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