking a brew with a Dead Man’s Toe?

A bar in Alaska puts a human toe in a person’s beer as an initiation rite. What human diseases can a person catch from the toe?

Venereal , aids , mad cow, or foot in mouth? (Play on hoof and mouth disease, though many drunks do have foot in mouth disease.)

Persons have swallowed the toe. People around the country donate toes upon death for this rite. I seriously want to know the facts on this matter. I chose to phrase it in a fun way, but I am looking for serious answers.

Very simple marinade or cooking should take care of most things you could catch except for maybe prion diseases or weird parasites.

Sorry, no info to offer re the OP.

But I’d just like to nominate this for ‘Most Bizarre & Intriguing Thread Title Of The Year’. I felt I had to open it just to find out what it meant.

I’d like to see some more info verifying the actual existence of this custom; especially: How can a person ‘donate a toe’ on death, to a bar?

It depends on whether the toe is:

Raw. (Diseases possible, but unlikely. Diseases would be bacterial, such as staph or strep. Chance of catching staph from an alcoholic drink with a toe floating around in it: very low.) You would not get a prion disease (such as CJD or mad cow) from a raw toe floating in your beer. You have to consume brain to get a prion disease. And eating one brain once probably isn’t enough exposure. So having a dead man’s toenail bump up against your lip isn’t going to do anything to your brain… heh, heh, heh.

Preserved in alcohol. You are pretty safe.

Cooked. You are very safe.

Preserved in formaldehyde. You are going to get sick from the formaldehyde. But not fatally sick, and you’ll be better eventually.

Spoiled. Okay, now you can catch food poisoning. That would be one hell of an initiation rite. Only the bar wouldn’t survive the investigation, so it wouldn’t still be open, so this makes it an urban legend.

Put it this way. If I said, “There’s a bar in Iowa where they put a fresh piece of steak in your beer as an initiation rite,” what diseases would you expect to catch from a piece of meat? Raw, cooked, or alcohol-preserved, a piece of meat is not going to hurt you by bumping up against your lip unless it has gone bad. And we humans are meat. Our toes are bone and meat. And a little skin, which is probably the most dangerous part (colonized with bacteria). But we’re designed to be pretty well immune to the germs on our digits if our bodies are working the way they’re intended. After all, most of us put our fingers in our mouths some of the time.

I say go ahead and get initiated. You’re safe.

Trust me.

heh, heh, heh, heh…

I remember reading about this bar in the Nose (aka the San Francisco Nose). It’s called the Sourdough Saloon, and is located in Dawson City.

They have a rhyming rule on the ritual libation:

You can drink it fast, or drink it slow
But your lips have got to touch the toe

According to this, it’s a single, dessiccated toe.

Here’s the link for the article.

I wish to keep this in General Questions, so please don’t get out of control
Dopers, though a little fun in the replies is fine as a side note to an answer.

The proprietor says the keep a spare in the freezer, and I believe the digit to be only having been put in alcohol being referred to as pickled. I don’t think any refrigeration occurs once it is put to it’s use, and don’t know if the spare has soaked in alcohol before they put it to use. I was wondering what maladies can be transferred in that manor.

The information has been good so far, and thanks for the input people.

Thanks for the link.

Now toes accidentally removed from living persons by lawnmowers, etc - I can understand how these might come into free circulation, but I’m still curious as to whether a toe bequeathed to the bar would actually be delivered. What would be the logistics of such an operation?
-Somebody dies, so you quickly hack off their toe in compliance with their last wishes? The police are going to want to talk to you.
-Somebody dies and the hospital mortuary is served a request for removal and delivery of one toe? They’d just refuse.
-Ditto for funeral directors/morticians.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the concept. What kind of person would strive to complete this rite of passage? Isn’t cannibalism Theeeee Most Frowned Upon Thing A Person Can Do? Worse than incest…worse than pedophilia. Even worse than necrophelia. I’m getting a mental picture of a bunch of mountain men sitting around in a dank tavern going, “Heh. Heh-heh…he’s almost to the toe!” :eek:

Possibly not as bad as incestuous pedonecrophilia. Seriously, I don’t think cannibalism is necessarily worse than any of those things, unless it involves murdering your choice of lunch.

I wouldn’t be too concerned. Just about everything’s gone digital now.

Read The Ballad of the Ice Worm Cocktail and it’ll all make sense.

Well, I’m all for it from a survival standpoint, but as a form of entertainment? It’s not as bad as the Jeffrey Dahmer Diner, but it runs a close second.

One of my favorite Doper lines: And to paraphase:

Every state has laws on the disposal of dead bodies. And serving their toes in an alcoholic drink is not one of them.

Well, to be fair, I wasn’t considering necrophilia, pedophilia or incest in the context of light entertainment either. You therefore catch me somewhat off guard.

Thank you.
I feel one should always spend the time to compose an appropriate and interesting title.
This subject was bizarre and required an exceptional heading.

My friend was a tour guide in Alaska for a few years, and is a proud member of this club. I believe you could choose between doing a shot with a single toe, or a larger drink with five toes. If anyone wants more info about the drinking process, I’d be happy to call him up and ask away.



Not Alaska.

Glad we cleared that up, before vacation time.