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