Thursday, June 30, 2011

Top Ten: Maximum Flair.

Yes. That's a tiara. I'm expressing myself. You got a problem with that?

"You DO want to express yourself, don't you?"

~ from the movie "Office Space"

One of the interns was in my office for the first time one day. He looked around, laughed and said, "Wow, Dr. Manning! You sure have a lot of flair up in here!"


You know flair, like in that hilarious movie "Office Space" when Jennifer Anniston was told that she didn't have on enough flair? You know--the part where she had on a mere fifteen pieces of flair (which is the minimum) when her coworker had on a whopping thirty-seven pieces and "a great smile?"

Yeah. Like that.

Flair. The more I think about it, the more I realize that that intern was right. I do have a lot of flair up in here. But like that manager at Chotchkie's told Jennifer Anniston-- Flair is about fun, people. Fun.

Oh yeah--it's also about expressing yourself. Hey--and you DO want to express yourself, don't you?

This week's top ten is devoted to my office flair. Today, I bring you the top ten pieces of flair in and around my office at good ol' Grady.

For the record?


I'm just sayin'.


#10 - Monkey see. Monkey do.

I got these guys during my chief year back in 2001. I secretly think all chief residents should have this little sculpture in their office. I am now trying to figure out how to get one for my house since Isaiah and Zachary seem to never admit to seeing, hearing or speaking evil.

#9 - The Teddy Bear Doctor with the Whitney Houston Wig (and tiara.)

The teddy bear was a Christmas gift a few years back from Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta. The Whitney wig came from the year Harry and I went to a Halloween party as Bobby and Whitney. (That was Harry's compromise after turning down my first request to be Flavor Flav and New York.)

I still think it would have been gnarly.

The tiara was given to me by one of my ward teams. I think I sent them a page one day and signed it "Queen Manning." They called me that all month and gave me the tiara on the last day (which I wore all day on rounds.)

See what I mean about flair? Good times, man.

#8 - My Levelor Thank You Card Collection.

Seeing my favorite cards from students and residents perched on my blinds every day puts a smile on my face. I pull them down and read them when I'm having a bad day. It always cheers me up.

#7 - My Jim Crow Sign.

I bought this at an antique flea market in my dad's hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Seeing it reminds me of how blessed I am to have been born when I was born. It's so hard to believe that my own father spent his formative years abiding by signs like this one. Maybe it was this one.


#6 - My elephant collection.

Confession: This isn't the whole collection. I have all kinds of random elephants in my office. I'm a Delta girl, so of course I have elephants. But they're also good luck, so that's another great reason to have them. I like the energy they bring to my office. I also like that many were given to me by special students and residents that have worked with me.

#5 - Random Artwork.
This one was painted by my brother when I was still a medical student!
Self Portrait: Isaiah Manning, Kindergarten

This one was drawn for me by one of the Grady elders. Awesome.

#4 - Flowers and plants that don't need water (because they are fake.)

Roses are red. . .and orange.
I like this one because the pot is really a calabash gourd from Barbados.

This fake bamboo is real good luck. For real, y'all.

#3 - Random words of inspiration. (Wretching permitted.)

"If you want to stand out, don't be different be OUTSTANDING."(bleeccchh.)
Outside of my office. Good times ahead.
Outside of my office door. More flair. More gags, perhaps?
How 'bout some Yiddish? This means "meant to be." It perfectly describes me and the B.H.E.
#2 - My Meharry Pre-Alumni T-Shirt.

Meharry Pre-alumni shirt, 1994
I designed this t-shirt when I was a second year medical student. We sold these and wore them for our annual community day of service. All of us med students walked from our campus to a nearby housing project and signed up over one hundred kids for a day of fun and education. We worked hard, solicited sponsors and donations and did a whole lot of planning between classes and exams. A few weeks later we all came back to escort them over to our school for a fun-filled day. Man, it was awesome and we were so proud of ourselves. It remains one of my fondest memories from my years as a medical student.

That shirt inspires me. That's why I keep it in my office. Since opening its doors in 1876, no single institution has educated more African-American physicians and dentists in the world than Meharry Medical College. Meet a doctor or a dentist that's older than sixty? Chances are he or she probably went to Meharry. Seeing that little cartoon guy that I scribbled on a piece of notebook paper for this silk screen way back in 1994 reminds me of this. Every single day.

Yes. I am upholding a tradition. I sure am.

#1 - Random pictures of the B.H.E. and the Cocopugs.

Wook at dat wittle Zachy. Just wookattum.
Look at that punim! (I'm nice with my Yiddish, man.)

This picture of Isaiah was taken when he was only six weeks old. No exaggeration. We should have known then that he'd be an old soul. I have a wallet size version of this taped to my computer monitor. Every time I look at it I smile and fall in love all over again. . . .

Sigh. Please tell me you've seen a cuter six week old so that I can tell you you're lying.

Bonus flair: My personal stash of green tea (plus a bonus photo with Isaiah!)
Allegedly it makes your tummy flatter. A doctor told me that.

Okay. So there you have it. My Flair Lair. You know. . . .I think I might be. . . a happiness hoarder. Yeah, that's it. Kind of like the way I tell my younger sister that she's a "friend hoarder." (She's the only person I know that is still in touch with people from first grade, t-ball, middle school, summer programs, and all of MY friends from the same places that I've lost track of. . . but I digress.)

Yeah. Like that.

What can I say? Stuff that makes me happy, I like around me. No, not all at the same time--but I do like reminders. I know. Some folks like very neat, empty spaces for . . .what's it called? Feng Shui reasons?


I'm sure a bunch of y'all are wondering how I get any work done with all that stuff going on in there. But I do get a lot done in there. I do. When it comes to offices, really barren and impersonal spaces make me feel kind of sad and uninspired. I flair them out--especially since I don't have to share the space with my husband (who does seem to be Feng Shui-ish.)

So. Yeah. That's all I got today. (And you know what? It's like waaaay over the fifteen piece minimum, man.) Don't get that joke? Watch the clip below.

What kind of flair do you have goin' on in your neck of the woods? The maximum or are you Feng Shui-ish?

Flair Minimum

Office Space



  1. I'm so happy to find someone else who has a flair-filled office! one of our board members stopped by once and said that I had the most interesting office in the building. I think he meant it as a compliment. In addition to the usual diplomas/certificates on one wall, I have another wall with movie posters from Ladder 49 and Backdraft, along with my retired fire/rescue paraphernalia. I also have a large poster of the Proclamation of Irish Freedom, and a seemingly-random poster that I've had in every office I've ever had. Add in the usual pictures, some toys for visiting children (my own and other people's), a singing Caddyshack gopher, a noise-activated beating heart, and a large picture book entitled "The History of Fire Engines" and now I don't know how *I* get any work done, either!

    (Oh, and as a side note, the guy who kills the printer in Office Space is a friend of mine from high school!)

  2. My "office" is my home and thus, like yours, my office is filled with tiny things and large that make me smile, that bring me memories of good things.
    Thank you for sharing. I wish all your patients could see these lovelies...I think they would trust you even more, be even more apt to open up to you. I was looking at these things, wishing I could ever find a doctor whose life was this full, this interesting, this joyful.

  3. Love the memorabilia....
    I thought I was the only one in America who actually watched and laughed throughout the movie "Office Space". It's a nerdy classic ;-)

  4. Fun, fun, fun! I like the Proverb you have up; it's a good one!

  5. Hi Dr. Manning...This is sort of random, but I wanted to tell you:

    You have reassured me that a woman can be a physician and a mother and a strong, beautiful person. I'm in my senior year of college and I have a dream of going to medical school-- but I've been discouraged by so many people who say medicine is a dying profession, and there is no point, especially for a woman to "waste" her childbearing years in it. I am so joyful to find your testament that it doesn't have to be like this...that maybe be being a doctor is what you make of it. Thank you.

  6. Doc,

    Did anyone ever call you a mensch? Trust me, you're a mensch. Your husband too.

    Spectacular blog.

    a new fan.

  7. Ooooohhh! A Yiddish-word compliment! (After googling it) I totally added this to my very tiny arsenal of Yiddish! Thanks, New Fan! :)

  8. I found your blog about a week ago and have spent tons of time reading older entries. Obviously, I LOVE it. As a physician who trained at Grady, it's kinda cool hearing Grady stories that don't give me PTSD! lol

    You have a great writing voice and all your entries are a joy to read. How blessed are your patients and trainees! Keep up the good work.

    P.S. anyway your colleague who works at the Ponce clinic has an identical twin that bats for my team? lol A sista-girl can ask, right? Seriously, I wanted to comment on the post where you were asking him how he got to be so comfortable with himself but I think the comment section is locked for that entry. Wanted to tell him that his patients are blessed to have someone of his caliber be an advocate for them.

    Sorry for being so wordy! :)

  9. Awww! Thanks so much!!!!

    As for The Ponce Clinic Grady Doctor? Yeah, sista-girl, he is just as wonderful as he seems, but alas, no twin and no interest in your team. This is why I get to tell him every day how ridiculously attractive he is without breaking any laws. I think. Anyways. . . he'd be quite amused to hear that request! :) I will tell him what you said about his patients because seriously? He (Dr. David M.) is one of the very best physicians and people I know. And yes, he is so cool with himself that he gives us all permission to do the same. I heart him dearly and totally admire him. (See how effusive I get over my friends? LOL!) Thanks for feeling that one--and for digging in the archives!:)

    P.S. Once a Grady doctor always a Grady doctor--so from one to another, here's a fist bump just for you! :)

  10. Love this post! Had a great day with the Cocopugs. I continue to bow down to you and all parents who get to deal with all that energy 24/7! But I love them. They had a blast with the rest of the kids.

    Your Friend Hoarding Sister.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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