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