***All rights reserved
[This letter was adapted from a legal template where ALL CAPS were used in a BEWILDERING fashion. Not having PASSED A BAR of any kind I have carried forward my own, perhaps more CREATIVE INTERPRETATION of the use of ALL CAPS.]
RE: Cease and desist from perpetual harassment
Dear Three O’clock a.m.,
This CEASE AND DESIST ORDER is to inform you that your actions, including but not limited to, repeatedly waking me up in the middle of the night for an impromptu FIESTA OF FRETFULNESS have become unbearable. You are ORDERED TO STOP this activity immediately as it is being done in contravention of my basic human rights.
There are 24 hours in every day and you are by far the most vexatious and CONSISTENTLY DISRUPTIVE of all of your clock-mates. Everywhere I go people are talking about their LOST SLEEP and guess whose name comes up over and over again? THREE O’CLOCK A.M.!
I have no issue with 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. Yes, they give me a prod now and again but only so I don’t WET THE BED. Unlike you those guys are professionals: they respect the basic premise that GOING BACK TO SLEEP, at some point, is the goal. I’ve tried to explain this to you, time and again, but you refuse to listen.
Then there’s four o’clock. While still insanely early she is a forward-thinker who has earned my respect and admiration. Where you CRUSH MY SPIRIT and dwell on my shortcomings, she believes in me. She comes into my room all mystical and ethereal with her pre-dawn glow and says, “Rise! Take my hand and see all that we can accomplish together!” Be it a long jog, fresh bread for breakfast, or another chapter in that book I’m STILL WORKING ON—four o’clock reeks of possibility.
And what can I say about 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.? Who doesn’t love CHIPPER and CHEERFUL—complete with bragging rights, cozy as they are with the morally superior Early-Bird brand? I’m really very fond of those two hours, in particular. Seeing either of them, without ever having seen you, is a major achievement for me these days.
Everyone else is playing fair except for you. You are unrelenting in your cruelty—exploiting my WORST FEARS and DEEPEST REGRETS in order to TERRIFY ME for the sheer entertainment value.
Oh yes, I know you think it’s funny, watching me TOSS AND TURN, throwing pillows all over the place: on-the-bed, then off-the-bed, and back on-the-bed again. There are nights I swear I can hear you LAUGHING AT MY PAIN even as I watch in horrified slow-motion as all of your 60 minutes go by, one-by-one.
Do you think I don’t know the MISTAKES I’ve made or that I don’t already spend a lot of time reflecting on them? FYI, that’s what the two COCKTAIL HOURS are for: Like many people I prefer to DEAL WITH MY PROBLEMS between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. with a trusty, problem-solving GIN AND TONIC by my side. I don’t need THE BULLY OF THE NIGHT, demanding that I unpack all of my PERSONAL BAGGAGE alone in the dark.
My friend says I should sic an under-the-bed monster on you but we only have one in the house and my son’s not finished with him yet. But as soon as he is, WATCH OUT.
There can be no denying that the night would be a better, safer place without you in it. While it would grieve me to shorten the day by any length of time, I’d gladly give up a full hour if it meant I could be DONE WITH YOU forever.
For these reasons, and more, I am hereby PUTTING YOU ON NOTICE, Three O’clock a.m.: Unless you leave me and my friends alone we will be launching a class-action lawsuit against you for LOST PRODUCTIVITY and PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE.
Once the lawyers start crunching the numbers you’re going to be in a WORLD OF HURT. Our courts may be unnecessarily clogged up with FRIVOLOUS lawsuits, but I’m sure there’s a legal beagle somewhere at least willing to try to take you to the cleaners.
Please consider this letter as your FINAL WARNING. I have the right to a good nights’ sleep and I will pursue any legal avenues available to me against you if this harassment continues.
To ensure compliance with this letter, I require you to fill in and sign the attached CEASE AND DESIST COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT and mail it back to me within 10 days. Failure to do so will act as evidence of your infringement upon MY LEGAL RIGHTS, and I will immediately seek any and all further remedies to this intolerable situation.
Michelle Hauser (a.k.a. ‘Sleepless in Napanee’)