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Jon Johansen (1939-2004) was a Finnish garden gnome designer and a part-time software engineer. He was most well known internationally for his ability to find any amount of alcohol, however small, inside any suburban home he stumbled into. He is also credited for the 1999 discovery of a systematic method for cracking the CSS (Content Scrambling System) used by the evil telecommunications giant Nokia.
Jon Johansen is often confused with Jon Lech Johansen a Norwegian hacker legend. The two men have, however, very little in common.
The Formative Years
Jon Johansen was born in December 1939 into a small Swedish-speaking family in a small village in the Finnish Ostrobothnia. His father, Johan Johansen was a right-wing Member of Parliament and a practicing xenophobe. His mother, Hjördis nee Takakirves hunted small furry mammals and considered his husband a traitor to the Cause. Life was hard even before the family home was spectacularly destroyed by a stray German V-2 rocket some years later.
Johansen abruptly left home at the age of 12 to follow his dream to become a xenophobe like his late father, who was shot by his own men during the war. His studies at the National Institute of Xenophobia were a failure due to his short stature and frequent bouts of alcoholism, during which he suffered continual, haunting nightmares of the Helsinki Olympic Games of 1952. After leaving the Institute, he drifted from a job to another, working as a flight attendant, border guard and a professional gambler in a period of two weeks. He took a ship to Poland, but abandoned his plans to become a monk after long discussions with a helpful Warsaw priest.
In the year 1964 young Johansen, in his capacity as a architectural advisor to Enver Hoxha, the leader of Albania, led a crack team of bunker designers in a daring, almost suicidal raid against the Enemies of the People high in the mountains. The surviving records are sketchy at best, but it can be deduced that by this time Johansen had found his true calling in life. Exactly what this was, however, is not known as Johansen was weeks later found 20 miles away suffering from a total amnesia, his body marked by mysterious symbols.
Finally returning in Finland at the age of 28 in 1967 Johansen, mistaken as the Shah of Persia, was greeted with a volley of rotten eggs,a military band and an embarrassed young Undersecretary of State. The next summer the same band played at Johansen's wedding as he married the Undersecretary, a stunning brunette by the name of Matilda von Himmelsgarten.
Following his wife's suggestion, Johansen applied to become the Provincial Garden Gnome Designer for Pohjois-Savo in 1969. His nomination for the position some months later was a result of a happy mix-up in the local governor's record office, but nevertheless it spelled a new, if somewhat underrated, era in the world of Finnish garden gnome design. Johansen's controversial designs led to several scandals during the tumultuous 1970s, and as he caused the downfall of the Puupää government during the International Beer Crisis of 1974, he was even accused and briefly imprisoned for blasphemy. Johansen's good relations with the President helped him to keep his position, and even though he was severely critisized, at times the income from selling his gnomes to the Soviet Union was almost the only thing keeping the national economy afloat.
In the 1980s, however, Johansen's alcoholism got gradually worse and his Olympic nightmares returned, accompanied by horrible visions of small furry mammals praying for their lives. His long vacations with his old comrade, Pope John Paul II, certainly helped, but in the end he only found solace in software engineering. This was something tangible he could do to send away his demons, while at the same time being utterly unproductable.
Jon Johansen died in 2004 at the age of 65 after he was accidentally hit in the head by an ancient war axe thrown out of a passing car. The axe, previously used in the famous 1969 Accidental Axe Murders of Lake Bodom, is currently under display in the Finnish National Museum in Helsinki. To the bafflement of many, Johansen was buried, under extreme secrecy, into a remote cave in the mountains of Albania. Directions to his grave can be requested from the Weird Foreign Sect Office in Tampere, but it is said that those who seek his grave will never return.
- 90% of Jon Johansen's male (and 15% of female) relatives and predecessors for the last 10 generations were named "Johan" or "Jon".
- The Finnish small furry mammal population has been growing dangerously after the Government's suppression of traditional hunting practises in 1983.
- In some parts of Northern Russia, a Jon Johansen- designed garden gnome is considered to be the Antichrist.
- This article was copied verbatim from the study "Drunkards, Nutcases and Megalomaniacs: the Psychohistory of the Men Behind the Finnish IT Revolution" by Professor John Bridges, PhD, University of Helsinki.