When a self-described “Drunken Fool” stole the one crucial ingredient in the Downtown Hotel bar’s Sourtoe Cocktail, the hotel staff was unsurprisingly furious. “Toes are very hard to come by,” Terry Lee, Downtown’s ‘Toe Captain’ said at the time. (The thief eventually sent the severed toe back through the mail.)
But in the next few weeks, a postal worker in Dawson City, Yukon will unknowingly be delivering three fresh (or fresh-ish) backup toes.
Nick Griffiths, an ex-Royal Marine from Bolton, England, lost three of his lower digits after attempting to complete the 300-mile Yukon Arctic Ultra race in February. Only 21 people entered the event—called “the World’s Coldest and Toughest Ultra”—and Griffiths was one of five competitors who were pulled out of the race by medics on its second day. He’d reached the 60-mile mark and knew he’d developed frostbite on his hands, face and ears, but had no idea that his feet were beyond wrecked, thanks to “unprecedented” low temperatures of -54 Celsius (-65 Fahrenheit).
Griffiths was transported by both snowmobile and truck to the Whitehorse General Hospital, where he learned the fate of his feet. “I wasn't particularly worried and the doctor came in and had a look,” he told the Bolton News. "He said this is third or fourth degree frostbite. This is as bad as it gets. You are going to lose some or all of your toes."
While he was in the hospital, a nurse showed him a video of herself drinking the Downtown Hotel’s Sourtoe Cocktail and told him about the drink. When Griffith found out that three of his toes would have to be amputated, he wrote to the bar to ask if he could make a donation.
“They wrote back and said they’d really love to have them and I would forever be immortalized in their hall of fame if I did,” he told the Canadian Press. “So I asked the surgeon, when I went into the [operating] theater. And he said, ‘Yeah it’s sort of a bizarre thing to ask for, but you can have ‘em.’” (Bar manager said that he’d be looking forward to getting these new contributions because big toes—like the one Griffiths is sending—are “the meatiest.”)
Right now, Griffiths’ newly removed toes are still in three small jars, stored inside a cabinet in his bedroom. He’s trying to figure out the best way of getting them to northwest Canada, which may or may not involve dropping them in the mail. MUNCHIES has reached out to Griffiths for further information about his bodily donations but has not yet received a response.
Check those postmarks, Yukon mail carriers. You might be delivering some disembodied digits.