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