I don’t remember exactly how or where, but when I was writing the short story “All Alone” (now part of the anthology Shotgun Honey Reloaded: Both Barrels Vol. 2), I stumbled across the phrase “deader than four o’clock.”
It’s a great phrase, instantly evocative, so of course I used it in the story — one character looks at another and pronounces him “deader than four o’clock.”
At the time, I was completely unaware of the March 2007 TED Talk by the poet Rives on the topic of 4 a.m. and its place in pop culture. I saw the talk this weekend on Netflix, and it’s both delightful and a little bit spooky:
The mystery of four o’clock in the morning has also been explored by NPR.
And you don’t want to miss The Museum of Four in the Morning.