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