Scrooge lives. In the best of all possible seasons, some people still manage to behave in the meanest of all possible ways.

Surely not in our town, you say. Well, read on. A few phone calls yielded the following examples of grumpiness, meanness and general "bah humbug" attitudes.-Detective Steve Larsen, Orem Police Department, said he was investigating "five or six" cases of vandalism of outdoor Christmas lights. "It happens every year," he said, explaining that "kids" unscrew the bulbs from the light strings and smash them on the street later.

"They steal the green ones. One kid said it shows you are `in the mood', like green M&Ms," he said. Larsen wasn't sure exactly how green bulbs convey that message (do you give them to a friend or what?) but it's still a mean thing to do.

-A Salt Lake police report said that on Dec. 17 at a church Christmas party, two boys dragged a newcomer to the church into the men's room, pushed his head into the toilet, and flushed it. The 10-year-old victim "fought to stop the action and became injured in the process." Police categorized the incident as "simple assault." Most people would call it simply awful.

-In an overheard conversation, one man told a friend he was taking "the kids on our annual Christmas trip to visit Santa's grave." The unidentified sentimentalist said Santa is buried in the city cemetery, right next to the Easter Bunny.

-When Utah Highway Patrol officer Kirk Middaugh wrote a speeding ticket to a man in Utah County, "Santa Claus" wrote a letter to the trooper's lieutenant, complaining about Middaugh's lack of sympathy for Santa's "mortal helpers." How could Santa possibly fulfill his obligations, the letter rhapsodized, without the assistance of his admittedly speedy but essential mortal beings?

"Please inform officer (Middaugh) to expect a lump of coal for Christmas this year," ended the letter.

Lt. Jim Utley wrote back, asking about the double standard for mortal helpers. Why should girls and boys knock themselves out being good if Santa's helpers can be rotten and still get amnesty from traffic tickets, he wondered. Utley closed his letter with a request for a "heavy-duty snow blower."

-A man who identified himself only as "John" called an elderly Salt Lake woman "six or seven times recently" trying to con her out of money for abused children, according to a police report. "John" tried to convince the woman he represented a legitimate organization called "C.A.P."

The convincing part came when he told her to write "For Deposit Only" on the check and leave it between the screen and front door. Instead, she called police.