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