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