Description Roger Jolson, the world’s strongest teen, is excited about meeting Ben Kazakian, the World’s Strongest Man, a friend of Roger’s hunky coach, Stan Telatopolous. Their meeting does not go as any of them expected.
|Updated||13 Jun 2020|
“I can’t believe we’re going to meet Ben Kazakian,” I gushed. Coach Telatopolous just laughed.
“I’ve known Ben since we were undergrads at Penn State,” he pointed out, not for the first time. “When I told him about your bench press, he said ‘I gotta see this kid!’”
So there we were in Coach’s big Chevy van on our weigh from Pensacola to Auburn, Alabama where Ben Kazakian, “The World’s Strongest Man,” was a member of the faculty and owned his own powerlifting gym. It was the spring of 1972 and I was 14 years old.
“This is the kid?” Mr. K said when Coach and I arrived at his gym, a converted warehouse in Auburn.
I stuck out my hand. “Roger Jolson,” I said. “It’s an honor to meet you Mr. K!”
The big man grinned. Ben Kazakian was 35 years old, 6’2” tall, and weighed somewhat north of 300 pounds. Receding hairline (blond), bright blue eyes, and unusual for the day, a short beard. He had a gut, of course, probably in the neighborhood of 40 inches, but it seemed pretty compact next to his 60-inch chest, 22-inch biceps, and 30 inch quads. Earlier that year he had set the world record in the bench press: 660 pounds or 300 kg, a little more than twice his bodyweight.
“From what Stan here told me, I expected to see someone bigger,” Mr. K replied, somewhat deflatingly. “But you sure as hell are one built dude for a 16-year-old.” I glanced at Coach Telatopolous and arched an eyebrow. “Uh, Ben,” he said. “I think you’re forgetting. Roger here is 14, not 16. In fact, he just turned 14 in April.” Mr. K’s blond eyebrows shot up! “For real? Great hopping horny toads—that’s incredible!”
I had the decency to blush but it was true. Even though I was just a measly 5’8” tall—six inches shorter than Mr. K and eight inches shorter than Coach T—I weighed 200 pounds of solid muscle, all of it in the right places:
46 inch chest
28 inch waist
18 inch biceps
28 inch quads
18 inch calves
“And it’s true what you said about his bench?” Mr. K asked. Coach T nodded. “Wanna take him for a spin?”
So we went to Mr. K’s bench set up. I was impressed. The padded bench was clearly designed for someone Mr. K’s size and was constructed of industrial steel, with upright posts that looked like they could hold a ton. Ditto, there was a platform that ran around the back and on the sides on which spotters could stand for really heavy lifts.
“How about a warm up first?” Mr. K asked. I looked at the bar, then looked at Coach T. There was a 45-pound plate on each end—225 pounds, in other words. “Let’s put another plate on each end,” I suggested. Mr. K looked at me like I was smoking something but he complied. I positioned myself on the bench and gripped the bar, Mr. K standing behind me. I lifted off, then started cranking out reps.
At that point I started slowing down and Mr. K and Coach T started counting down:
I sat up, slightly dizzy, and Coach T gave me a high five! Mr. K just looked dumbfounded. “I think I could have done 10 more but I did curls yesterday and I’m still a little bit tight,” I pointed out, panting. Coach T had a big grin on his face. “He curls 225, by the way,” he said. Mr. K paled visibly.
“Give me a couple of minutes to recuperate and we’ll move up,” I said. Mr. K shook his head. “Kid, are you sure you want…?” Coach T interrupted him. “Not to worry, Ben,” he said. “This is our standard workout.” So, then, with a 2-3 minute rest between each set:
315 x 30 reps
405 x 20 reps
495 x 10 reps
585 x 5 reps
605 x 2 reps
Mr. K was silent throughout but then there was the finisher:
625 x 1 rep
“Holy Mother of…” Mr. K caught himself. He was known to be pretty devout and didn’t allow swearing in his gym. By that time I had one insanely motherfucking pump. If we had measured, I think my chest would have been closer to 48 and I know my arms were pushing 19. “Like I said, he’s the world’s strongest kid,” Coach T said.
Mr. K appeared dumbstruck.
“At the rate he’s going,” Coach T added. “He’s likely to be the world’s strongest man at some point!” I think Coach T was expecting Mr. K to show us around the gym or maybe join us for lunch but instead he ushered us back to Coach T’s van and sent us on our way. “I hope I didn’t offend him,” I said, once we were out of the parking lot. Coach T laughed. “Roger, I think the problem is that you scared the shit out of him!”
Man, I really loved Coach T! He told it like it was and he wasn’t afraid to use four-letter words around his athletes.
Three months later, start of my freshman year at Worthington High School, Mr. K came to see me (well, theoretically, he came to see Coach T, who had followed me to “Worthless” from MacIntosh Middle School, to scout talent for Auburn.)
“Jesus,” Mr. K said, apparently forgetting his ban on swearing, when he saw me. “You got big!”
I shrugged my massive shoulders. Over the summer I had grown two inches taller, to 5’10. And gained 100 pounds of muscle. “Still not as big as you, Mr. K, just 300 pounds,” I said. “But I’m working on it.” Then I flexed my right bicep. 26 inches cold. Mr. K’s eyes were as big as saucers.
“Ben, I think you’ll be impressed with Roger’s strength gains,” Coach T said, then led us our gym’s bench. It paled in comparison to one at Mr. K’s place. Sturdy enough, yes, but no platforms for spotters. Easy enough to lift the bar off the stanchions and start curling. “495 pounds for a warm up?” Mr. K asked. “I see your strength gains are right up there with your muscle gains, young man!” I just grinned. Then I grabbed the bar with my calloused meat-hooks… And started curling. 495 pounds for 20 reps. Mr. K visibly sagged. “But how…?”
Coach T shrugged his mile-wide shoulders. (He wasn’t as big as Mr. K, or me, for that matter! But at 6’4 and 285 pounds he was long and lean and so wide through the shoulders you thought he would have to turn sideways to get through doors!) “Let’s add a few more plates, shall we?”
Six more plates brought the total to 765. I positioned myself on the bench. 20 reps. I rested while Coach T added four more plates: 945 pounds, 10 reps. Four more plates: 1125, 5 reps. Two more plates: 1215, one perfect rep. Mr. K looked like he was going to piss himself. While I was still sitting on the bench, getting my breath back, he turned around and walked out of the gym.
“Well,” Coach T said. “That was rude.” I hung my head. “I didn’t mean to insult him,” I mumbled. Coach T rolled his eyes. “Not you, dummy,” he barked. “The rude one was Ben Kazakian. I would have thought better of him but I guess he didn’t like being showed up.” He tousled my hair. I grinned up at him. He was still six inches taller than I was. “I guess I did, didn’t I?”
“You completely owned his ass,” Coach T said. “Blew him out of the fucking water, in fact.”
A week after Mr. K’s visit Coach T had another visitor, this time a couple of gentlemen in black suits and white ties from the newly formed Drug Enforcement Administration. They met for an hour in Principal Livingston’s office before Coach T walked out of the building, got into his Chevy van and drove home. “Steroids” was the rumor and while it was being investigated Coach T was on (paid, fortunately) administrative leave.
I underwent every blood test known to human kind. And all of the results came back negative. No traces whatsoever of any performance enhancing drugs, not even OTC pain relievers. On the other hand, my testosterone levels were off the charts. “And as far as we can tell, it’s all completely natural,” the doctor told my parents. “Your son is an outlier. He’s very, very special, but he’s not using drugs.” Coach T returned to Worthington the next day. “We’re going to show that asshole a thing or two,” he said. I didn’t need to ask.
In December, just before Christmas break, Coach T invited the local media to a special lifting event. Remember, it was 1972. Almost no one was interested in powerlifting or weightlifting at that point but the local newspaper, the local television station, and even one of the stations in Mobile sent reporters. In the center of the gym there was a weight bench, the sort that Mr. K has in his gym. On it was an extra-long, extra-thick bar (weighing 100 pounds), and on the bar were four tractor tires, each weighing 475 pounds.
“Gentlemen,” Coach T intoned. “I give you Roger Jolson, unofficially the World’s Strongest Man.”
I waddled out of the shadows. Since the semester had started I had grown another two inches taller and gained another 100 pounds, again all of it muscle. I was exactly 6 ft. tall and exactly 400 pounds. My shoulders measured four feet across and my traps sloped up to touch ears that rested against my 32-inch neck. My 34-inch arms were as big as Coach T’s waist.
I occupied the bench and waited for the spotters—Coach T and the two biggest guys on the Worthington football team, seniors Donnie Bright and Johnnie Frank, each weighing close to 300 pounds—to position themselves. I wrapped my thick, powerful hands around the extra thick parts, blew in and out five times fast, and whoomp!
The bar went up…
It came down and, boom, bounced off my chest!
And powered right back up to maximum extension before where I held it for 10 seconds, then crash I returned it to the stanchions.
One perfect rep.
One man, one ton of weight.
I stood, looked at the audience, and flexed my mighty guns. That’s when Mr. K walked out of the shadows. “It’s all fake,” he growled. “It’s an optical illusion. The stanchions have mechanical lifts, that’s how he does it.”
The reporters turned to him and started asking him questions. He was Ben Kazakian, after all, famously “The World’s Strongest Man.” Mr. K spent five minutes jaw-boning with them, while they completely ignored me. Then the reporters and their camera crews left without ever talking to me or Coach T.
“Why I oughta…” Coach T was apoplectic and clearly ready to get into it with Mr. K. I put my hubcap-sized hand on his shoulder and stopped him dead in his tracks. He was up to 300 pounds by then but even though he was four inches taller than I was I had a hundred pounds on him. “It’s okay, Coach T,” I said. “I’ll take care of this…” I walked up to Mr. K. His eyes got wider and wider the closer I got.
“Hey, you dumbfuck, get outta…”
Before he could finish whatever it was he was going to say, my right hand reached out and grabbed him by his shirt. As he looked at my giant forearm in confusion, I slowly, deliberately, with no apparent effort, lifted him off the ground and held him there. He was cursing and kicking and struggling, all to no avail.
“Gee, Mr. K, whaddya think—am I faking it now?” He stopped struggling. “Put me down, you fucking freak,” he growled. “Or…” I just laughed. “Now, now, Mr. K, language! Put you down or what? You do realize that I can curl 400 pounds—which is how much I weigh, I might add—for reps, right? One-handed, in fact.”
“Tell you what I’m gonna do,” I said. “Let’s take you into Coach T’s office so you can cool off.” I carried him across the gym floor and into Coach T’s office. Behind the door there was an extra-large, extra-heavy duty coat hook. I hung Mr. K on it—by his belt.
“Give Coach T a holler when you’ve calmed down a bit,” I said.
And I left him there.
Coach T told me later they had a devil of a time getting him off that hook! “Do you know how much trouble you put me through?” he asked, gently whacking the back of my head. I shook my head. “You didn’t have to hire a crane, did you?” He snorted. “Just half the football team.”
“So they got their post-season workout in, you’re telling me?”
It was Memorial Day weekend, 1973. School had just let out, 9th grade was over. Once again, I was two inches taller. Once again, I was a hundred pounds heavier. At 6’2 and 500 pounds, I was doubtless the biggest, best built man on the planet. But, you know, Pensacola isn’t all that big and after Mr. K’s intervention back in December the local media just figured it was all a stunt. The random comments and calls they received from my fellow students and our teachers and coaches and neighbors, they just dismissed all of that. “We investigated and concluded,” they said, never owning up to the fact that they hadn’t investigated anything.
Even so, it was pretty clear that at some point I was going to need to fall off the radar, lest some government black ops organization decided to turn me into an experiment. As it turned out, Coach T had inherited a hundred acres of property—complete with a well-appointed hunting lodge—in very rural North Central Pennsylvania. Ten days before the semester ended he accepted a position as a strength coach at Penn State, a good 35 miles from the property near Pine Glen. The next day he told my parents he was taking me with him. They spluttered but when he laid out the facts—they were in no position to manage me, they constantly complained about feeding me, etc.—they acquiesced. As far as I could tell, they were pleased to have me off their hands.
We had spent most of Saturday cleaning out Coach T’s—Stan’s office—when he had to go meet Principal Livingston for an informal interview. “I’ll be back in an hour, if not before.” He hadn’t been gone five minutes before Mr. K popped his head in. “What the fuck are you doing here?” I asked, standing up as he entered. We were now eye-to-eye but I outweighed by something like 170-180 pounds.
“Looking for Coach T?” He shook his head. “Looking for you,” he said. I arched an eyebrow. “Because…?” He started trembling. I swear he was on the verge of crying. “I need you,” he said. “I need your body. I’ve never seen anything so magnificent in my entire life!”
You could have knocked me over with a feather but I wasn’t going to let him know that. I chuckled. “Well, well, well,” I said. “The ‘Big Man’ wants me to make him My Little Bitch, is that it?” He turned purple but he nodded his head. “Say it, then,” I said, rubbing it in. “Say you want me to make you My Little Bitch.”
Tears started leaking but he forced out the words.
“Please, please,” he said. “Please make me Your Little Bitch.”
I walked over to him.
My God, I thought. My chest is wider than his shoulders.
I raised my right arm and flexed. It was now over 40 inches, unpumped and totally cold.
“Lick my arm, faggot.”
He was on me like a shot, trying to get his big hands around it (fat chance!) licking it and drooling on it, trying to dent it with his fingers. While he was doing it, my fuck tool grew to its full 12x9 inches, overwhelmingly obvious in the baggy sweat pants I had on.
“Holy Mother of God,” he exclaimed when he started poking him in thick, hard powerlifter gut. “You’re gigantic everywhere!”
I stuck my hands in pants, as if to draw it out…And just then Stan walked in.
“Ben, Roger, holy fuck! What the hell is going on?”
I grinned broadly. “Mr. K here just stopped by here for a quick visit,” I said, fondling the beast. “I guess he heard we were on our way out.” Kazakian was turning about 15 different shades of purple. “Tell Stan here what you want me to do, Ben,” I said, dropping the “Mr. K” and any pretense of respect. “Tell him what you said.”
He hung his head.
“What do you want me to, Ben? C’mon, you didn’t have any trouble telling ME. You can tell Stan, too, you know. I’m sure he would be interested.” Kazakian mumbled. “Louder,” I barked. “So he can hear you.”
“I want him to make me His Little Bitch,” he blurted.
Stan looked at Kazakian, then he looked at me, and back again. “You want him to what?!” With that, he who had once been the world’s strongest man, seemed to pull himself together. “I’ll be going now,” he said, trying to sound dignified.
“Too bad,” I said. “If you had decided to stick around, I might have been persuaded to do one last bench press demonstration for you.”
His eyes widened.
“Tell him, Stan.”
Coach T cleared his throat.
“Jolson just achieved a new bench press personal best,” he pointed out. “3000 pounds for one rep.” Kazakian spasmed, a huge wet spot forming in the crotch of his compression shorts. “Sweet,” I exclaimed. “It’s been a while since I provoked a spontaneous orgasm.”
The little guy fled without looking over his shoulder. And that was the end of me and Mr. K. I never saw nor heard from him again.
“Were you going to get around to telling him that I’M Your Little Bitch?” Stan asked. I chuckled. “You’re still two inches taller than I am,” I replied. He rolled his eyes. “For now,” he pointed out. I swept him up in my arms and planted a big wet one on his hot mouth.
“For now,” I agreed.
We climbed into the van and headed towards our new life.