Max Savery's favorite food is pistachios. How does he describe these chewy green nuts with a sweet, exotic flavor?
Max doesn't get too worked up one way or the other, and he appreciates it when others don't, either. He says he only gets mad "if someone does something annoying for a really, really long time," and he likes living on Queen Anne, which he has all his life, because "there are no hater people who yell at me."
This fall, Max will enter eighth grade at McClure Middle School. Before middle school he attended Coe Elementary School all six years.
Max was born on June 30, 1993, in Seattle's Swedish Medical Center. "Coming out, I got stuck somehow," he says. "I was coming out the wrong way. They had to vacuum me out."
His mom, Dana Smaller, is a painter. For a consistent income, she works in the accounting department at Virginia Mason Medical Center. His dad, Vince Savery, is a maintenance supervisor at Cummins Northwest, supervising truck mechanics. Vince has two daughters by a previous marriage, Max's half-sisters. They are in their 30s and live in other states, but Max sees them regularly.
He also has family friends who live on Long Island, N.Y., one of Max's favorite places to visit. "Everyone has a pool there," he says, "not just rich people."
On a visit back East, when Max was about 9, he got separated from his mom in a store in New York City, where his aunt lives. "That was a bit scary," he recalls. But not as scary as the time he got lost in a store in Seattle, when he was 4. "I couldn't even see over the counters or the racks of clothing," he says.
Max has his very own dog, Josie, an Australian shepherd with an unusual face: one side is black and brown, the other white. "She was the runt of the litter," says Max. "She used to chew up my shirts when she was little."
Josie can do lots of tricks. "She can jump through and over hoops, stand on her hind legs and dance, and even walk across a makeshift balance beam," says Max. "That one's really hard for a dog to do."
The family also has a cat named Whiskers, who plays with Josie and accompanies her on walks.
Finally, Max has an anole named Pete. An anole is a kind of lizard, about 6 inches long, that can change colors like a chameleon. Pete lives in a terrarium maintained at 80 degrees.
In school, Max's favorite subject is language arts. "The teacher makes it interesting," he says, "plus I'm pretty good at it."
During his leisure time, Max listens to rock music. "My favorite bands are White Stripes, Strokes, Guns 'n' Roses," he says, "and the All-American Rejects." Sometimes he watches TV, plays computer games or doodles. "I draw little comics," he says. "My favorite color to draw with is dark purple."
But mostly he is outside, especially in summer. He rides his bikes (he has two: a BMX, for jumping and doing other tricks, and a mountain bike), and he plays Little League baseball.
His dad claims Max is a Little League star, one of the best hitters on Queen Anne, but Max is silent on the matter. For the past four years he played on the 5 Spot team, which just won the Queen Anne series and then defeated Richmond Beach for the District 8 championship.
In Little League, players get experience playing all field positions. Max prefers shortstop and second base. Next year Max will advance from the Majors level to the Juniors. "It's not my super-dream to become a famous baseball player," he says. "It's just something fun to do with my friends."
The only other sport Max plays is Ultimate Frisbee (he's on McClure's school team), but now he is thinking of going out for basketball as well. He is 5-foot-6 and still growing.
Max's perception is that there is no God. "I don't really think He exists," he says. "It just doesn't seem likely that someone is controlling our fate."
Nonetheless, Max just had his bar mitzvah on June 24, less than a week before his 13th birthday. "It's supposed to be about becoming a man," he says, "but I think I'd feel the same if I hadn't had a bar mitzvah.
"I had to study a lot," he continues, "with a tutor." The ceremony called for him to recite the blessings for the Torah reading (a practice called an aliyah), read selections from the Torah assigned to him based on the Jewish calendar, and give a d'var Torah, a discussion of that week's Torah portion.
The ceremony was actually for two boys. "I had a partner," says Max, who had to do the same as he. There were guests from both families, plus the "regular people" - about 100 or 150 people. "It was kind of a blur," says Max. "I don't remember much. Plus, I was nervous."
He had to wear a suit, which he doesn't like to do, a skullcap called a yarmulke and a prayer shawl, a tallis. "I'm happy that it's over," he says, "but I guess you're kind of doing it because you're Jewish, because of the tradition."
The best part is that before school starts, he and his parents will take a celebratory trip to Moran State Park on Orcas Island. He is looking for-ward to that.
Max used to have two anoles. The other one, named Goober, just died. "I'm sad when I lose something im-portant," says Max, "like a pet, or a treasured item." He still mourns the toy fire engine, now broken, that his grandfather gave him.
"I want to be a firefighter when I grow up," says Max. A patient pause and a smirk - then: "Just joking," he says.
"When I grow up, I want to do something that has to do with bikes, or animals," he says more seriously. Even though he's supposedly an adult now, he has time to narrow it down.[[In-content Ad]]