A says-what-he-thinks 73-year-old dad is not supposed to be a sensation on Twitter. For that matter, neither is a lives-with-his-parents 28-year-old son.
But over the past month, Justin Halpern, 28, has amassed nearly a quarter of a million Twitter followers by posting daily doses of his 73-year-old father Sam's profanity-riddled reflections.
At first glance the "tweets" (140-character messages) seem like snippets from mostly innocuous, slightly off-color family conversations:
"You need to flush the toilet more than once ... No, YOU, YOU specifically need to," reads one of the tamer posts on Halpern's Twitter page, which itself has a not-so-family-friendly Internet address. "You know what, use a different toilet. This is my toilet."
But Sam's crusty comments, even on subjects as mundane as a father-son breakfast, have managed to pull in readers by the thousands:
"Don't touch the bacon, it's not done yet. You let me handle the bacon, and i'll let you handle ... what ever it is you do. I guess nothing."
In addition to a Twitter audience of nearly 250,000, Sam Halpern's quips have also won the attention of social media-savvy celebrities, big name blogs and book agents and publishers.
With just 28 tweets featuring his dad's musings on the day-to-day (meatballs, dogs, the toilet, Jim Beam and more), Halpern has turned his Twitter page into the 301st most popular page on the site, according to the ranking service Twitterholic. (That's no small feat, considering an estimated 6 million users have Twitter accounts.)
"The Daily Show's" Rob Corddry told the Twittersphere that it is "the best thing ever." Kristen Bell, star of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," recommended that her followers read it, "unless you're allergic to laughing hysterically."
Halpern said his dad, Sam, a retired doctor who grew up on a Kentucky farm, didn't even know he had thousands of fans on the Internet -- and in Hollywood -- until about a week ago.
"I really just put these online just to keep a record of them," Halpern said, adding that, as an "angsty kid" he used to keep journals of his dad's more infuriating comments.
As he grew older (and out of his tormented-teen phase), Halpern, who writes for Maxim magazine, entertained friends by posting his dad's juiciest gems on his Google chat status. Soon after he moved in with his parents earlier this summer, a friend suggested he preserve them on Twitter.
So he started choosing one winner a day to post online.
"I honestly didn't think anyone but the five people I sent it to who knew my dad would find it funny," he said. But he woke up one day to find 40,000 new followers. And then 100,000. And then 200,000. And the numbers kept climbing.
"It's super weird. It's cool," he said. "I was not expecting any of that."
Because he figured no one would read his Twitter feed and "all of my family is like Internet disabled," Halpern didn't see a need to inform his dad of his rapidly expanding fan base. As one of his best friends told him, no one in the Halpern family would read the page because "it's like you're writing a newspaper on Mars."