Mattapoisett Library to host virtual author talk

Sep 28, 2021

MATTAPOISETT — Steven Petrow, author of “Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong,” will talk about his recently published book via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m., hosted by the Mattapoisett Free Public Library.

Soon after his 50th birthday, Petrow began assembling a list of “things I won’t do when I get old” — mostly a catalog of all the things he thought his then 70-something parents were doing wrong.

Rereading the list once his parents were gone with a new, and sometimes weepy eye, he realized that this accounting of “stupid things” reflected his own frustration at watching them pay the price for being stubborn, and his own fears about aging. The list had become a reminder to make different choices about aging, living, and dying.

The book, which was published in June of this year, is part memoir and part manifesto.

Petrow confronts his ageism towards his parents with a vow not to let life diminish or disappoint him as he makes his own journey.

Petrow, who writes about aging issues for The Washington Post and The New York Times, humorously, honestly contrasts his parent’s generational attitudes towards aging as well as their struggles, with his own experiences as he faces illnesses, creaking limbs, greying hair, dying friends, and the loss of his parents. He commits to embracing the beauty, poignancy, and richness of his own life.

Petrow is an award-winning journalist and author best known for his essays on aging, health, and civility.

He’s currently an opinion columnist covering manners and civil discourse for USA Today, and his 2019 TED Talk, “3 Ways to Practice Civility” has been viewed nearly two million times and translated into 16 languages.

Formerly the host and executive producer of "The Civilist," a podcast from Public Radio International and North Carolina Public Radio WUNC, Petrow regularly appears on television and radio.

He's the author of six books, including Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners.

A former president of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, Petrow is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including those from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, the Ucross Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the National Press Foundation. In 2017, he became the named sponsor of the Steven Petrow LGBTQ Fellowship at the VCCA, a prize that is awarded annually.

Petrow lives in Hillsborough, N.C. with his cocker spaniel, Binx Bolling.

Registration is required for you to receive the Zoom meeting information, which will be sent the day before the presentation.

You can register by sending an email to or by completing the registration form on our online calendar of events.

Call the library at (508) 758-4171 or email to if you have questions.