77. FishOh, for the life of a fish, Barry thought, looking at the aquarium. Not a fish in the ocean, where everything was designed to eat everything else. No, just a fish in a tank, in a doctor’s office, thanks.

Barry didn’t really know fish, didn’t know what the fat yellow-and-black spotted one he was looking at was called. It seemed content. There’s happiness in ignorance, he knew. He himself had been happy not being aware of his liver — since it had always worked, it had always been invisible. That was until his doctor saw “shadow on the x-ray.”

More x-rays and CT scans followed in this frightening new hobby — “just so we know what we’re looking at,” the doctor said — and Barry found himself in the waiting room on a Tuesday afternoon, preparing for a medical judgement.

The fish was oblivious to all of this, of course.

He wondered what it was like for the fish. What was its view of the strange faces it saw every day through the glass? Did it even notice? Was it afraid these strange creatures would eat it? If so, it was playing it cool. Swim like no one’s watching.

He was tempted to tap the tank, but decided not to. Why alarm the fish? Why make it think something was out to get it?

Barry felt a tap on his shoulder. “Mr. Jacobs?” the nurse said. “The doctor’s ready for you.”

He envied that fish so much it hurt.