“We’ll get rid of the printer, but you are irreplaceable”

Maurice Timmermans on top of the Alpe d'Huez explaining to colleagues Wammes Bos and Wendy Degens what went wrong.

“We’ll get rid of the printer, but you are irreplaceable”

After more than 25 years as an editor at Observant he will continue as a freelance journalist

28-03-2024 · Editorial

“Today has been such a heart-warming day that it makes me wonder why I’m even leaving.” However, our soon-to-be-former colleague MT (known as “Mo” to the team) has given the decision a lot of thought. He’s ready to be done with his weekly commute from Amersfoort to Maastricht. After more than 25 years as an editor at Observant – limited to two days per week in recent years – he will continue as a freelance journalist.

So this week, we took a trip down memory lane. We reminisced about the bike ride to the top of Alpe d’Huez to celebrate Observant’s 25th anniversary, where he was the only one – out of nearly a hundred UM employees – to take a wrong turn somewhere and, much to everyone’s amusement, ended up crossing the finish line from the other side. And about the headline of his very first Observant article in March 1998, which read “Employed male bachelors often reach for the bottle”. And his penchant for Q&A articles (with the questions written out), the professor he interviewed most often (Onno van Schayck), his ever-present soft brown briefcase, and the bicycle he left to languish in a university bike park after moving, with its chronically underinflated tyres. And the title of “Chief Printer” he acquired at some point. How? Our constantly malfunctioning printer, an issue we never managed to fix, happened to be near his office.

His dry humour also came up. When his future colleague CF called him to ask what it was like to work in a team with a married couple, his deadpan response was, “It’s fine, but they do spend all day kissing.” And we talked about his discerning eye in meetings (“This article needs a much stronger headline”) and, of course, the countless well-written articles he penned for Observant.

But the flowers, the envelope for a weekend getaway, the poster with old photos and memories, they all focused on the Kerkrade-born, Nijmegen-educated man who has been our cherished colleague. Or, as editor WD put it, “You’re a great colleague, and we’re sad to see you go. But we’ll survive. And the next time the printer acts up, we’ll just have to get rid of it. You are irreplaceable.”

We’re going to miss him.

Author: Riki Janssen

Photo: Philip Driessen

Tags: maurice timmermans,mo,alpe d'huez,afscheid,vertrek,freelance,journalist

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