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