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