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