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