The Funny Farm

The Funny Farm: Marsala Chicken Got Mocked By A Karen

Mitch Li, an emergency physician in North Carolina, runs his own clinic and advocacy group to take the medical profession back from corporate interests. 

Far from being a stodgy doctor he appears to be a millennial with a sense of humour. If you check out his Thrive Direct Care site you’ll see what I mean. His Meet The Team section opens with the standard photos and bios of himself and his care coordinator, but what follows is the interesting part. His Advisory Board consists of his partner Ashley’s dog, his cat and one of their chickens.

Apparently, a potential patient took offense with their tongue in cheek attempt at levity and made their feelings known. What follows is the complaint and Mitch and the board’s response.

Meet Our Team, Board Of Directors

TUCKER BALENO, Chief Security Officer, Senior Vice-President of … Squirrel!

Tucker pulls double duty as the President of North Carolina Integrative Wellness. Most days, he isn’t quite sure what his duties are but plays the indispensable role of keeping up morale, retrieving frisbees, requesting belly rubs, and excitedly greeting staff. Occasionally he needs to be referred to Human Resources for greeting staff a little too excitedly. He’s a good boy working on this and an action plan has been implemented. Although no controlled substances or cash is kept on-site at the clinic, Tucker is a loyal guard dog when needed.

BATGIRL, Secretary of Naps

Batgirl lends her astute resting abilities and skills to remind the staff at Thrive Direct Care to get plenty of sun and sleep. Sun is important for vitamin D, but as a black-haired cat, she reminds fair skinned humans that they are at greater risk of melanoma. She also reminds dark-skinned humans that skin cancer can go undetected due to under-training of medical professionals. She recommends that everyone apply sunscreen regularly, perform skin self-checks, and is a big proponent of sleep hygiene with at least 22 hours of sleep per day. Batgirl can be seen wearing her integrated white bowtie or a full tie on festive or formal occasions.

MARSALA, Unpaid Intern

It is unclear if Marsala is able to work legally under North Carolina state labor laws. At this time, they are an unpaid intern with an interest in nutrition as a foundational part of health and wellness. Marsala hopes to grow up to be a hen and provide staff with free-range eggs rich in vitamins and minerals. They are very passionate about the demonization of eggs and restoring their place as part of a well-balanced low-carbohydrate-high-fat diet. Marsala is passionate about eating local, getting back to basics as a way to promote wellness, and overthrowing the global food-industrial-complex by any means necessary.


After receiving criticism by a community member about the board structure of Thrive Direct Care, we held an emergency session.

A quorum was initially present, but Tucker, a 10 year old Collie, and his new intern, Rooster an 11-month-old hound-bulldog, left midway through the meeting because *squirrel*.

Most vocal was Marsala, the young chicken-intern, now a full-grown hen, who the critic called a ‘skinny turkey’ and serves as a board member while hard at work laying eggs for the upcoming ‘Meet the Doctor’ event at the Broad River Community Center on December 1st.

Marsala the Hen: “This is simply – ba-gawk – UnEGGceptable! Skinny TURKEY? Did he call me a SKINNY TURKEY?! Well at least he didn’t call me fat!” followed by a prolific “bawk buk buk buk buk buk ba-GAWK”, emphasis on the ba-GAWK.

Before departing suddenly, and unexpectedly, after sensing a squirrel might be nearby, Tucker, the wise elder Chief of Security and Chair of the board offered this advice, “Marsala, why let this guy live rent-free in your hea-? Tucker then followed his young-gun, Rooster, a promising but undisciplined security guard on a squirrel or mole hunt.

Batgirl, an 11-year old cat adopted from the Asheville humane society as a kitten and a rather body positive board member, initially took offense at Marsala’s comment. She tried to console the young hen, ending up hissing at her. She motioned to adjourn the meeting, then promptly fell asleep.

Marsala begrudgingly seconded the motion and acknowledged that she needed to start laying some serious eggs ahead of the community gathering where Dr. Mitch Li will be cooking breakfast, meeting folks, introducing the new, non-corporate medical practice, and answering questions about how to navigate our complex healthcare system.

Thanks to Mitch Li and Ashley Baleno for their story and photos, used with permission.

3 comments on “The Funny Farm: Marsala Chicken Got Mocked By A Karen

  1. Pamela Andrade

    Love this! Hilarious response!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sydney Acres

    Your response is a wonderful example to all professionals. Too many people (MDs, DVMs, lawyers, contractors, business owners and professionals of all types) feel the need to accommodate every patient/client/customer who requests our services. Decades of “conventional wisdom/urban legend” tell us that the customer is always right, and that is how you grow your business. But that way of doing business causes massive stress to the professionals that have to deal with the public, oftentimes leading to family strife, addictions, poor quality of life, and even suicide. We need to be willing to accept that we can’t please everyone, and therefore we shouldn’t try. This should be the norm. Not everyone in the public is a good fit for every business provider, AND THAT’S OK. Telling people to go elsewhere when they are clearly not compatible with your business should be the norm.

    Liked by 2 people

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