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