The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive
 
INT. CAFÉ GRUMPY - DAY
HANNAH
So I’ve been working at Café Grumpy for, like, a year now, and this entire time I’ve only maybe missed work five times, I have been, like, an exemplary employee --
RAY
Until I hired Marnie, you were my only employee.
HANNAH
Right! So, like I said, you couldn’t have made Café Grumpy so successful without me, and because of that, I’d like to ask for a raise.
RAY
No.
HANNAH
Well, see, I’m having trouble paying my bills --
RAY
You think I’m able to pay my bills? It is extremely hard to run a restaurant. Nearly all of them fail.
HANNAH
Okay. It’s a coffeeshop. And I think --
RAY
Still going to be no.
HANNAH
Well, I think that if you work full time at a job, you should earn enough money to pay for your rent and your student loans and your food.
A beat.
HANNAH
You are paying me below the poverty line, Ray, I looked it up on Wikipedia.
RAY
You want to pay for your food? Go get yourself some food stamps.
HANNAH
Food stamps? You mean, like World War II?
INT. HANNAH AND ADAM'S APARTMENT
ADAM
I don’t like the idea of you being on welfare, kid.
HANNAH
Actually, it’s not welfare, it’s just food stamps, and I am technically entitled to them, because, did you know? I’m poor. I am actually, legitimately, poor. The government says so.
ADAM
You’re not poor. Poor people are poor.
HANNAH
Well, I guess I’m a poor person. And I bet you’re going to be really happy to eat my food stamp food, since right now I am the only breadwinner in this apartment.
ADAM
My time is coming, Hannah. It’s just not there yet.
INT. A NYC SNAP OFFICE
CASEWORKER
And let me see your bank account statements.
HANNAH
Here you go. As you can see, I have fourteen dollars in my bank account right now. Also, here is a statement of my credit card debts and one for my student loans. I have literally a negative $150,000 net worth.
CASEWORKER
Do you have any assets?
HANNAH
I’m not sure what you mean by assets?
CASEWORKER
I mean like a car, or a home.
HANNAH
Does anyone really have a car in New York?
CASEWORKER
Answer the question.
HANNAH
No. Um, I do not have a car, and I do not own a home.
CASEWORKER
Do you have any retirement accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s?
HANNAH
Yeah, Ray isn’t ready to integrate retirement into his employee compensation plan yet.
CASEWORKER
How many people live in your home with you?
HANNAH
Well, there’s my boyfriend Adam, he’s kind of between jobs right now, and his sister Caroline, who is living with us for a while. She also, um, doesn’t have income. Really I am the breadwinner for a family of three.
CASEWORKER
How much monthly support do you get from your parents?
HANNAH
I don’t know why everyone keeps asking me that, because my parents do not give me any financial support. I keep suggesting it, but they are truly insistent upon this point. It’s like they don’t understand.
EXT. WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK - DAY
Hannah, Jessa and Shoshanna are sitting on a park bench.
SHOSHANNA
So, are you, like, no longer middle class?
HANNAH
I don’t know. I mean, my parents are, but I’m not.
SHOSHANNA
That’s so weird. I mean, like, I don’t know how I would feel if I were in your situation and I had to think of myself as poor. I mean, I had so many advantages growing up, and now I’m poor? That’s, like, a Victorian novel. Like Little Women. OMG if you hadn’t already cut your hair you could have totally sold it.
JESSA
The secret to life is thinking outside of class. I don’t think of myself as poor.
HANNAH
But you aren’t earning any money right now.
JESSA
But I’m not poor, Hannah. Any time I want something, I have the resources within me to go out and get it.
HANNAH
Okay, well, according to the state of New York, I am officially low-income. Which means that the government has decided that it is going to pay for my food. Which I think is great. Food is an essential part of life, and it’s about time I got some help. I have two jobs, you know.
SHOSHANNA
When I graduate, I’m going to make sure I only need one job.
INT. CAFÉ GRUMPY - DAY
HANNAH
So you’re not going to apply for food stamps too?
MARNIE
No. Do I look like the kind of person who should be on food stamps?
RAY
It’s not about how you look, cupcakes.
HANNAH
Well. Maybe this is opening up new possibilities for me. You know that a lot of writers came from poor backgrounds.
MARNIE
That’s so not true. And anyway, you didn’t come from a poor background.
HANNAH
Well, this is my background now. I mean, I’ve been living on my own for four years.
RAY
Less talking, more scrubbing!
HANNAH
I was just telling Marnie? How you’ve made us all members of the working class?
RAY
The word is proletariat, Hannah. And you should be proud to use it.
INT. THERAPIST'S OFFICE
HANNAH
I don’t understand why everyone seems to think I’m doing the wrong thing by going on food stamps. It’s like, they look at me and see someone who is more successful than she really is. I mean, I have a book contract, sort of, but I didn’t get an advance. And I’m only earning minimum wage. But when I tell people that my financial problems are serious, they don’t believe me.
DR. RICE
You talk a lot about money, when you’re here with me.
HANNAH
Well, yeah. Not having enough money is a huge part of my life. Getting a few hundred dollars for food every month is going to make a serious difference in how I can take care of myself.
DR. RICE
How do you feel when people dismiss your concerns?
HANNAH
It’s like they don’t actually see me. They see what they think I should be -- look, she’s a writer, she eats cupcakes, she has no right to complain -- and not the person struggling with mental illness who only earns $250 every week. One of the reasons my OCD got as bad as it did last year was because I didn’t have health insurance. I only started taking my medication this month, because of Obamacare. Nobody sees this. They assume that because I went to a liberal arts college, four years ago, my life can never be awful.
DR. RICE
I see.
HANNAH
My editor called me and my friends “trust fund kids.” None of us have trust funds.
DR. RICE
Well, now you have food stamps.
HANNAH
Yes. Now I do.
INT. SUPERMARKET
Hannah is standing at a checkout aisle.
HANNAH
What do you mean, you can’t buy wine with food stamps?