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