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