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