How Do I Tell My Brother That Cutting the Vaccine Line Isn’t OK?

My brother, who is a health care provider, qualified for the Covid vaccine. He also had his wife vaccinated by temporarily placing her on his payroll and claiming that she was also a healthcare worker. (She isn’t!) I’m not sure what’s worse: playing the system or happily bragging about it in a text he sent after they both got vaccinated. Other parents will not be vaccinated for months, although their risk of illness is greater. I ignored my brother’s message when he sent it. What should I say when I talk to him?


Ever since I figured out the rules – about sharing toys as a kid, paying taxes to the IRS, or qualifying for Covid vaccines – I’ve known people who enjoy (and benefit) from violate the spirit of the rules while respecting them technically. . Meet your brother!

His pay round may have made his wife eligible for a vaccine according to the letter of the guidelines, even though she never approached a patient. They played the system for a few months ahead of the vaccination for her. And you’re right: they did it to the detriment of other people at greater risk.

However, are you honestly surprised by their behavior, after almost a year of watching neighbors announce their indifference to the well-being of others – by refusing to wear masks, for example? Of course, you can tell your brother that you are disrespecting his selfish actions. But to what end? He’s a healthcare worker! He knew the vaccine catch was wrong and did it anyway. Now you know him and your sister-in-law better.

Credit…Christoph niemann

Two years ago my husband and I were friends with another couple. I saw my husband’s relationship with the wife grow flirtatious. They also started spending time alone together. I confronted my husband about what looked like the start of an affair. We faced the fallout, and I forgave him after he apologized. I also confronted the woman, who ultimately admitted the relationship was inappropriate. We never spoke again. But our husbands remain friendly. (Her husband forgave them both.) I always feel a hollow in my stomach when I see her or when my husband sees his friend. I probably would have forgiven her if she had apologized. But she didn’t. Should I ask for an apology? I would hate to interfere with my husband’s friendship.


Monogamy is not easy. (How is that putting it mildly?) The only person who has wronged you, however, is your husband. The other woman was a bad friend, but she wasn’t committed to you. I would be wary of reintroducing this couple into your marriage and forfeiting the woman’s apologies. She has had two years to tell you that she’s sorry, and she hasn’t.

You deserve not to have a pit in your stomach! Share your discomfort with your husband and suggest that you both take a break with this couple. He should understand. This is a reasonable consequence of his behavior. If he doesn’t, that would be a good topic for marriage counseling.

A lovely family has just moved nearby. They have a fenced yard and a big dog. Every morning, they let the dog out at dawn, and he barks constantly. We work from home and the barking often wakes us up. We don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with these people. What should we do?


My amateur diagnosis (based only on years of dog ownership) is that the dog can suffer from separation anxiety by being left out of the house on his own.

Call your neighbors and say (gently), “We don’t want to be picky, but your dog’s barking wakes us up when you put him outside in the early morning. Can you stay with him while he does his business? He may be less likely to bark this way. This shouldn’t raise a lot of hackles. A good night’s sleep is worth an awkward conversation (or three).

My daughter turned 15 recently. She’s excited to start driving, but state law requires drivers to be 16 to get a license or learner’s permit. The problem: She has a friend whose parents let the daughter drive alone when she was 14. We doubted it, then saw for ourselves that it was true! She takes her older sister’s license with her when she drives. Should we let our daughter practice driving on the neighborhood streets or discourage her friendship with this girl?


Isn’t it strange that we need a license to drive but not to raise children? It would be reckless and illegal of you to allow your daughter to drive without a license. You would also teach her that she is above the law. Bad all around!

Separating the girls does not solve the problem. Wouldn’t it be smarter to confirm that the girl’s parents really know she’s driving? (I hope not!) You can also call the police. An official visit can stop the illegal driving (and prevent the girl from getting a ticket – or worse – if she gets caught). But I would start with the parents.

For help with your difficult situation, send a question to, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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