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