What to do. You can be common, like my brother and I were when he was eight and I was all of six. Surely over the best wishes of my mom, he had found and decided to keep a mutt (Mom declared the dog “of mixed parentage”) and named him “Rover.” I was thrilled.

In our own times, you have to be far more original, and if possible, unique. The idea, I’m guessing, is to elicit a “Huh?” from your friends. To which you offer an explanation of your choice that begins something like, “We’ll, what we were thinking was…” Nor is the approach limited to dogs, let alone cats (my favorite for that species is an especially nasty male by the name of “Steve.”). Celebrities now have a fondness for naming their kids after months, meaningful events, places, and even political preferences. It makes for semi-interesting news items, but you have to wonder at the kid’s consternation, come the fourth grade, at dealing with a handle like “Hollywood Sign.” Do his friends call him “Sign” for short?

The pet, of course, could care less. He’s more interested in the food bowl and always can be relied upon to respond to “Here, boy.” “Atta boy” gets the pet’s equivalent of a grin.

To specifics, Kris’ daughter and son-in-law are now the proud parents of a pair of palm-size pugs in their gleaming black livery. Cute, as you would no doubt figure, to the tenth power, and here they are….

Basic household manners are assumed, along with equivalent appetites, but names have been a major issue.

What would you suggest? they asked us.

Before we could reply, they announced that the miniature hounds would henceforth be called “Zuul” and “Gozer.” Ah, I concluded, they’re naming them after some obscure Greek gods. Nope. Z&G are honoring characters from “Ghostbusters.” Oh. Well, what the hell: my brother named his dog after a character in “Pirates of the Caribbean” and not after me, as I had earlier assumed.

Our opinion was that both names were a little obscure. Why not something a little more conventional and maybe clever and memorable. I offered “Amos” and “Andy.”

Who were they?

Uh, well, there were these two guys on the radio…

Never heard of them.

Right. Well, they did this show…


Moving right along…

Then, too, I could just hear them calling “Amos” and “Andy” into the night and being rebuked by the neighbors as racists.

My next offering was “Bevis” and “Butthead.” They sorta liked that, in quieter tones.

I decided that those names, too, had some negative aspects. Suppose we were baby-sitting the pups (post potty training) and I yelled “Butthead!” out the front door and our neighbor next door says, “Whatta want?” Bad choice there as well.

Zuul and Gozer, not surprisingly, could hardly care less, so long as dinner is always on time.