How many countries are there?

Clover asked me, “how many flags in the world are there?”

To which I answered, “oh, anyone can just make a flag, I don’t know.”

What followed was a funny conversation where C explained how e didn’t mean like drawing a flag, but like countries, and then I countered that countries with flags began because someone just drew a flag, and perhaps we wanted to find out how many countries there were…

And now here I am. What is a country? How does one join that club? Does it involve competitive flag design? When you are done being a country do you give your flag back? So many questions.