What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name
would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd . . .
Sure, Julie, you go ahead and think that. And while you're at it, try to convince yourself that knives are only for eating, and maybe for slicing cucumbers. (Trust me, you'll be a lot happier for it.) Slight problem with the logic there: you're comparing flora to fauna*** (and totally forgetting about poor Merryweather!), and it just doesn't work. Because a rose doesn't care if it's called rose or begonia or purple stinkweed of death. It just doesn't know any better. Having no ears it is indifferent.
But those fauna things. They know. As proof I offer the pets my family has hosted.
Once upon a time, there was a lovely family which felt the need of a canine companion. And so they went to the shelter, and picked out a very dog-ish specimen and called it Sidney, after a certain long-past amour. And it was good. The dog responded well to its name--intelligently enough for something that derives such great entertainment from licking food off the floor. (HA! You thought I was going somewhere else with that sentence, didn't ya?!) But in time, the dog waxed old and passed, and the home was empty of animal companionship again.
And then the father--the dominant male figure in animal terms--had the bright idea of bringing a kitten into the home. A cute, cuddly kitten, who would play with the young offspring in joyous games involving yarn and brightly-colored balls. And he and the son--the one who was speaking and walking, because the others were not so capable--went to choose the kitten, and the son chose a tiny, coal-black cat-kin.
And here's where the story goes awry: the mother, having entirely too much education, and too little brain, named the kitten Nero, "because," as she hopefully explained, "it's the Italian word for black, and it's just a description, and not a character judgement."
Poor, silly mommy.
Because the cat, having ears and a fiendish sense of the appropriate, lived up to its moniker--but not just the part about its coloration. The other part, the one associated with a really rotten dude of ancient vintage. The kitten developed a fondness for lurking in corners, lying in wait for his next victim, upon whom he would pounce with opened claws, and then slide bloodily down back or legs. And he took unholy delight in sleeping on the mother's head, and on finding inventive and unusual places to deposit his bodily wastes. He was a creature from the fourth circle of Hell.
But the family was not done yet. Bereft of their canine companion, and needing an update on their BBD alarm system, they adopted another dog.
Still, having learned their lesson of naming animals after despots, they chose to name the pooch after another Roman emperor--just not a bad one. This time, they honored a loopy one:Tiberius. The one who made his horse a senator. That one. (Still from the first century A.D., though. They are stunningly and stupidly consistent in their mistakes!)
And the dog knew it, and responded accordingly. (Go ahead and think of all the loopy things a hound can do. Then imagine them from a large, affection-gluttonous hound, and you know what I deal with every day.)
The moral of the story--because every good story needs a moral--is be careful what you name your pets. They have ears, and they know how to use them.