About fry bits and being poor.
Everyone knows steven universe loves fry bits.
But why? Why the crispy burnt little frys too small to eat?
Maybe it was because of Greg. What if when he was really low on money, he would beg Fryman for the leftover bits for free or for a heavy discount? Maybe even set up a deal, father to father on how he could feed his son. And he even after he got a steady income, he kept doing it. And he brings steven along.
Steven and greg spend quality time together eating the bits and it becomes a happy memory habit. Which is why he like the bits more than regular fries.
As someone who grew up poor, we did things like this. My dad would take us to wendy’s drive thru because it was cheap. He would get us all 4 piece chicken nuggets and ice water because it was the cheapest kid friendly option. It was all he could afford. And we would never get the combo meal because it was just too expensive.
What I’m saying is this: Habits like that are hard to break.
When i started making money, i still didnt get the combo meal until i saw other people do it, guilt free. It blew my mind. Such a simple choice carried so much weight with me. So many fears and questions came out of nowhere. “Will i be able to eat again tomorrow if i do this today? How far should i take this? When they ask how big i want my combo, i should say small, right? Right??”
Eventually, i got over it.
But to this day, whenever i buy fast food for the whole family, my dad still doesn’t get a combo meal. I have to urge him.
What i’m saying is that poverty is a state of mind. My dad has it, Greg has it, i still struggle with it, and Steven kinda has it and does worry about it.
When Greg got that royalty check in Drop Beat Dad, i cried. Because i remember wishing for that train to come in constantly. My dad would buy lottery tickets and we would wish and hope and pray so bad. For that to happen to a character that resembles my own dad so much, broke my heart. The episode Mr. Greg where they dreamed up what they wanted to do and just DID IT??? was honestly a dream my sisters and I have had for so long. We always had that ‘if you had a million dollars what would you do?’ talk. It was really cathartic to see someone live the dream, even if it was a cartoon character.
Even the “yeesh” moment Greg had when Le Bill came up was all too real.
Poverty ruins good things with regret, and even if its a no longer a factor, it still affects your mind.
It drives what you do and how you do it. Going out to a more expensive fast food place still feels like a splurge. Getting useless decorative objects for your home feels like you’re betraying yourself later. Poverty-brain makes it so hard to treat yourself. Even in that Park and Rec Treat yo’ Self episode, Ben cries when he treats himself. Its so hard to do sometimes, even if you do have the money. He says buying plain white socks was treat. It was guilt free because he needed them, technically. Poor people rejoice in that. We feel bad about spending money all the time. Because richer people in our lives shame us for it. “How dare you get that game system. How dare you eat fancy tonight?” (Which brings up another point, steven’s game cube is several years out of date with current gaming technology. It was probably acquired from a pawn shop or from someone who discarded it)
Seeing Greg treat himself and steven and yeah even Pearl who wants for nothing, really reaffirmed how messed up you feel being poor.
Pearl, in Mr. Greg, said “those fountains i found wasteful are actually quite tasteful!” Because she was a servant. The beauty around her at that time was not for her. It was for her aristocratic master. When Greg and steven dress her up to feel more at home, she understands the draw.
At the end, she says “why’d we come here, we could have done this at home?” Which is relatable too. Its usually something you say after you’ve spent too much on an experience.
But its always a lie. You just feel bad you didnt spend the money on something physical. Guilt again.
But here’s the TLDR of it:
I have never seen Steven or Greg pay for fry bits. And i think there’s an all too real reason for that. And God Bless the Frymans of the world who let it slide.