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