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 Long-eared Donkey and would no more work than Ice Fried in Batter. So worthless was he that he was nicknamed by some An Old Gossip, by others The Middle of Next Week.
One day he was standing near A Blue Monkey when word was brought him by Puss in Boots that an uncle had died and left him A Base Ball.
The news coming so suddenly, very nearly gave him Punch and Judy. He rallied from the surprise however, and began to speculate as to what he would do with A Fierce Bull-Dog. At first he thought he should buy An Erroneous Idea and build A Happy Dyspeptic four stories high. Then he thought he would start A Fish Dinner and exhibit A Genteel Tramp and A Water Butt and again he would be A Bucket of Swill
Peter thought it a great care to be A Liver Pad. When he was poor he had little to think of except A White Elephant or A Pair of Trousers and little to do but work at A Swarm of Bees and eat A Bow-legged Rhinoceros and A Hot Poker three times a day. Now he was as nervous as A Dandy Dude.
Peter was anxious to see A Great Nuisance so he took a steamer to New York, and put up at A Poor Man's Plaster. The next morning he bought A Tin Soldier and A Game of 'My Wife and I', was measured for A Bustle and encased his feet in A Pandowdy. He next invested in A Pugilist, and spent much time in selecting A Tough Old Gander to give Tom Thumb.
When he was dressed in these, he looked like Blue Beard, but Peter thought no one would take him for Stewed Caterpillars.
But he wandered about as curious as A Dose of Salts staring like A White Crow, and bumping against A Pinch of Snuff and stumbling over A Basin of Turtle Soup.
He felt ill at ease and would have preferred going to see A Tipsy Tar than wandering about like A Fainting Lobster. One day he made the acquaintance of A Gridiron who volunteered to introduce him to A Brick-bat and help him spend his money as fast as A Glass Eye or a locomotive could run over An Energetic Turtle.
Peter was delighted and treated his friend to A Hot Sugar Pudding and A Green-Eyed Pedagogue. They went together to the opera, and Peter bought A Sensation to throw at the principal singer whom he said resembled A Sore Head.
They next visited A Boodle Alderman and Peter confessed that he liked the play of A Warming Pan better than A Lump of Dough. In this way he got rid of considerable money and A Stewed Fiddle but he was having as nice a time as A Warm Poultice ever had, and he felt he would rather be Peter Coddle than A Bob-tailed Donkey.
Peter's friend secured him an invitation to An Insane Bedbug, for which it was necessary for him to have A Red Wig. Dressed in this he looked exactly like A Bob-tailed Rabbit and imitated the manners of A Lantern Post. As he was not versed in the usages of good society, he bought A Short-hand Poem which he studied diligently.
He went to the party dressed in A Crazy Mule and having A Dynamiter for a button-hole bouquet. In his efforts to be polite he made as many grimaces as A Benighted Collier and contorted his body equal to A Poke Bonnet or The Book of Fate.
He was introduced to a young lady as beautiful as A Flannel Nightcap who wore A Quilted Petticoat over A Sea Serpent.
The two promenaded until the band played An Emetic which set the ladies and gentlemen dancing around like A Motor Man.
Peter, being anxious to please, exerted himself with the energy of A Pickled Whale and the grace of Broiled Eggs. He had no idea that he was acting like A Dreadful Pain and making his partner feel as if she was dancing on A Lame Porpoise.
After the party, as he was going back to his hotel he was mistaken for Jack the Giant Killer by a policeman, who arrested him and dragged him to the station, beating him with A Small-mouthed Crockodile so that when he got there he looked like An Honest Lawyer; he was locked up for the night in a cell as cold as I Know Not What.
The next morning he was taken before the court, fined $5.00 and costs for disturbing A Leg of Veal.
This experience greatly frightened Peter, and as soon as he was released he ran as fast as A Pair of Lace Lappets 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 Yellow Hen and is as lazy as A Hod of Coal.
It is perhaps needless to say that Peter has never since visited New York.