It’s the final countdown, J.T.

Derrick Knutson
Derrick Knutson

by Derrick Knutson

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If you’ve watched any television lately, you’re aware the band Europe has experienced resurgence, sort of, due to a Geico commercial.
There’s a guy nuking a burrito in an office lunchroom microwave, and the device’s digital timer is counting down, second by second, until the frozen fare is piping hot.
The camera cuts away, and there is the band Europe, with their lead singer, Joey Tempest, belting out the band’s 1986 hit “Final Countdown.”
I’ve joked with Jon Tatting, my reporter, who splits his time between the Post Review and the Isanti County News, that I’m going to play that song on a loop the day before he leaves for his new job.
Jon is done being a reporter here Friday. He’s taken a sales position at John Hirsch Cambridge Motors, and I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s wanted to make a career transition for a while, and this is the perfect opportunity.
When I started at the Post Review about four years ago as the associate editor, Jon already had more than decade of experience working for ECM, in various capacities. When I became editor at the paper, Jon could have just let me learn my own way, but he didn’t. He offered me the knowledge he had of the area and of journalism in general, and for that I’m grateful.
I was also sort of taken aback, in a good way, that he’d ask me for advice. It would be layout day, and Jon would be asking me about an Associated Press style rule, what I thought of a photo or perhaps a judgment call on a tough crime story. Despite him being older than me, he never acted like he knew more than me. Of course, he does know more than me in some areas, but I think I’ve been able to teach him a few things.
Working here, I also learned Jon is a helpful person — all you have to do is ask.
For example: In February of 2012, I drove over to the Budget Host parking lot in North Branch to see if it had gone out of business. It had temporarily shut down, and the parking lot was covered with snow. Not being able to see the concrete parking pylons in the lot, I drove over one of them in my little, front-wheel-drive hatchback. Subsequently, the vehicle got stuck.
I called the office, and Jon came to help me. We tried to push on the car, but it was very slippery, and neither one of us is a hulking, muscle-bound guy, so all the vehicle did was rock a little bit. We ended up going to Ruddy’s Rental, and I paid to borrow a come-along winch. We drove back to the parking lot, and we attached Jon’s car to mine, with the aid of the device.
I stuck my car in reverse and revved the engine, and Jon did the same with his car, albeit in drive. That was enough to free my car from its pylon prison. Jon helped me in that instance, and he continued to help me over the next three years, mainly with newspaper-type stuff, though.
There’s going to be a noticeable change in the Post Review and the Isanti County News with Jon departing. He’s an excellent writer and photographer, and it’s going to be difficult to find someone who has the type of skills he possesses. I know he’s excited for his new career opportunity, but we’ll all miss him.
I might even miss this recurrent conversation:
Me: “Jon, you done with that story?”
Jon: “Just 10 more minutes.”
Congrats on the career move, Jon. I’m confident it’s the resurgence you’re looking for.

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