What Are You Like: Malachy McCourt


My fear of being poor, of being hungry again, of being cold and no sign of the sun.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

People who think wealth is a measure of character.

What would you like the Irish to most remember about you?

That I made children laugh, that I brought a bit of joy to the old, and I learned to tolerate Irish conservatives.

What’s your favorite journey?

Walking on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.             

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I would try to lessen my intolerance for people who think they can influence their God by praying.

What is it that you most dislike?

Racism and bigotry.

Who are your heroes?

Thomas Paine, Paul O’Dwyer, James Connolly.

What is your most distinguishing characteristic?

In general trying to be funny and friendly, and I consider it a victory when I annoy a conservative.

On what occasions would you tell a lie?

Any time I speak. A lie to me is a dream that might come true.

What do you consider the lowest depth of misery?

To be trapped in a country run by fundamentalists and creationists who ban and burn books.

Who are your favorite writers?

P.G. Wodehouse, Sean O’Casey, H.L. Mencken, Mark Twain, Edna O’Brien.

How did you feel about the great fame that came to your brother Frank?

I always knew Frank McCourt was a great writer and his recognition was long overdue.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Pontius Pilate. He was a clean man, always washed his hands.

Who do you see as your fictional counterpart?

The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

A woman who appreciates bawdy humor and is comfortable with both men and women.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

One who is not afraid to show his love for his beloved and his family.

What is your motto?

“Live every day as if it were your last because one day you will be right.”