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