When I was a child, I was often stuck in my great great aunt's house on rainy summer afternoons with absolutely nothing to do but read the same two Mad magazines, engage my aunt and my great grandmother in a game of Carrom, or break out "The Game of Peter Coddle's Trip to New York." It was a form of what are now called "mad libs," in which we would read the story of Peter Coddle from the provided booklet, and pull little pieces of cardboard with a variety of adjectives and nouns on them to fill in the blanks. Hilarity ensued.
The game (which had no scoring or winning, only amusement) was published as early as 1888, and by various game publishers. This edition, published by Parker Brothers, may be one of the earliest.
Each time you refresh the page, the results will be different.
When you've had enough comical variations, return to Hoxsie.
There lived in the town of Wayback a young man by the name of Peter Coddle. He was as lazy as A Fainting Lobster and would no more work than A Swarm of Bees. So worthless was he that he was nicknamed by some An Old Gossip, by others Broiled Eggs.
One day he was standing near A Sensation when word was brought him by A Dose of Salts that an uncle had died and left him A Poke Bonnet.
The news coming so suddenly, very nearly gave him A Liver Pad. He rallied from the surprise however, and began to speculate as to what he would do with A Large Blister. At first he thought he should buy A Gridiron and build A Brick-bat four stories high. Then he thought he would start A Sea Serpent and exhibit Tom Thumb and A Lantern Post and again he would be A White Crow
Peter thought it a great care to be A Flannel Nightcap. When he was poor he had little to think of except A Genteel Tramp or Blue Beard and little to do but work at A Small-mouthed Crockodile and eat A Benighted Collier and An Energetic Turtle three times a day. Now he was as nervous as A Dynamiter.
Peter was anxious to see An Honest Lawyer so he took a steamer to New York, and put up at A Yellow Hen. The next morning he bought A Great Nuisance and A Water Butt, was measured for A Pair of Trousers and encased his feet in A Bow-legged Rhinoceros. He next invested in A Warm Poultice, and spent much time in selecting An Emetic to give A Hot Poker.
When he was dressed in these, he looked like A Dandy Dude, but Peter thought no one would take him for A Game of 'My Wife and I'.
But he wandered about as curious as A Boodle Alderman staring like A Hod of Coal, and bumping against A Dreadful Pain and stumbling over A Basin of Turtle Soup.
He felt ill at ease and would have preferred going to see A Blue Monkey than wandering about like A Fish Dinner. One day he made the acquaintance of A Lump of Dough who volunteered to introduce him to The Book of Fate and help him spend his money as fast as A Motor Man or a locomotive could run over The Middle of Next Week.
Peter was delighted and treated his friend to A Tough Old Gander and A Lame Porpoise. They went together to the opera, and Peter bought A Glass Eye to throw at the principal singer whom he said resembled A Bustle.
They next visited A White Elephant and Peter confessed that he liked the play of Punch and Judy better than A Base Ball. In this way he got rid of considerable money and A Leg of Veal but he was having as nice a time as I Know Not What ever had, and he felt he would rather be Peter Coddle than Jack the Giant Killer.
Peter's friend secured him an invitation to A Pair of Lace Lappets, for which it was necessary for him to have A Bar of Soft Soap. Dressed in this he looked exactly like A Long-eared Donkey and imitated the manners of A Bob-tailed Donkey. As he was not versed in the usages of good society, he bought A Crazy Mule which he studied diligently.
He went to the party dressed in A Green-Eyed Pedagogue and having A Stewed Fiddle for a button-hole bouquet. In his efforts to be polite he made as many grimaces as A Happy Dyspeptic and contorted his body equal to An Erroneous Idea or A Hot Sugar Pudding.
He was introduced to a young lady as beautiful as A Pinch of Snuff who wore A Warming Pan over A Short-hand Poem.
The two promenaded until the band played Puss in Boots which set the ladies and gentlemen dancing around like A Quilted Petticoat.
Peter, being anxious to please, exerted himself with the energy of A Fierce Bull-Dog and the grace of A Pugilist. He had no idea that he was acting like A Tin Soldier and making his partner feel as if she was dancing on A Poor Man's Plaster.
After the party, as he was going back to his hotel he was mistaken for Stewed Caterpillars by a policeman, who arrested him and dragged him to the station, beating him with A Pickled Whale so that when he got there he looked like A Sore Head; he was locked up for the night in a cell as cold as A Pandowdy.
The next morning he was taken before the court, fined $5.00 and costs for disturbing A Tipsy Tar.
This experience greatly frightened Peter, and as soon as he was released he ran as fast as A Bob-tailed Rabbit for the depot and took the first train home, after an absence of four weeks.
If any of my readers should happen to go to Wayback they could doubtless find Peter Coddle as proprietor of the village store. He has grown as fat as A Red Wig and is as lazy as An Insane Bedbug.
It is perhaps needless to say that Peter has never since visited New York.