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