"Stephen! Your class starts in five minutes. Are you still playing Warcraft?"
"Yep," is his roommate's response. "Don't worry, it's just biology class."
"So? Remember what I told you? Just because you are a biological being doesn't make you an expert in biology. You still have to go to class."
"Oh, that's right. I forgot to tell you, Jon. I refuse to go to biology class anymore. I quit."
Jon swivels his chair around to face Stephen across the room. Whatever's going on here, chances are he's about to have to stage an intervention to prevent it. "Oh?"
Stephen barely looks up from his computer screen. "Yeah. I just can't stand the course material anymore, Jon. I had a big blow-up after the last class, but you were at soccer practice so you missed it. I can redo it for you, though, if you want. Just give me a moment to rebuild my inner rage."
I'm going to regret this, Jon thinks. "Maybe just give me a calm summary."
Stephen finally tears himself away from his game and turns to face his roommate. "I finally realized the reason why that class bugs me so much: Scientists are evil. The whole class is just an hour filled with anti-American propaganda!"
"How do you figure that, Stephen?" Jon mentally braces himself; whatever's about to come out of Stephen Colbert's mouth is likely going to be both utterly wrong and stunningly difficult to argue against.
"Because none the names of the things we're supposed to study are even in English! At first I was just confused about why the whole course seemed to be in a different language, but Jon, I've figured it out - the whole subject of biology is really just a cover for the scientists to plant foreign words in our brains! Then, like little seeds, those foreign words will germinate and grow until they have overgrown our whole brains and choked off all our indigenous English words!"
Suddenly he breaks off, his face going three shades paler. His voice drops to a haunted whisper. "Oh God. I've absorbed the word 'germinate.' And I know what it means. Now that that word is in my brain, it's in there for good, and it'll just keep spreading like brain kudzu, until I stop sounding like an American altogether!"
It takes Jon a moment to decide which fallacy to tackle first here. Considering Stephen looks about ready to twist his own head off and chuck it out the window to save America, Jon decides to focus on calming him down and worry about actually getting him to class later.
"Stephen, first of all, 'germinate' is an English word."
Stephen scoffs mournfully. "Don't try to make me feel better, Jon. I already know I'm a goner."
"I'm serious, Stephen. I can show it to you in an English dictionary."
"No!" Stephen lunges at him. "Don't do that! If you learn what it means it'll invade and take over your brain too!"
Jon grasps his roommate forcefully by the shoulders. "Look at me, Stephen. I already know what 'germinate' means. I passed biology two years ago, and I'm still fine. See? You wouldn't call me anti-American, would you?" At Stephen's skeptical expression, he adds, "A dirty liberal, yes, but still American, right? I mean, have I ever spoken anything but English to you?"
Stephen stares hard into Jon's eyes, hope and fear mingling in his own. "I guess not," he admits finally.
"See? You're gonna be fine. You'll just learn a few big words in biology class and be able to use them to show people how smart you are."
Stephen eyes him suspiciously. "But not all the words in the biology textbook I burned were in English."
"You burned your...? Never mind. Yes, you're right, but Stephen - the reason a lot of biology terms aren't in English is because the scientists who came up with them weren't American."
"Of course they were, Jon! Everybody who discovers anything is American! That's what makes us the greatest country on earth!"
Jon sighs. This one will take a bit of a more creative approach. "Stephen, think of... think of Middle-earth."
"...Okay. So what's the mightiest country in Middle-earth?"
"That's a difficult question, Jon. Assuming we're talking good guys only here, in terms of sheer strength it's probably Gondor, but it's been so paralyzed by years of incompetent rule culminating with Denethor that it can't even hold Osgiliath against Sauron's forces anymore, and with the Rohirrim similarly stunted by King Théoden's bewitchment by Saruman, the most powerful nation might actually be Lothlórien, but only because it's protected by Galadriel's Ring of Power."
Jon actually feels a little bit light-headed from the staggering contrast between Stephen's nuanced analysis of Middle-earth power relations and his understanding of American politics.
Without so much as pausing for a breath, Stephen continues, "Now if we're talking the end of the Third Age and into the Fourth Age, on the other hand, the answer is Gondor, no question."
"...Right. So it's not a precise example. But look, there are all these mighty, glorious nations, and yet it takes every single one of them banding together to defeat Sauron. Every nation contributes to the Fellowship, and ultimately it's Frodo from the little unimportant Shire who manages to save the entire world. So you see, America can't just do it alone. Sometimes we benefit from the help of even the little, unimportant countries."
Jon decides to let this one go. "...Yes. Like Canada."
Stephen studies him for a long moment, then says reluctantly, "I suppose you're right."
Jon smiles, relieved. "Good. So don't quit your class, Stephen. Look, if you hurry you can probably still make it before the teacher even notices you were absent."
Stephen shrugs. "Too late. I can't go back to that class now."
"Why? Did you officially drop it?"
Jon narrows his eyes. "How exactly did you drop the class, Stephen?"
Stephen rolls his eyes. "The normal way, Jon! I yelled, 'I'm dropping this class!' at the professor and stormed out."
Jon can't help the slight fond smile the creeps across his face. "Stephen, the university doesn't count that as an official withdrawal."
Stephen is, predictably, shocked. "Really? You mean the professor has to just let me back into the class even after I called him a dirty communist spy and threatened to turn him in to Homeland Security?"
"Well... when you put it like that, probably not. Come on," Jon gestures toward his computer, "I'll show you how to go on the internet and officially withdraw from the course. Then next semester we'll sign you up to take biology with a different professor. Preferably one who's brand-new to this school."
Stephen places his hand trustingly in Jon's, as if he needs Jon to lead him the three steps to his computer. "And you'll help me then, too. Right, Jon?"
Jon squeezes Stephen's hand and smiles. "Always."