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