My Dad and the Social Value of Always Having Jokes

Anyone who knows my dad also knows one simple truth, he’s always got jokes. I bet you that he’s told me over a thousand in my lifetime and nearly every time we spend any time together he somehow has another one in his arsenal.

I used to think that he was part of some underground joke organization that was always coming up with and distributing new material. But, over time I realized that my dad, just like a few other friends of mine, has built up a network of other people who love jokes just as much as he does.

Storytelling is the key to a good joke

Of course, knowing the joke and being able to tell it the right way are two very different things and the storytelling is what separates the pros from the wannabes. This is that my dad has mastered over the years like a carpenter who has mastered his tools, able to cut and sand any piece of wood to his will.

My dad will tell it as it’s supposed to be told, pulling you into the story and playing the roles within the joke as if he’d been practicing for months. Timing is also important and as he finally gives the punchline his laughing alone is enough to make you think it’s funny (even if it isn’t).

Telling jokes adds social value and creates connections

Over time I’ve also realized the social value of always having jokes to tell — especially when it’s expected of you. My dad has become that guy, the guy who always has a joke ready and whether you like it or not, he’s going to tell it to you. Some are good, some are bad, and some are a little offensive, but it’s what my dad does and I’ve grown to appreciate it as something that makes him unique and interesting.

I’ve tried to tell jokes like my dad does, but it’s just not my thing. I can never remember the stories and the punchlines end up falling flat. But, I’m sure being constantly exposed to his storytelling over the years has something to do with why I love writing and sharing stories, too. For my dad, telling jokes as a way to connect with other people works and I’m sure it could also work for others who are looking for a unique way to hop into a social situation and add value.

The photo below is of my dad laughing after he finished up telling me a joke at Bob Evans. I didn’t think it was that funny, but no matter what he still somehow gets a laugh out of me. What can I say, the guy’s a pro.

My Mom Let Me Draw On My Walls

Fam at the Indy Launch Party
It’s my mom’s birthday today and instead of sending her a card I wanted to tell one of the many stories of how she has impacted my life. This story is from a long time ago but is still something I remember and talk about often. I love you, mom (and don’t worry, you look amazing holding that Bud Light!)

It’s not easy being the youngest kid in a family of amazing basketball players, especially when you love drawing cartoons more than shooting hoops. I was in the 5th grade, my hair was long and I spent more time on a skateboard then on a basketball court. At this point my oldest brother and sister were two of the best high school basketball players in the state and my youngest sister was tearing it up in middle school. If there’s one thing the Hupfer’s know, it’s basketball.

Me, on the the other hand, most days I chose to stay inside during recess so I could have more time to doodle who-knows-what. I carried around an entire bag full of art supplies — paint, pencils, pads of paper, kneaded erasers and anything else I could get my hands on. I guess I liked basketball, it was all around me and I’ve played it all the time but it wasn’t at the top of my list of priorities. I was an artist and that’s all I could think about.

Enter my amazing mom who, even though I’m sure she was a little worried about my lack of interest in the family sport, was all about be bringing out my creative side. Until my interest grew in drawing and painting I had no idea my mom even had an artistic bone in her body. But soon I found out just how talented she was and I can still remember being amazed at the drawings of Disney cartoon characters she could whip up with little to no effort. You name it, she could draw it. I swear the woman can do anything.

Back then I had a bedroom with a pretty sweet walk-in closet that was turned into a room where all of my toys were stored. I didn’t go in there much anymore since I had outgrown most of my toys but when I was given a drawing table for Christmas it changed the game. Toy box was out, drawing table was in and I felt like I was finally going to have a place all to myself where I could really explore my creativity.

It’s also worth noting that also around this time is when the Super Nintendo was launched and it was pretty much the most amazing thing, ever. Every other friend of mine got one for Christmas. But, unlike most other parents my mom wasn’t about to buy me one. Instead she decided to buy me the drawing table and I was totally cool with it. I can still remember the feeling of raw excitement when thinking about getting it setup in my closet.

Just when I thought the drawing table was the best thing that could ever happen in my life my mom then drops another bomb on me. She bought some white paint and told me we’re painting the walls of my newly christened drawing room.

“You going to help me paint the walls?”, she asked.

“Why are we painting it?” I wondered.

My mom looks at me, smiles and says, “How else are you going to be able to draw on them?”

How could I say no? We quickly painted the small room and when it dried I had a bigger canvas than I could have ever imagined. It was all mine and I couldn’t believe it. My mom was actually going to let me draw on my walls. I thought it was awesome then but looking back now it’s pretty much the most amazing thing, ever. Once we moved the table in the fun began.

For the next year or so I covered the walls with every cartoon character I could find. Tiny Toons, Loony Tunes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bart Simpson were drawn, painted and showcased right there in my own little space in the world. In a time when she could have easily worried about me not following in my family’s basketball footsteps, my mom supported me and fed my creativity and imagination.

This is one of the many reasons why I love my mom and a small glimpse of how important she’s been in shaping who I am today. I’m not sure how I got so lucky but I’m really glad I did.


Riding On The Tractor With Dad

Dad's Tractor

The tractor was old and dad started it with a few strong turns of a crank. I can still hear the chug-a-chug of the engine once it fired up. It was a bright orange Allis-Chalmers that was older than my dad but it looked brand new. That’s how dad likes to keep things.

The house I grew up in had a big yard which meant dad mowed a lot. Each year once the grass started to grow dad spent hours on that bright orange tractor and our immaculately manicured yard was proof of his dedication. Every hill and ditch got the attention from dad it deserved and no uneven blade of grass was left in his wake.

On special days before I outgrew the space on the black vinyl seat between dad’s legs and the noisy manual stick shift I would get to ride with him. He would guide the tractor by pulling the stiff black steering wheel left and right while I held onto his thighs and the large wheel wells that were high on either side of us. Once we slowed down he would sometimes let me steer but not when we were going full speed. That tractor might of been old but it wasn’t slow.

Most of the time there was too much noise to talk but nothing really needed to be said. I was with my dad and together we were on an adventure. Magically the laps around our familiar yard were transformed into something new and exciting. Warm sunshine covered our faces while the vibrations of the old tractor moved every part of us that could shake. Strong, intermittent smells of exhaust and fresh cut grass came and gone as we made our way through the pattern my dad could have followed in his sleep.

The time spent with dad on his tractor was special but I didn’t realize that for a while. Most things dad did for me seemed normal, like they were supposed to happen and for me they always did. It’s funny, as I get older I continue to realize just how awesome my dad really is and all of the ways he’s impacted my life (and still is). Dad, here’s to you and all of the times we’ve had together — especially while on the tractor. Happy Father’s Day.


I’m An Uncle (again)

The Bossnack Fam
Meet the new addition to the fam, Mallory Kaye.

Before this week I was an uncle to five girls and three boys. That’s eight nieces and nephews for all of you math gurus out there. But apparently that’s not quite enough because right around 48 hours ago the girl to guy ratio went up one notch higher.

That’s right, there was yet another XX chromosome added to our family thanks to my sister giving birth to a 7lb 6oz human named Mallory Kaye Bossnack. I like to call this ability a super power but apparently creating humans and releasing them into the wild is a common thing that females are capable of. What can I say, women never cease to amaze me.

Even though this is niece or nephew number nine for me I’ve been much more involved with this pregnancy than any of the others. I remember when my sister first told me she was pregnant, being sent her first ultrasound on my phone, seeing her belly move around for the first time on Skype and keeping up with the progress of the baby room.

I wanted to be more involved with the process this time around and I’m grateful to have had the chance to do that for the past nine months. My sister’s an amazing woman, I love her more than hummus and walking though this her has been something I’ll never forget.

Congrats to my sister Angie, her husband John and now big sister Colleen. I’ve been very blessed to have been able to be a part of the pregnancy and I can’t wait to hold Mallory for myself sometime soon.


The Big 3-3 And What This Last Year Has Meant To Me

Happy 33!

First question, when did I hit 30? Second question, am I really 33 already? According to my Facebook wall, random texts from Congo and future phone calls from friends and family it’s true so who’s to say otherwise? Ok, I’ll admit it — I’m creeping into my mid-30s. I guess the only thing that’s good about this whole “getting older” thing is that this past year was most likely one of the most positively transitional times of my life. Meaning, even though there was plenty of struggle for me in the past 365 days (you have no idea), last year was amazing to experience and I feel more blessed now than ever. In other words, I’m pretty sure I’m in my prime.

So what are some of the thing that have made my last year so valuable to me? I’m sure I could write a million things and go page after page but none of us really want that. We’re all busy people with limited time, which is why I’m happy to give you a Cliff Notes version instead.

To all of my friends and family who have been there for me over the past year, you’ll never have any idea what your love and support has meant to me. I love you and I hope you already knew that without me having to tell you in a blog. Moving on…

Learning what loving someone really means. There are plenty of ways to show that you love someone but the most powerful way is by doing what you know is right and fighting for what you believe. Always keeping someone happy isn’t loving them. Being honest, sacrifice and never letting go is love to the fullest.

Studying the Bible. I’m a strong believer that if I’m going to put my faith in Jesus Christ then I had better know what I’m signing up for. The Bible is the center of following Christ and although I feel a strong spiritual connection I didn’t feel like I knew enough about the word. To learn more about it I’ve been going to Bible Study Fellowship in SF for the past few months and it’s been a great way to dig deeper into my faith.

Becoming a morning person, for real. I’ve never been a morning person but as I got older and had more responsibility I felt like getting up early was the only option for squeezing in everything into one day. It’s been tough and I don’t always stick with it (like when I was in Indiana for the holidays) but I’m not well aware of the amazing benefits getting up at the crack of dawn and it’s becoming more of a habit every day.

Meeting Mo. Wow, what can I say about Mo other than the fact that he’s been one of the biggest blessing’s I’ve ever had in my life. If you would have told me that becoming friends with someone who’s homeless would end up shaping me into a man more than everything else in my life combined I would have called you crazy. The work that God is doing on Mo is nothing short of a miracle and how the relationship has challenged me personally isn’t too far behind. Of course, the fact that our story went viral all over the world was pretty crazy, too. That’s still hard to believe.

Realizing the value of real relationships. My entire life it’s been really easy for me to become friends with lots of people. What hasn’t always been easy for me is creating strong, personal and meaningful relationships with the people in my life who really matter most. This past year of my life I’ve focused on taking the time and making the effort to show those who mean the most to me how much I love them and all I hope is that they’ve noticed.

My connection to Congo. I’m really not sure how it happened but somehow, someway I’ve developed an amazing connection to Congo and the amazingly beautiful people who live there. Traveling there for the second time last year was an incredible experience for me and the time I was able to spend with my Congolese brothers and sisters is something I hold very dear to my heart. If you haven’t seen me dancing while in Congo I suggest you take a look, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life. I have a feeling my story with Congo isn’t close to being over and I can’t wait to see where God takes it next.

Seeing isocket grow into a real company. A little over three years ago I was the first employee at a small, unknown online advertising startup called isocket. I had no idea what I was doing and I knew nothing about the online advertising world but for some reason I felt like what we were doing was important and that our fearless leader, John Ramey knew exactly what he was doing. A couple rounds of funding and about fifteen more employees later we’re building a business that’s leading what’s predicted to be a multi-billion dollar market.

Killing caffeine. I’ve tried to kick the habit of downing Big Gulps full of Dew, brewing K-cups and heading to Starbucks but I always came back. A month or so I ago I decided for the last time that I’m done with caffeine and this time I’m sticking with it. When I’m in shape I don’t need it, I don’t like feeling dependent on it and it only makes me more anxious and over-energized anyway. If you know me you already know I’ve got plenty of energy to burn so cutting out caffeine was really the only option for me.

Dedicating time to writing. I guess this is becoming more apparent as I write more posts like this one you’re reading right now but I’ve been writing more than ever over the past year (and especially over the past couple of months). It’s a great way for me to get my thoughts together and I’m a believer in the power of sharing experiences with others as a way to help them with the things they’re dealing with in their lives. We were never meant to go through things along and getting my thoughts and experiences out to the world can only help.

I’m sure I missed some stuff but these are the handful of things that immediately came to mind when thinking back at all of the awesome things that have happened to me during my thirty-second year on this crazy planet of ours. I’m feeling great going into my thirty-third and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

If you have anything you would like to share with me on my birthday, I’d love to hear from you. I really appreciate you taking the time to stop in and spend time in my little corner of the internet and I can only hope that your past year was as fun and fulfilling as mine. Happy birthday to me and we’ll catch up soon.


photo credit:


The Hupfer Christmas Dance-Off — Party Rock Shuffle Edition

While I was home for Christmas we had yet another Hupfer Dance-Off, which was awesome as usual. Instead of doing the normal dance-off which usually includes all of the Hupfer’s involved simply one-upping each other with ridiculous dance moves until a winner is declared, it was decided that we would all learn the LMFAO Party Rock Shuffle dance and see who can pull it off the best. I posted a video of when I first learned the Party Rock Shuffle over here in a post before I headed back to Indiana for vacation and I was looking pretty good.

When the time for the dance-off finally came I wasn’t really sure how I would end up doing, but after my sister (who was my only real competition) forgot some of the steps halfway through I was officially declared the winner. The dance-off was a lot of fun and even though most of my family didn’t know the entire dance that didn’t stop them from getting out on the dance floor and doing their thing (more video of that coming soon).

Here’s a side-by-side video of my entry into the Hupfer Party Rock Shuffle Dance-Off and the actual LMFAO video where they bust it out for real. Not too bad for a tall white guy, huh?

Can’t see the video? You can check it out over here on YouTube.