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