4:49 PM - I, and a few other co-workers, jump onto various news websites trying to confirm what was stated in the text message. One co-worker says he found a website that confirms it. The only website I can find that says he has died is The Brisbane Times out of Australia.
4:50PM - Co-worker from other side of the wall runs over and asks if we heard about Michael Jackson and how he has died. I inform co-worker that it can not be confirmed yet because no credible news source (i.e. MSNBC, FOX News, CNN) is running such a story. All articles from this continent state that Mr. Jackson was found not breathing at his home and taken to a hospital in Los Angeles.
4:51 PM - Read somewhere that TMZ is confirming that he has died but I don't believe anything TMZ reports. It's like believing that Perez Hilton didn't deserve that beat down from Will.i.am.
4:52 PM - Decide to take action and call the best source for news I know - My mother. She picks up on the third ring and I tell her the rumors and ask for verification. She has no knowledge of such news and goes to turn on the TV.
4:53 PM - Third co-worker approaches desk and asks what is going on. I inform her about the current status as I was waiting for the commercial break to end on the station my mom is watching.
4:54 PM - My mom tells me that Shephard Smith is reporting that Jackson was taken to an LA Hospital but they can not confirm that he has died. Co-worker in cubicle next to me goes off to spread the news around the office.
4:55 PM - Still nothing on any of the websites. My mom asks how much longer I will be at work. I tell her approximately 8 minutes. She tells me that if she hears anything she will call back.
4:56 PM - Co-worker from clear across the office appears in my cubicle and asks me if I heard about it. I answer in the positive. She says her brother called her and said the news of his death is all over TV. I balk at this because I still have yet to find any information online. She insists that her brother is a credible source and I should just go with it.
4:57 PM - Discuss with co-worker how celebrity deaths always happen in threes - in this case: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and now possibly, Michael Jackson. I think this started with Richie Vallens, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper - perhaps when I get a chance I should research this.
4:58 PM - Still no news from my mother or the internet. Start to doubt the rumors that he is dead. Possibly trying to fake an illness to get out of the massive concert tour he has planned.
4:59 PM - Stand up and stretch. Co-worker from the cubicle next to me returns and says someone else found a page confirming Jackson's death. I start to get upset with myself because my internet research skills are usually impeccible.
5:00 PM - Time to leave. I shut down my computer and bid everyone aduei and pray I can make it to my car quickly so I can listen to talk radio (yeah, I listen to talk radio) and see that the news is.
5:01 PM - Realize I left my cell phone on my kitchen table. Bummer.
And as you know by now, Michael Jackson, an icon of my youth has passed away, most likely from some sort of heart attack. It almost seems surreal. Sure, he was most likely a pedophile who went absolutely crazy in the last 20 years or so, but the first thought I had was of singing "Beat It" with my dad in his old Volkswagen Rabbit. Sure, I cracked a few jokes on Twitter and Facebook, but part of me is a little sad.
But seriously, there is nothing like a celebrity death to rally the troops at work.
~ The Office Scribe