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What is in a name?

July 30, 2012

I could call the juvenile by his given name until I was blue in the face; he would not pay any attention. He responded to sounds so I knew he could hear. I read somewhere that squirrels learned and responded to their names. One afternoon, I said: “Maybe you don’t like your name.” I picked up a dictionary and added: “Let’s choose a new name for you.”

I sat on the carpet and the juvenile jumped on the desk by the computer. I asked: “Shall I start by “A” (no reaction) or “Z (zee)?” The juvenile sat on his hind legs. One of the hands remained on the desk. He rolled the other one towards his chest and lifted his head, tail and ears while looking at me. I said: “I guess that is a Z.” I started saying a few options out loud; I paused after each one waiting for hints.

At a certain point, the juvenile walked on the computer’s keyboard. The software came on the screen and there were a few letters – I don’t really recall their order other than that the first one was “Z.” Then, there were p, g, h and b. Looking at those letters, I tried to form words but they were unpronounceable. Yet, I kept getting reactions with the sound of “zee.”

Suddenly, I said: “It would have been so much easier if you had added a vowel here. I would call you… I said a few names and then said “Zebe.” The juvenile stood up; lift his ears and looked at me. I asked: “Are you telling me your name is Zebe?” He moved, looked at me with a very happy expression, as if to confirm my question. From that moment on, Zebe always answered when he heard his name; he loved it. I wondered how often squirrels got to tell people their names.


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  1. What if every four years, like the Olympics, you got to choose a new name, and the replaced title would just be pushed back into a middle space. That way, you could tell a persons age when reading about them.

    • Anansi:

      I would not know the answer to your question. Would that be important to know people’s ages? Thank you for stopping by and leaving a puzzling question.

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