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