Sugar-Free Vegan Diesel

University of the Bleeding Obvious:

I'm speaking today to Mr Gilbert Pront, whose company, Prontechia International, has announced that as of next month it will begin selling sugar-free vegan diesel in all of its service stations.

Gilbert Pront:

That's right, yes.

UBO:

A curious idea, Mr Pront. Perhaps you can tell us more?

Pront:

What do you mean 'curious'? I don't see what is so curious. How is it curious?

UBO:

Well, I mean it's unusual.

Pront:

You didn't say 'unusual', you said 'curious'. So if you mean 'unusual' why not just say 'unusual', instead of titting about saying things you don't mean?

UBO:

Well, I'm sorry for any confusion.

Pront:

It's fuel. How can fuel be curious? Does it go rifling through people's stuff? Is it constantly looking things up on Wikipedia? What is it so curious about?

UBO:

I chose the wrong word. Perhaps we can move on.

Pront:

I think we should move on, yes. If you're going to start using words like 'curious' with wild abandon when you actually mean 'unusual', then we're not going to get anywhere. I think the idea that you actually meant to convey was that you were curious about our unusual product.

UBO:

Yes, yes, that's exactly what I meant.

Pront:

Good, well that's what you should have said then. Although it isn't.

UBO:

It... what?

Pront:

It isn't unusual - our product. Come on, keep up.

UBO:

Okay, whatever, so it's not unusual then.

Pront:

Blimey, you back down easily, don't you?

Sugar Free Vegan Diesel

UBO:

Look, do you think we could leave any judgement as to how unusual it is until later?

Pront:

I think that would be best.

UBO:

Thank you. You describe the product as sugar-free.

Pront:

Yes.

UBO:

Why is that?

Pront:

Because there's no sugar in it.

UBO:

And do people normally put sugar in diesel?

Pront:

We don't.

UBO:

What about other companies?

Pront:

You'll have to ask them. I can't really speak for anyone else.

UBO:

What I'm getting at is that it's not usual to put sugar in diesel, is it?

Pront:

I thought we weren't going to talk about what is usual or unusual.

UBO:

Yes, sorry. But what I'm trying to find out is why would anybody put sugar in diesel.

Pront:

I've no idea.

UBO:

Surely it would cause damage to the engine?

Pront:

I should think it would. Sugar in the diesel - could cause all sorts of mischief, I imagine. Don't do it, is my advice.

UBO:

So why put sugar in?

Pront:

We don't put sugar in. I thought I'd made that clear. I don't understand why you seem to be having so much trouble grasping this fact.

UBO:

But why do you need to say that it's sugar-free?

Pront:

Argh! Because there's no sugar in it. Look, what do you want us to say? Do you want us to say that we do put sugar in then take it out again?

UBO:

Do you?

Sugar Free Vegan Diesel

Pront:

What, put sugar in the diesel then take it all out again? No of course not, what would be the point of that? Listen, I don't see why you're having such a problem with this. We say that it's sugar-free and it is. That's all there is to it.

UBO:

But you might just as well say that there's no butter in it either.

Pront:

There isn't.

UBO:

I know.

Pront:

Then why would you suggest that there is? I hope you're not going around telling everybody that we put butter in our diesel.

UBO:

No, I don't - but you don't tell people that there isn't, do you? You don't make a point of calling it sugar-free vegan diesel with no added butter, do you?

Pront:

No, of course not.

UBO:

And why not?

Pront:

Because we wouldn't be able to fit it on the side of the pump.

UBO:

All right, forget the butter.

Pront:

What butter? There is no butter. I thought I'd been quite clear about that.

UBO:

I know, I know.

Pront:

Why would you want to butter in it, you maniac? What kind of freak puts butter into diesel? It's an insane suggestion.

UBO:

I never suggested it.

Pront:

Yes you did. You told us to put butter in our diesel. Well we're not going to - there never has been butter in our diesel and there never will be. And while we're on the subject, just to clear up any misunderstandings before they start, our diesel doesn't contain any porridge, or iron filings, or chicken entrails.

UBO:

Now you're just being silly.

Pront:

Silly? I'm being silly, am I mate? All because I'm saying that our diesel doesn't have any porridge in it? You started it, pal. You're the one that said that not having sugar in our diesel was unusual.

UBO:

I never said any such thing!

Pront:

Oh yes you did. Perhaps, before you start getting any funny ideas, I also need to tell you that it doesn't contain pork scratchings, or custard, or frogspawn either. Or do we think that maybe that's not necessary?

UBO:

Exactly! That's my point exactly! It's not necessary, is it? So why should it be necessary to tell people that there's no sugar in it.

Pront:

Because there's no bloody sugar in it! I don't know how many times I need to keep saying this. What will it take to get you to understand?

UBO:

Look... This isn't getting us anywhere.

Pront:

Well that's not my bloody fault mate.

UBO:

No, no... Right... OK, let's move on... This fuel - this diesel - it's vegan, is it?

Pront:

That's what it says.

UBO:

OK, so, on what grounds can you legitimately describe it as 'vegan'?

Pront:

What grounds?

Sugar Free Vegan Diesel

UBO:

Yes. Do I need to explain what is meant by 'grounds'?

Pront:

No, I know what 'grounds' means. There's no need to get shirty with me, I'm not a bloody idiot.

UBO:

On what basis, with what justification, what is your rationale -

Pront:

Yes, all right, I get it.

UBO:

Well go on then.

Pront:

Go on then, what?

UBO:

What are your grounds for saying your diesel is vegan?

Pront:

Simple. It's got no meat in it.

UBO:

And that makes it vegan, does it?

Pront:

Of course it does. Unless you want to tell me that in order for it to be vegan, we have to fill it with pork chops. I wouldn't put it past you.

UBO:

Veganism is about more than not eating animals. It's about avoiding animal products altogether: eggs, milk, butter -

Pront:

There you go with the butter again.

UBO:

It's a philosophy that seeks to keep all animals from harm...

Pront:

No pigs were hurt in the production of our diesel.

UBO:

...and eschews their exploitation in any form.

Pront:

Yes - tick! Or are you going to accuse us of having cows working in our refinery or chickens answering the phones? Maybe you think that our HR department is staffed exclusively by sheep?

UBO:

Is it?

Sugar Free Vegan Diesel

Pront:

Don't be ridiculous. All right then, yes. In fact, most of our staff are farm animals, but we pay them well over minimum wage. Does that still count as exploitation? Some of them even have a car allowance.

UBO:

I don't think you're taking this seriously.

Pront:

I'm not taking this seriously? You're the one that says we've got cows working in our refinery.

UBO:

Give me strength! No, I'm not.

Pront:

Well all right, it was me, but you clearly implied some sort of bovine workforce.

UBO:

If you like - I'm not sure I care anymore. The point I'm trying to get to is that diesel is a fossil fuel formed from organic material, some of which was originally animal.

Pront:

Ah yes, but they're not animals any more, are they?

UBO:

But they were.

Pront:

But now it's just oil. No one campaigns for the rights of oil, do they? There isn't a Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Oil.

UBO:

By the same token, a sausage is no longer a pig but you'd be hard-pressed to convince anyone that you were a vegan if you were tucking into a hotdog.

Pront:

All right... I concede that you may have a point there.

UBO:

Ah.

Pront:

Admittedly, it's tenuous but I think we at least need to run it past our lawyers before we proceed. Perhaps, as a compromise and for the avoidance of any doubt, we should fill our fuel with mince and change the name to Carnivorous Diesel?

UBO:

It would make as much sense as anything else you've told me today.

Pront:

Good! Well, at last we've found something we can agree on. We're keeping the 'sugar-free' bit though. I'm not budging on that.

 

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