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