Sophy is a good friend from Chicago — a talented young consultant with a promising career.

We were catching up the other day, and she asked me what symptoms, if any, I was experiencing. I told her that, so far, I am asymptomatic. I have no pain, no discomfort and no symptoms.

But, when I last met with the oncologist, I asked him to let me know what symptoms I could possibly see if and when I become symptomatic. I won’t bore you with the gruesome details, but there is one symptom that I can share with you. He mentioned that pancreatic cancer patients are more prone to burping than other cancer patients.

So, when Sophy and I were catching up, I mentioned to her that occasionally I burp, but the doctor said that it was not a problem.

Did I mention that Sophy is of Korean descent? When I told her about the burping, she mentioned the following:

“It is my understanding that in the Korean culture, the eldest male is allowed to burp and belch throughout the meal,” she said. “When I wrinkled my nose at my stepfather for doing this several years ago, I was informed that this is allowable for the patriarch to do this, and that it’s a compliment to the cook, and a sign of the meal being delicious.”

Sophy’s culture lesson for me was very welcome. If the old expression of “one man’s poop is another man’s breakfast,” then one person’s rude behavior (the burping) is another culture’s sign of respect and appreciation of a good meal.

So, whose  culture celebrates loud farting because there I would be a native son?

Thank you, Sophy.