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