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