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