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