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