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