25 years of American Chemical Society goodnessAs I arrived home from work last Friday, awaiting me was a small package from the ACS Membership Affairs Committee. What could it be, I wondered. I excitedly opened the box. Inside was an even smaller box, and a letter addressed to me. The letter began:
“It is my great privilege to congratulate you on your 25th anniversary as a member of the American Chemical Society.”They remembered! Well, I am embarrassed. I didn't get them anything....except 25 years of dues. Another excerpt:
“In the past several years, we have significantly enhanced your member benefits to offer a wide range of programs designed to enrich your personal and professional life. … For a full picture of all that ACS offers, please visit our interactive website www.acs.org/memberhandbook.”In the spirit of full disclosure—and partial irony—I must admit I haven’t browsed through the full breadth of available ACS online content. The online version of the Member Handbook is nicely done and easy to navigate, facilitating access to important areas such as ACS Career Programs. Further on, the letter read:
“As a special token of our gratitude, and in celebration of your 25 years of membership in the Society, please accept this engraved pen. May it serve as a reminder of your contributions and achievements with ACS!”I opened the small box. It was a pen. A shiny, sturdy, blue pen. A pen that cries, Behold, all ye mighty, I am a pen to be reckoned with. Yes, that sort of pen. And as promised, it is indeed engraved—twice. The engravings state, “AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY” and “25 YEARS OF SERVICE.” Bonus—the pen works! Time to dial down the snarkiness. (Snark is my baseline setting.) It is a nice pen. I will use it. It’s not a 25th anniversary coffee mug depicting the entry for manganese from the periodic table, but, hey, I like it. My recent criticisms aside, I’m proud to have been a member of this organization for the last 25 years, and look forward to continuing into the future. The letter concluded:
“Because of your long-term participation in the ACS, we've become a richer, more influential organization, providing the highest levels of excellence in our programs and services. Again, congratulations on reaching this membership milestone!”My contributions and achievements. Flattering, but to be honest, I haven’t done much beyond doing science as honestly as I know how. Regarding the ACS, I don't feel I've really contributed—I've consumed. I do vote regularly in ACS elections, broadly, locally and within the divisions of which I am a member. Beyond that, the most I've given back has been through some of what I've written here at JAEP. Can a pen cause shame?