I made a conscious decision to start using Perl when I started working on my M.S. thesis in natural language processing. All I knew at the time was that "Perl is good for processing text" and "Everyone in college said it was really cool". Somehow I had never taken the time to look into Perl, but I wanted to force myself to overcome my natural laziness. So I sat down, bought the Llama and Camel Books, and after a long period of frustration trying to figure out when to use @ and when to use $, I attained enlightenment. I've been hooked ever since.