Five Questions with : Serge Wlodarski

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic
An interview with the writer : Serge Wlodarski

Submitted: July 24, 2017

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Submitted: July 24, 2017







  We were traveling aboard the New RMS Titanic, driving Titleists into the sea of Gallilea off of the stern; talking about Galileo's law of falling bodies in the vertical direction and uniform translational motion, in the horizontal direction. Biomechanics and golf. Tee time and gravitational equations. Just another day in the office.  

How does the composition of matter affects it's density, volume and mass?

Was this about the ship we were aboard now or golf balls?

Why do some things float away into the distance and why do some things sink?

 I replace my irony club with a would, swing away and ask...


Question 1: Who put the bomp in the... bomp bah bomp bah bomp
Who put the ram... in the rama lama ding dong
Who put the bop... in the bop shoo bop shoo bop
Who put the dip... in the dip da dip da dip
Who was that man?



I can answer that. His name is Nikolai Gvozdev. When the weather is nice you can find him playing at the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and Ploschad Ostrovstogo in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He starts setting up at 8pm and can get more music out of three and a half fingers than most guitarists get out of five.





The ship docked at the port of the Black Sea; and we unloaded the cargo we had been transporting across the Arctic ocean. An engine and an  old broken down VW bus to rebuild. The demand was there, for such a vehicle, but it involved a lot of leg work and heavy arm lifting as well. Luckily, we had good eye sight and retrospect.


Dexterity and coordination combined with logistical planning and voila, a good center of weight, thoughtfully considering acceleration. Wait, were we talking about golf, music or cars now ?


Question 2 : Concerning words, definitions and you:
 If you were a guitar, what guitar?
 If you were a car, what car?
If you were a golf course, what would be the par?
If you were a Quasar, what would be the sound of your star?


If you were guitar, what guitar?

I would be the guitar Ritchie Havens played at Woodstock. “That dude wore a hole in me with his pick!”

If you were a car, what car?

Tough question because the answer is location based. In America, I am a 1966 Pontiac GTO. Sky blue of course. In Russia, I am a UAZ 452, their equivalent of a Volkswagon bus. Their nickname for the vehicle translates to “bread loaf”. In Germany I am a Porsche 928, platinum metallic like the one Tom Cruise drove in Risky Business.

If you were a golf course, what would be the par?

I rebel against authority and on my golf course, if you don’t like a hole, you don’t have to play it. So the par varies by golfer. On the course I grew up playing, the 12th hole had too many trees and I hated it.

If you were a Quasar, what would be the sound of your star?

My physics professor in college, Dr. Askew, was large enough to play linebacker in the NFL. He said when he was born he weighed 14 pounds and was 23 inches long. While witnessing the birth, his dad called his mom Popeye.

This is a trick question as sound cannot travel in the vacuum of space. However, electromagnetic waves do and can be translated into sound. My quasar sounds like it put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop.




The only way to get the Porsche engine and the VW body back to the new auto body shop was by railway. So, the cargo containers were delivered by truck, to the railway station, leaving them for the train workers to load upon the freight hauler.

We boarded the train car with our shipment, sent by ship in the form of cargo. It all made sense to somebody with a trained eye.

As a strange side note, the Capitan of the Titanic had a brother, who also happened to be the Conductor of the Trans Siberian train. That wasn't important though, just an everyday coincidence. It ran in their family.

Speaking of running...



Question 3 : When was the last time you wrote out a letter, long hand, and sent it through the mail system?


At first I didn’t read the question completely. I started to reply then realized I had to rule out the times I’ve attached a letter to a rock and thrown it through a window.

But I do remember this because I was never one to write a lot of letters. It happened back in 1989. I was at the Tip Top Cafe, a bar set in a ramshackle cinder block building. I’d come to hear a band called Kozmic Mama. They were so loud I couldn’t talk to the cute bartender I fell in love with that night. So I wrote her a letter.

Turns out she had a boyfriend. Good thing because now she has four kids and weighs more than I do. And the Tip Top is no more. But Kozmic Mama will be playing August 5th at the Sports Page Lounge here in Lily Flagg.





As the Trans Siberian headed into our drop off destination, we gathered our things, getting ready for the next round. 

We unloaded the parts and brought them back to the garage.

Then we decided to head down to the local bar to watch the new act, Ferny and The Bussers, while we adjusted to the time zone difference and imbibed on adult beverages; tea time was now over. Later on though, we would eventually head back to the garage and install the engine. It is much easier to put a Porsche engine into a VW bus after a drink or two. At least, that's how the instructions read. For now, though, a little nightlife was a welcome escape. It was 10:30 a.m. 

I inquired...


Question 4 : Where have you traveled to ? And where would you like to visit that you have not yet ?



I was an Army brat and spent two years in Europe when I was young. Germany, Switzerland and Italy were all very cool. Particularly all the artifacts of the Roman Empire in Italy. One thing that really stuck in my head was how spectacularly beautiful Switzerland is.

In the US, I’ve visited just over half of the states. San Francisco is my favorite American city. The food in Chinatown is amazing. My best American vacation was in Idaho. A friend was attending the University of Idaho and I spent a week there. Now I know what they mean when they say “amber waves of grain.”

I’ve lived most of my adult life in Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida. As far as I’m concerned, New Orleans is way over-rated. Same with Atlanta. However, Memphis is really cool. I love Florida but some weirdness occurred there I won’t talk about and I can’t go back until the statute of limitations runs out.

Here are some hidden gems not many people know about. Ave Maria Grotto, in Cullman, Alabama, is a must see for anyone traveling in the south. While you are in the area, you should visit Cathedral Caverns State Park.

Another great spot is the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. They put on an awesome tour and it’s free. Eat lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House if you can get in, but you have to make a reservation months in advance. Your life is incomplete if you haven’t eaten their fried okra.

My latest travels have been to Russia. I have been twice in the past year and am in the process of purchasing an apartment in Anapa, a small resort town on the Black Sea. I consider it the Panama City of Russia. I will be returning in a few weeks to finalize the deal.

Without a doubt, Saint Petersburg, Russia is the coolest place I’ve ever been. But visit in the summer, and bring a jacket. It is cool in more than one way.

Regarding where I’d like to visit but haven’t yet, Siberia is at the top of the list. If I can convince the Russian government to let me stay more than a month at a time, I would like to spend a summer traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

And for some reason, I’ve recently developed the urge to visit Shanghai and eat watermelon with Oleg Roschin.





We headed back to the shop and opened the back of VW the bus; where the new engine would go. The trunk was actually in the front and the engine was, well, that's another story for another time. As for the old engine, it had been removed to save on shipping costs, but we had stocked it full of fresh watermelons to sell at the local market to offset the transportation costs, so really, it was all just a wash.

Using the power lift, we placed the Porsche engine into it's new home and did what we had to to do, connecting hoses and valves until it looked like it was supposed to; once again, according to the instructions, written in jibberish by some Mr. Perdinand something or other.

By the way, I asked....


Question 5 : If you have a favorite "Book, Movie, Band, Author,":
Who and What are they,
And, When and Where did you discover them?



I almost took the easy way out and said it was Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Cookbook. I didn’t even remember I owned it. I stumbled across it while looking for my actual favorite book, which is Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, by Ben Hogan.

I was 15 and a friend convinced me to play golf with him. At the beginning of that day, I thought golf was for weaklings. I made a triple bogey on the first hole and I was already addicted.

When I got home I thought about the book, my father had bought it even though he rarely played golf. It is a short book, very precisely written and to the point. I read it in one sitting and the next day I was on the driving range, trying to emulate Mr. Hogan. Golf is much harder than it looks.

The bottom line is I spent my rebellious teenage years on the golf course and that kept me away from the craziness that took down some of the kids I grew up with. And my first stories were about my experiences in golf. So you could say that Ben Hogan was also one of my major influences as a writer.


This one was easy, Forrest Gump. I was cruising for reading material in Bookland at Parkway City Mall when the odd cover caught my eye.

Winston Groom grew up here and in the book he captured the dichotomy that was Sweet Home Alabama in the 1960s. One minute we’d be driving past a KKK fundraising carwash. The next minute, I’d be waiting in the car while my mother spoke to Werner von Braun in the grocery store parking lot. Life is like a box of chocolates…


It’s probably the Beatles. But then, there’s Pink Floyd. And The Who, and the Stones, and AC/DC, and Steve Miller Band, and Dire Straits, and Dylan, and Hendrix and I even like the Bee Gees…

So I’m going to pick Muse. They played every weekend in the Point After Lounge in Auburn, Alabama, in the late 70s. A trio of talented musicians who did great covers and a good bit of original stuff. And the bar served dollar daiquiris on football Saturdays.

They didn’t even have a drummer but when they played Take It Easy you could close your eyes and you’d swear it was the Eagles. Best thing is, they are still performing today. 


I was having a hard time picking between Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen King, and Tom Robbins. So I went with Kurt Vonnegut. I started reading him in high school. I rarely read the same book more than once but I’ve read Slaughterhouse Five several times and it still freaks me out.

I’ll throw in one extra.

My favorite golf announcer is Gary McCord. He works for CBS. He is funny, enthusiastic, and he’s a former professional so he’s got cred.

Also, he’s the only golf announcer ever to be banned for life from broadcasting The Masters. What got him in hot water with the folks at Augusta National? He said "there are some body bags down there if that keeps going," when a ball was rolling into Rae’s Creek. Then he said "bikini wax" is used to make Augusta National's greens so slick. Some people just can’t take a joke.

Also, he has a really cool mustache.




 After the New RMS VW Porsche UAZ 4952 had been assembled, we revved her up and took her out for a good old fashioned test drive,  cruising down main street and then over to the local farmers market to sell some of our fruity delicious contraband. We decided to just give them away instead; gifts. Free advertisment.

Inside the watermelons we had managed to hide secret messages, containing instructions, wrapped with an elastic around a rock. If you had just the right slice, with just the right instrument, you were able to find a fortune; without going off course and taking a mulligan.

The secret message, by the way, instructions for hiding watermelons with hidden messages, inside VW buses and how to properly replace the engine of a UAZ 452 bus with that of a Porsche 952.

It all made sense to somebody.

And, it was all risky business but, Ferdinand Porsche would have been proud.

After all, he invented the seedless watermelon while traveling aboard the original Titanic from Gallilea to the Black Sea.

Also, I found this letter inside a watermelon one day...


  Dear Serge, life is like a really cool moustache.

You never know how much bikini wax to use.

Please never stop writing,

thank you, thank you very much.


Mr. Perdinand Forsche


 I think I will mail it to him somehow. Carrier pigeon is all the rage these days.




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