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