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