Pease, Lord, don't let me use the word intense.

Not that it doesn't apply;
Where is our usual manager of mirth? What revels are in hand? Is there no play To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?-A Midsummer Night's Dream
it's just that it's so . . . obvious, and, besides, it's the sort of word that you expect to hear in, say, a Keanu Reeves comedy, as the slackjawed protagonist watches a Chevy Malibu full of pomeranians skid down a ravine. And don't let me go anywhere near the word feisty, either. Feisty has a very restricted range, the way zesty may only be used with the phrase "Italian dressing." Feisty does not belong in a magazine profile, certainly not this one.

I have reason to choose my words prudently in describing Joan Holden '60. I've seen what this woman can do when incensed. I've watched her transform powerful CEOs into sputtering simpletons, looked on as captains of industry were reduced to entrepreneurial glossolalia. I've witnessed powerful, beef-eating politicos turned to simpering, pigeon-toed stumblebums. The President of the United States made to look so spineless he wouldn't show up in a bowl of Cream of Wheat. If business leaders, lobbyists, mushy-headed do-gooders, and five-star generals alike can be skewered by her rapier wit, then I had better be on my best behavior.

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