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