"IT'S a tragedy - a musical tragedy!" one of my younger female colleagues cried.
"It's the end of the world as we know it."
I was a little taken aback because I'd checked the news websites before I came to work and there were a few tragedies - plane crashes, suicide bombings etc - but none of them the least bit musical.
"What's happened?" I asked in a rare display of genuine interest.
"Has someone died?
"Has there been another mass slaying in an African nation?
"A terrorist attack?"
She looked at me the same way most 20-something-year-old girls look at me these days.
It's a sort of puzzled look with an undisguised sneer at the corner of their mouths.
Now that I think about, it's not just young women who give me that look.
I seem to get it from women in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
In fact, an 80-year-old sneered at me when I tried to say hello in a check-out queue the other day.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, my young colleague was giving me a look of disdain.
"Haven't you heard?" she asked.
"Zayn Malic has left One Directiion."
I did a quick Google check and discovered One Direction is a boy band all the girls seem to love.
They scream a lot whenever they see them.
And throw underwear at them.
"That's too bad," I said in a slightly less genuine show of sympathy.
"Too bad!" she cried.
"Is that all you can say - too bad?
"It's a tragedy. A musical tragedy!
"This is worse than when that John Lennon bloke was killed."
Now, I don't know about you, but I a delusional fan gunning down a musical genius who wrote some of history's greatest and most enduring songs is at least slightly more tragic than some kid leaving a band I've never heard of.
But maybe that's just me.
Maybe I'm no longer hip to the groove with the young guys and chicks.
They still say that, don't they?
Don't get me wrong.
I'm sorry little whats-his-name won't get to play with his little friends any more but it's not a musical tragedy.
Elvis Presley choking to death on the toilet was a musical tragedy.
Michael Hutchence dying alone in a Sydney hotel room - musical tragedy.
Meryl Streep trying to sing in Mamma Mia - music tragedy.
Zayn Malic leaving One Direction - not a musical tragedy.
In fact, I'm not even sure it's all that sad.
Look at the history of the music industry.
Rob Thomas left Matchbox 20 and seems to be doing okay.
Robbie Williams left Take That and did all right for himself.
And Beyonce's done just fine since her days with Destiny's Child.
So I think little Zayn Malic will be all right.
In fact, I reckon we'll look back in 20 years and have trouble remembering what band he used to be part of.
Just like John Lennon and that little English group he was in.
I can never remember their bloody name.