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