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