Back in the early 1980’s I received a beautiful lapel button in the mail. The envelop was from the National Academy of Science. It looked like the Diet pin in the middle of this image. The outer ring was silk.
I was honored. The envelope had no letter or information.
Since it was clearly addressed to me, I assumed it was an appropriate honor. At that time I had been giving thought to my role in the world. I knew that I would never be appreciated because the realm I worked in had no metrics (like the number of citations in published journals) and most of my impacts would not occur until decades or centuries after my death.
At the time I knew I had founded the first multi-bank credit card, been president of Point Foundation, written articles on many novel subjects including random legislature and done a dozen other consequential things. But even then I was hardly started on the important contributions I've made since.
I accepted the anonymous honor and have wondered to this day what that was all about.