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by Abigail Van Buren

Early Riser Gets First Crack at Neighbor's Morning Paper

DEAR ABBY: We have lived in a small apartment complex for four years. The family next door has lived here a little longer. We get along well with our neighbors and respect each other's boundaries.

I have a habit that I fear may be inappropriate, and I would like your opinion. Our neighbors subscribe to the newspaper, which is delivered very early every morning, long before they get up. I'm an early riser and I hear it hit their front porch. As soon as it does, I reach over and borrow it. I read only my family's horoscopes, the comics and, of course, your column. I never keep any part of their paper, and I always fold it carefully and place it on their porch before they wake up.

Am I doing wrong by sneaking a peek from their daily newspaper? I hope to read your response in their paper. -- SNEAK-A-PEEK NEIGHBOR

DEAR SNEAK-A-PEEK: Yes. The paper belongs to your neighbors. Since they pay for the subscription, they have a right to receive it fresh off the press, not after it's been rifled through. (Don't assume they can't tell.) Ask if they mind your "borrowing" their newspaper and offer to split the cost of their subscription. It's the honorable thing to do.